Among Hungary’s opposition parties the radical nationalist Jobbik and the green-liberal LMP have practically collapsed while the Socialist Party (MSZP) has become a colorless-odorless entity under the helm of party president Bertalan Tóth, political analyst Dániel Deák tells Magyar Hírlap.
Last week saw the resignation of LMP president Bernadett Szél, the party’s last public figure with any significant national pull. She was co-chairman of the party since 2013 and the party’s leading candidate at the 2018 elections. Deák said none of her peers (Erzsébet Schmuck or Márta Demeter) could effectively replace her.
These inner crises have also been reflected by the losses registered by these two parties in recent opinion polls. Deák also said that 21st century parties have only limited traction in Hungarian society, as they are not reflective of the electorate’s real-life dividing lines. The issues these parties represent are also secondary compared with the economic and immigration issues that most voters care about.
Deák said former Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány – who established the social-liberal Democratic Coalition with dissidents from the MSZP in 2011 – seems to be waiting on the sidelines and his current political activity is reduced to social media.
All of the above factors suggest that Hungarian opposition parties are approaching the next May EU elections with a serious handicap, where immigration will probably be a central issue, just as it was at recent national elections in Austria, Italy, the Czech Republic and Germany. In all these elections pro-immigration parties – who were incidentally also the most vocal critics of the Hungarian government’s immigration policies – have suffered setbacks.
Next in line may well be Sweden, with elections there to be held on September 9th. Barring a major change in voter preferences in the two remaining weeks, the ruling Social Democrats may be facing their worst election result in the past 100 years. If current opinion polls are right and the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats win the elections, it will mean the fall of one of the last pro-immigration bastions in Europe.