Election ’14: Left in flash mob; Jobbik seeks debate; two-tailed dog wants in
With just over one month to go before Hungarians head to the polls to vote in national and European Union parliamentary elections, candidates are on the campaign trail in full force. Unity coalition PM candidate Attila Mesterházy started his Friday stumping in Zalaegerszeg and promised a “fair, modern, new European republic” should the left-wing recapture control of Parliament.
In addressing the topic of former PM/current Unity candidate Ferenc Gyurcsány’s infamous “lies speech” of 2006 (see video embed below) that sunk the Hungarian left’s reputation to a degree from which it has yet to recover, Mesterházy defiantly stated that attacking the old news “will only make Unity stronger.”
Finally, Mesterházy identified unemployment as the country’s most critical issue, promising to “significantly increase” new jobs and to “build a knowledge-based economy, rather than making Hungary an assembly plant.”
On the same day in Nagykanizsa, Mesterhazy held a brief press conference at which he promised his Unity coalition had a comprehensive healthcare program focusing on “children’s health, cancer treatment, heart and cardiovascular diseases and prevention. Further, “unbearably long waiting lists [of up to 14 months] must be reduced.”
E14-PM in flash mob at Russian embassy
A day after opposition group Dialogue for Hungary (PM) celebrated its first anniversary, PM partnered with former prime minister/Together 2014 (E14) party president Gordon Bajnai to organize a “flash mob” event at the Russian embassy in Budapest on Sunday.
In a speech there, Bajnai called for the Russian government to withdraw troops from Ukraine without delay and to go through international channels to settle conflict. Bajnai also stated that the current Hungarian government should consult opposition party and civil organization leaders for input on Ukrainian matters and that the “support for Ukraine’s independence, territorial integrity and the Hungarian ethnic minorities living there” should be “clearly expressed.”
Further, Bajnai contended that “news have been spreading for weeks and months about the gas reserves being used up in order to maintain the lies on public utility fees…”
Jobbik to remain independent, wants PM debate
Speaking on the weekend at a rally in Nagykanizsa, Jobbik president Gábor Vona talked tough on his party’s chances in the April 6 national election. Vona emphatically stated his radical far-right party would not enter into a coalition with any other and that the goal for Jobbik is no less than an outright upset victory.
Vona went on to call for a televised debate with current Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Unity PM candidate Attila Mesterházy, an event which “A sweeping majority of Hungarians would want … to take place.”
Two-Tailed Dog wants in on elections
A political group which straddles the line between party and parody is, as the Wall Street Journal’s excellent Budapest correspondent Margit Fehér cheekily wrote, “trying doggedly to enter the country’s upcoming parliamentary elections.” A sort of spiritual brother of the UK’s Official Monster Raving Loony Party, the Hungarian Two-Tailed Dog Party (MKKP) is running on a platform which includes eternal life and free beer for all citizens, adoption of the Russian ruble as national currency, a raise to household utility prices and exiting the European Union followed by an offer for the EU to join Hungary.
Wacky absurdity aside, MKKP is currently involved in a legal battle to become recognized as an official recognized political party. Last week, MKKP representatives appealed to the Hungarian constitutional court that the party’s satire makes a serious point: “…traditional political parties are not treating voters like adults. They are also making impossible promises without making it clear to the voters that their promises are unrealistic.” MKKP argues that “establishing a party, even an impudent one, is a basic right under the constitution.”
As of this writing, MKKP has amassed some 94,948 “likes” on Facebook, a popularity metric that would make an election close indeed: Fidesz has 130,365 “likes,” while former PM/current Unity candidate Gordon Bajnai has 118,927 and opposition party MSzP 97,273. Jobbik’s Facebook page is an “invite only” closed group.
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