The atmosphere at my local, in Budapest's XIIIth District, was rather subdued last night. I should explain that, aside from two or three people whose continued presence there borders on the inexplicable - virtually all of the regulars at my favourite bar support one of Hungary's left of centre parties. At the moment, there are at least three such parties to chose from: MSZP (the Socialist Party), which emerged from the old Communist Party; DK (Democratic Coalition), which is headed by a fomrer Socialist Prime Minister, Ference Gyurcsány, and Együtt-PM, which was founded by another former Socialist Prime Minister, Gordon Bajnai. All three parties had decided to support Lajos Bokros, a self-avowed "right winger" and head of a fourth political party, "Moma" or "Modern Hungary" in yesterday's elections for Mayor of Budapest. It was hoped that Bokros, a former Finance Minister and a combative champion of liberal democracy, had a real chance to unseat the lacklustre current mayor, István Tarlos, who belongs to the country's governing Fidesz party.
By mid-evening, it was clear that Tarlos would be re-elected with a large majority. According to the final count, Tarlos received 49.1% of the votes cast, as compared with Bokros' 36%. The only consolation is that the candidate of the extreme rightwing JOBBIK party did comparative ly badly, with 7.1% of the vote.
One of the regulars at my bar, a seasoned politial campaigner and a former Budapest city councillor, talked about emigrating. Another, one of Hungary's talented crop of young writers, lambasted the left of centre parties for their vanity and for failing to co-operate more fully in their efforts to counter Fidesz. Only the middle-aged Irish couple who were visiting Budapest for a few days and who had somehow stumbled across my local looked reasonably happy. But then they were blissfully unaware of the depressing realities of Hungarian politics.
Sunday 22 January 2017
From: Social Europe https://www.socialeurope.eu/2017/01/fourth-estate-twilight-liberal-democracy-part-one/ The Fourth Estate and The Twilight of Liberal Democracy, Part One by Stephen Pogány on 18 January 2017 78 Shares Share Tweet Share ...