Hungarian Opinion: Karácsony Launches His Movement & Under Fire in Pro-Gov't Daily

  • 20 May 2021 6:42 AM
Hungarian Opinion: Karácsony Launches His Movement & Under Fire in Pro-Gov't Daily
A left-wing columnist welcomes 99, the new movement launched by the Mayor of Budapest, who officially announced his candidacy for the post of Prime Minister next year. A right-wing news site, on the other hand, dismisses it as a sham.

Népszava’s Róbert Friss finds the idea of 99 extremely promising. The mere alliance of the disparate parties of the opposition, he explains, cannot guarantee the end of Fidesz rule in next year’s election. 

A positive image of the future is also necessary and that is precisely what Karácsony’s movement offers, by announcing its intention to serve the 99 per cent majority against a tiny ruling minority. 

Secondly, artists and politicians alike can be found among its founders. Apart from veteran liberals, there are also three former conservative government officials – proof, Friss believes, that Karácsony wants to transcend ideological fault lines.

By way of contrast, Pesti Srácok suggests that the movement is ’99 per cent Gyurcsány and only 1 per cent Karácsony’. The highly opinionated pro-government outlet argues that the City Hall, under Mayor Karácsony, is in reality dominated by Mr Gyurcsány’s people.

The author who signs his or her articles with the penname Magyar Ugar, also recalls that in 2006, ‘in the worst period of Gyurcsány’s rule’, Karácsony became an adviser to the government.

He also remarks that the idea of the 99 per cent majority versus the 1 percent allegedly ruling the country against them, was raised two weeks before by Klára Dobrev, Gyurcsány’s wife, when she announced her candidacy to become the opposition candidate for Prime Minister.

Karácsony under fire in pro-government daily

In just three days, since he officially announced his nomination to become the opposition candidate for Prime Minister, the leading pro-government print daily has devoted four separate columns to castigate the Budapest Mayor, Gergely Karácsony.

In Magyar Nemzet, Zoltán Felföldi wrote on Monday that Karácsony is simply unfit for the job. He dismissed Karácsony’s claim that he represents 99 per cent against the ruling 1 per cent and reminds the Mayor that Fidesz is supported by millions of people who feel their interests are indeed represented by the government.

On the same day, actor Zsolt Bognár wrote that Karácsony’s team is  ‘apparently led by long-failed liberals’. Without mentioning philosopher János Kis and writer Miklós Haraszti by name, he claims that Karácsony is out to resuscitate the long-defunct liberal SZDSZ party from the grave.

On Tuesday, Attila Ádám warned that if the Left wins the election next year, it will launch an all-out attack on the rule of law. He quotes former constitutional judge Imre Vörös, who famously argued that the pivotal laws pushed through by Fidesz can be rolled back even without the required qualified (two-thirds) majority in parliament, on the basis that they are unconstitutional since they are intended to establish the rule of one single person. Ádám believes such legislation would be arbitrary, and would destroy the rule of law.

On Wednesday, Kristóf Trombitás calls the alliance behind Karácsony a ’second Democratic Charta’, a liberal-socialist movement in the early 1990s against the first democratically elected government which was accused of far right tendencies by its opponents.

That alliance won the elections in 1994, he recalls. By allying themselves with the post-communist Socialist party, he continues, the liberals ultimately brought down their own party. This time, they won’t even score a temporary victory, he predicts, as ’we will also be there’.

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