Editorial: Left-wing resuscitation?
Looking at the lineup of speakers at the political opposition’s October 23 commemorative event, an observer could excused for feeling he or she had been hurled back in time by several years. It is more than three years since the last left wing government’s collapse in 2010, but despite that, and all that has transpired since, it seems only the same old faces – who have already been rejected by the voters, and in no uncertain terms – have any ambition of making a challenge.
After overcoming that disbelief, it doesn’t take long to grasp the idea that Gábor Kuncze, Gábor Fodor, Ferenc Gyurcsány, Lajos Bokros and Gordon Bajnai are, indeed, the faces of the disparate opposition to Viktor Orbán’s government, and they are the cream of the crop.
Not only do all the polls show that these people are lacking in any significant political appeal that might draw in a critical mass of voters, it also shows the political left’s utter inability to learn from its past mistakes, or for those who made those mistakes to reach the necessary conclusions and step aside.
As a consequence, and this is perhaps the saddest thing, both for the left and Hungarian politics in general, the opposition has completely failed to reinvent itself, to try and find new faces, new voices. It has now been almost four years since Hungarian voters gave a very clear message that they have had quite enough of the governance that led up to 2010 and showed these ladies and gentlemen of the left the door and yet, still, next to nothing changes on the left.
What we have instead is the sowing of further derision throughout, with various actors accusing each other of rejecting unity and an all-inclusive left-liberal charge to overcome Fidesz next year, without any seeming awareness that, if anything, the legacy of the past is the biggest hindrance.
Gyurcsány still doesn’t seem to be anywhere near coming to terms with the fact that his persona alone is toxic to any organization he is involved with because of how deeply and widely rejected he is throughout Hungarian society, a sentiment that doesn’t strictly adhere to party lines.
Lajos Bokros may have been ‘rehabilitated’ by time for the painful cuts made during his ministership in the 1990s, but thinking he could sway voters in any significant way is rather optimistic.
Kuncze and Fodor remain vulnerable targets for all the corruption affairs that sunk their now defunct liberal SzDSz party, and their credibility is thus equally in question.
Despite Attila Mesterházy’s drive to repopulate the elite of his MSzP party with new figures and oust the old guard through various means, a survey of the voices of those opposed to Fidesz’s policies reveals nothing but the relics of and old and failed age.
The only solace any opposition advocate may take from the polls is that the majority of those surveyed say that the country is heading in the wrong direction and that a change in government is called for. Still, when it comes to party preference, not only does the left not have enough votes, even if all the individual factions are added up, but all projections show Fidesz once more claiming a two-thirds parliamentary majority next spring.
Fidesz supporters and the media loyal to the government are only asking the others to hold off from their bickering for a few minutes until the popcorn is ready and they can sit down, relax and fully enjoy the show.
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