A disjointed Hungarian opposition, who appear to be more in competition with each other than collaborators, has enabled Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to successfully use “divide and conquer” tactics to take a lead in the polls ahead of April’s general election, writes William Nattrass for the British publication, The Spectator.
The race was neck-and-neck in October when the six opposition parties pulled together to take on the incumbent prime minister, however with little to unite them other than their anti-Orbán rhetoric, Nattrass explains how the prime minister has been able to “highlight the ideological divisions and personal grievances” of his fractured opponents, and now enjoys a four-point lead over the so-called United Opposition.
Nattrass claims the chosen leader of the opposition, “conservative small-town mayor, Péter Márki-Zay,” has shown his inexperience on the national stage and become a “punching bag” for the opposition’s deeper problems, whilst the governing Fidesz party and press sympathetic to the government have had free rein in discrediting Márki-Zay for previous unsavory remarks.
The opposition parties, so desperate in their desire to defeat Orbán, have endorsed a leader many of whom would have never dreamed of supporting.
Nattrass analyzes the “grating ideological dissonances” within the coalition — a case in point being rights for the LGBT community. Márki-Zay has been expected to advocate a tolerant position in respect to LGBT rights, yet he himself as a staunch Catholic who opposes gay marriage. The new opposition features ideologically disparate parties, with some promoting a far left agenda, while at the other end is Jobbik, a party which has been accused of anti-Semitism and racism in the past.
The disunity and incoherence from the opposition corner plays in stark contrast to that of Viktor Orbán himself, and this is one of his strengths. He knows what he stands for, and so do the Hungarian people.
And thus, with no real plan or sense of togetherness, Nattrass insists the United Opposition is doomed to fail, with another electoral victory for Viktor Orbán the likely outcome when Hungarians go to the polls on April 3.