Municipal Elections in Hungary

Significant political changes in Hungary: In the larger cities, the fragmented opposition parties and civil organizations were able to increase their support due to the collaboration of different opposition factions. As a result of the disproportionate electoral system, in some places opposition was able to obtain a significant majority.

As a result of the Congressional decision by the European Left, local organizations were free to decide on local collaboration, with the proviso that candidates of neither the Fidesz nor the far-right nor the neo-fascist Jobbik could be supported. This was an important decision because the bourgeois parties compromised with Jobbik’s leaders, who unrepentantly preach racist and classist anti-poor views. This has led to the fact that a large majority of local organizations of the European Left supported the non-right-wing candidates from outside, but did not become part of the officially formed local coalitions because the neo-fascists turned up in greater numbers in these groupings.

In a town inhabited by more than ten thousand people, in Bátonyterenye, the local organization of the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) refused to follow the instruction of their national presidency to cooperate with Jobbik and agreed with the local organization of the European Left to join the election. The national leadership of the Socialists, in violation of their internal regulations, suspended the operation of the basic organization, banned the use of Socialist Party symbols for the left-wing cooperation, but allowed it for the "democratic" collaboration under Jobbik’s leadership.

Under these circumstances the members of the Socialist Party in this city started to be involved in the election with the support of the European Left, calling for a left-wing alliance. This joint list secured a list seat in the city council with a 14 percent, which is double of the vote for the MSZP’s official county list in that city.

This successful cooperation showed that a significant number of MSZP’s members oppose collaboration with the extreme right and are ready for a left-wing alliance. At the national level, this political success can be shown as a powerful example.

As a result of the election in Budapest, the collaborating bourgeois parties have also gained the mayoral seat and the control of two-thirds of the districts. By doing so, they will have a majority in the Budapest General Assembly, which, in theory, will allow to implement a substantial part of the election promises. Unfortunately, most of the social promises are unlikely to be met, as Budapest has no reserves but has HUF 170 billion – more than 500 million EUR – in debt. In this situation, the capital cannot expect too much help from PM Viktor Orbán’s government.

The European Left could not collaborate with the bourgeois opposition in Budapest because it could only enter the pre-election process for the lord mayor’s candidate if they signed a “statement of value” stating:

“… it still requires active work, attention, remembrance, and attitude formation, that in the 20th century, we should fight against the extremist ideas, all forms of nazism, fascism and communism that made havoc in Budapest."

With this “statement of value” virtually all members of the radical left who criticized the system were excluded from the collaboration.

Naturally, the left has the opportunity to address the increasingly difficult social groups and demand that their living conditions (pensions, health care, housing) must be improved. On one hand, partial cooperation of the extreme right with bourgeois parties is a blameworthy phenomenon and, on the other hand, weakens the effects of social demagogy, opening up more opportunities for the radical left.

Of course, the basis for using every opportunity is to build up our own media, which is based on social networking and social participation.

According to the latest information former MP and now the head of the Democratic Coalition party (DK), Ferenc Gyurcsány has strengthened. He declared: „only those parties can join the joint coalition for the 2022 parliamentary elections that accept even far-right Jobbik”. Practically this would exclude European Left from the collaboration.

Translated from Hungarian into English by Matyas Benyik, English proof read by Red Jade;