Election ’14: Fidesz lead increases, left-wing defiant

Elections

More good news arrived for the Fidesz-KDNP ruling coalition in the form of a pair of voter polls. Hungary-based pollsters Medián released results from its extensive survey of 1,200 likely voters taken between September 6 and 10 which show the coalition taking 239 seats in parliament in the 2014 national election, down from its current 264 but enough to hold the two-thirds constitutional majority the parties currently enjoy.

Medián added that, among those for a change in government, just 23% agree that the MSzP/Together 2014 (E14-PM) coalition agreement is the best solution; some 41% stated that they would have preferred a slate with a single prime minister candidate.

Meanwhile, polling company Tárki showed that among 1,000 decided voters, Fidesz holds a 50% majority for the first time since 2011.

The left wing shows no signs of giving up just yet, however. In a joint press conference yesterday, E14-PM and MSzP presidents Gordon Bajnai and Attila Mesterházy remained defiant, again touting by-election results as proof that Fidesz-KDNP can be defeated in 2014. This despite the fact that last weekend Fidesz’ Csaba Kovács bested Melinda Teket and the field to win a seat representing Baja in a district the right-wing hadn’t held since 2002.

With reference to the Baja by-election, Bajnai stated that “Fidesz has introduced the politics of crudeness and extremism to the level of public affairs.” In addition to alleging smear campaign tactics, some in the left-wing coalition had spoken of requesting an investigation into irregularities in the ballot count.

Fidesz isn’t resting on its laurels, however – perhaps with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán stern words about complacency of three weeks ago still firmly in mind – as party members this week helped build up their coalition’s platform by strengthening some populist-style campaign themes.

This week some intense debate went on within Fidesz about whether Parliament should add the recent and planned future reductions to household utility costs to the constitution, according to party spokesman Máté Kocsis. Kocsis stated that comments from left-wing leaders indicate that should an MSzP/E14-PM/Democratic Coalition (DK) group come to power, the price cuts would be abolished and household expenses would rise once more. In the meantime, the government claims to have collected 2.2 million signatures in support of its utility cost campaign from its supporters.

The governing Fidesz party is also planning to introduce a law that would guarantee Hungarians at least one withdrawal from their bank accounts free of charge every month, caucus leader Antal Rogán said. The issue was raised when essentially all the banks raised their handling fees in response to the government’s introduction of a tax on financial transactions.

Rogán said the planned bill will be submitted to parliament by the middle of October.

– Material from Gergő Rácz was used in this story

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