Opposition parties united in Hungary, but do they stand a chance against Orban?

In the central square of Veszprem, a medium-sized town near Hungarian Lake Balaton, enthusiastic volunteers in blue jackets push the flag into the hands of all passersby. There is a lot of campaigning going on here in the run-up to next Sunday’s parliamentary elections. Not by one party, but by six at the same time. “United opposition” was written on the flags. For the first time, all opposition parties in Hungary jointly formed a list of candidates.

From left to right, the ideals of opposition parties vary widely politically. But one thing unites them: hatred for Prime Minister Orban, who has been in power in Hungary since 2012. Corruption within the party is the biggest frustration: “Everything goes unpunished. Good people stay in the background and mean people are right,” cried Parliament candidate Palaz Cssonka. through the microphone.

born out of necessity

Opposition parties say they are pleased with this broad cooperation. However, the accidental alliance was mainly born out of necessity. In 2020, the Hungarian parliament, where Urban Fidesz has a majority, decided that the party must have a candidate in at least 50 constituencies in order to run in the parliamentary elections.

Clara Dobrev, MEP for the Democratic Coalition party, complains that “Fidesz has changed the election law in such a way that we form a coalition before we turn to government.” But she is now cautiously optimistic. “It took us a few years, but I think Fidesz really has reason to be afraid of us now.”

Hardly any media attention

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But however great the optimism may be, it has become difficult to counteract it in Hungary in Urban. Opposition parties, for example, complain that they receive little attention in the media, with Orbán and his allies controlling 85 percent of it. On the day when opposition leader Peter Markzee got just five minutes of broadcast on state television, Orbán’s speech was broadcast several times without criticism.

Thus, joint encounters in the squares are not only logical at the time of the campaign, but are also necessary for the opposition. Many Hungarians who only follow the state media hardly engage with their programme.

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