Unity is strength. At least that is what the Hungarian opposition parties hope, which have decided to form a united front in order to oust Viktor Orbán from power.
Posted on Sep 26, 2021 at 6:00 am
Jean-Christophe Laurence The press
Orbán ruled the country with his powerful Fidesz party for more than 10 years. In 2018 he was re-elected for the third time in a row with two-thirds of the seats in parliament, taking advantage of the feuds and divisions of his opponents.
The latter are running out of options and now want to form a joint bloc by organizing an “opposition primary” that has to nominate the candidate who will run against Orbán in the spring of 2022 elections.
This strategy was adopted for local governments last year. With a little bit of luck. The anti-Fidesz alliance had won the Budapest City Hall and a dozen other major Hungarian cities in particular.
Encouraged by this success, she is now trying to repeat the exercise nationally, a great first in the form of a Last Hope.
“Neither of these parties has a sufficient pool of votes to attempt to fight Fidesz. It is absolutely impossible. Hence the idea of the association ”, summarizes Catherine Horel, researcher at the National Center for Scientific Research and specialist for Central Europe.
In the first round, which ends on Tuesday, six formations will start: socialists, environmentalists, liberals and even nationalists with neo-Nazi roots, the Jobbik party, which says it has “refocused” but is following its reputation as before is sulphurous.
The point will be to appoint not only Orbán’s rivals or rivals for prime ministerial office, but also the only candidates who will run against Fidesz at the top of the joint electoral lists in the country’s 106 constituencies.
Collaborative work possible?
Catherine Horel sees this strategic regrouping project as a form of political “maturity” that could well bear fruit.
But she wonders how long this unity will withstand the eclecticism of distribution and the historical contradictions between these parties. Beyond the ultimate goal (getting Orbán out) and a joint program that emphasizes corruption and the restoration of the rule of law, a world divides some of these political families.
“There will inevitably be Jobbik candidates,” explains the historian. The question we can ask ourselves is: are there people who want to vote for Jobbik even if there is an anti-Orbán platform? In my opinion there will be sport! “
According to Daniel Mikecz from the Hungarian think tank Republikon, the question does not arise. The expert is convinced that the desire to expel Orbán goes beyond political convictions.
The issues are not so much individual programs as the regime itself. For opposition voters, it is almost a referendum against Orbán. The important thing is to unite behind the candidate who can beat the Orbán regime, no matter who it is.
Daniel Mikecz, from the Hungarian think tank Republikon
According to him, the outcome of the primary between MEP Klára Dobrev (Democratic Coalition) and the environmentalist mayor of Budapest, Gergely Karácsony, could be played. However, nothing precludes Jobbik boss Péter Jakab from accessing the second round, which is scheduled for October 4-6. In contrast to the more urban and left-wing parties, Jobbik has the advantage of being present in the country, where the majority of Viktor Orbán’s voters can be found.
With or without Péter Jakab, Daniel Mikecz is convinced that this will be the “toughest choice” for Orbán. The polls are currently head-to-head with the opposition and Fidesz in light of the spring poll.
Performance wear and tear
Prime Minister of Hungary from 1998 to 2002, then continuously since 2010, Viktor Orbán is recognized by “a loyal oligarchy” for his authoritarianism and his stranglehold on key positions in politics, media, science or culture.
Bête noire of the European Union, she is regularly challenged by Brussels for her positions against immigration, the LGBTQ + community and her practice of “illiberal democracy”. But his nationalist and populist discourse continues to win a large part of the Hungarian electorate.
However, Catherine Horel finds that there is wear and tear and her star is fading.
“There is a certain amount of tiredness to always see the same head in power. It can play. Last year he was shocked by the local elections. He responded epidermis, and it was frowned upon. At the same time we said to ourselves: “Ah! if he is unable to go beyond the hostile reaction, it is because he felt the wind of the ball … “”
Number of Hungarian opposition parties participating in a primary election to nominate the candidate for Viktor Orbán in the 2022 spring elections