Hungary’s divided opposition hopes to grab power in 2014 from Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party, which now has commanding majority in parliament. It’s considering several options, including umbrella coalitions, reaching out to protest voters of 2010, and to those on the fence between the moderate and radical sides of the right-wing landscape.
“In 2014, the people will oust this government, I have no doubts about that,” chairman of the socialist MSZP party, Attila Mesterhazy, said in a WSJ Emerging Europe interview, one of three with Hungary’s ranking opposition politicians.
The grave economic conditions in Hungary as well as political scandals in the governing socialist MSZP party caused a major reshuffle in the country’s political landscape in 2010. Despite suffering a crushing defeat, the Socialists remained the second-most popular party with 15.25% of the vote that year. The election also brought newcomers into parliament, the radical Jobbik 12.18% and the green LMP 4.15%.The ruling Fidesz party continues to lead opinion polls, even if approval ratings eroded somewhat from 68.14% in 2010. No opposition force has come in shooting distance of Fidesz.
“The most important question is who will be able to address the biggest group of voters, who are undecided,” said Benedek Javor, head of LMP’s parliament group. “Whoever is capable of mobilizing this millions-strong voter base will win the next elections,” he added.
The Socialists have tentatively reached out to the LMP, the green party, to explore some form of political alliance, seeing the best strategy to take on Fidesz as building an encompassing political association. As Mr. Mesterhazy explained, the Socialist party is open to cooperating with all organizations it deems democratic and are fit to achieve not just displacing Mr. Orban, but also creating a sustainable economic system.
The green LMP party on the other hand is more interested in directly addressing its target of undecided voters and is aiming to strengthen its political image, currently with a bid for a referendum against government measures. They are also not too eager to team up with the Socialists because many in their target voted for Fidesz in 2010, not out of party dedication, but in protest against the Socialist rule.
“These people will not support a political alliance featuring the party they voted against in 2010. People’s political memories are short, but not that short,” Mr. Javor said.
In the meantime, the radical Jobbik party is also interested in building its own image. The party is trying to exert pressure on the government for a constitutional amendment that allows a referendum that would entail Hungary exiting the European Union. Jobbik has been criticized for its policies that some called fascist, nationalist and racist.“At the moment I’m very critical of any political alliances with Hungarian forces,” said Jobbik’s deputy chief of its parliament group, Marton Gyongyosi.