Hungary: Bajnai squares off against Viktor Orbán

26 October 2012 – Presseurop Magyar Narancs, Népszabadság, HVG, Magyar Nemzet

Has conservative nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orbán finally found a worthy adversary? On the occasion of the 23 October opposition protest to mark the anniversary of the 1956 anti-Soviet uprising, Gordon Bajnai, a former caretaker prime minister in 2009 and 2010, announced the creation of an electoral alliance that will include “the hopeful partisans of the left, the disappointed right, the free thinkers who have been politically abandoned and the committed Greens”. The alliance is to be called Együtt 2014 (Together 2014) in reference to the general elections scheduled for that year, and it aims to put an end to “Orbán’s national revolution” — an objective shared by the opposition press, which remains divided on the manner in which it should be achieved.

The weekly Magyar Narancsannounces its enthusiastic approval of the initiative —

For the first time since 2010, the opposition has the right to be optimistic. In Bajnai, it has found an experienced leader and a good communicator, a pro-European who will be a real rival for Viktor Orbán. For the moment he has not said much, but at least he is honest and convincing.

For centre-left daily Népszabadság, the move is —

the beginning of something. […] We still have two years to succeed in the drive to get rid of Orbán. But now we have taken the first step.

Although it supports Bajnai, liberal weekly HVG remains sceptical

…for real regime change, we will need an economic and social programme in-line with European requirements, but the masses and the left-wing organisations that have lauded Bajnai do not want one. And we can logically expect that once they find out exactly what this partisan of the markets aims to do, they will not want him either.

It is an opinion that has much in common with the view expressed inÉlet És Irodalomby left-wing philosopher Gáspár Miklos Tamás, who points out —

There is no doubt that if the opposition takes power, it will have to continue with austerity policies.

The conservative press adopts a much simpler standpoint. Daily Magyar Nemzet describes Bajnai as “the man backed by the international financial network” and reminds its readers that “he has never been elected by the people”.

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