Bernadett Szél calls Gyurcsány’s presence in politics a “very serious problem”

October 17, 2016


Politics Can Be Different (LMP) co-chair Bernadett Szél told ATV’s Start program that former Socialist prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsány is a serious problem in Hungarian politics who bears responsibility for Viktor Orbán and his party’s two-thirds majority in parliament.

Szél said Gyurcsány, who left the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) in October 2011 to establish the Democratic Coalition (DK) party, taking a number of MSZP politicians with him, had caused such damage to the country during his term as prime minister (2004-2009) that Orbán and Fidesz were able to take advantage of people’s dissatisfaction with the socialist government and cement their power with a supermajority in parliament.

“Ferenc Gyurcsány’s presence in Hungarian politics is a very serious problem,” Szél said. “My old theory is that Ferenc Gyurcsány and Viktor Orbán are going to leave Hungarian politics at the same time. I think as long as Gyurcsány is in politics, Orbán has it easy. They will always be able to plaster this country with billboards saying ‘They [the left] ruined Hungary together’,” she said.

When asked whether Sunday’s protest for media freedom and against corruption, which was sponsored jointly by her LMP party, Együtt (Together) party and Dialogue for Hungary (PM), signaled the birth of a new political organization, Szél said it is important for opposition political forces capable of mobilizing people for a system change to work together to do so, and for those who cannot to wisely remain in the background, referring to MSZP and DK.

Szél said it is time politicians take stock of themselves and develop a strategy for working together to change the government, but that it is important for her party to distance itself from those parties she considers responsible for the Orbán government’s tight hold on Hungarian politics.

“The Gyurcsány government caused such harm in Hungary that it is the reason we got Viktor Orbán and his two-thirds majority,” Szél said. “It’s completely fine if we work together on issues. But the reason LMP’s politics is so rigid concerning party alliances is because we would really like to separate ourselves from those parties who are responsible for encumbering us with Viktor Orbán in 2010.”

Given that Együtt is still a part of the so-called Összefogás (Unity) opposition bloc, comprised of MSZP, Hungarian Liberal Party (MLP), Dialogue for Hungary (PM), Együtt and Gyurcsány’s DK, her party “cannot undertake any kind of political organization” with them or any other party that cooperates with Gyurcsány.

When asked why her party was willing to participate in Sunday’s demonstration along with members of PM and Együtt, she said it was about a particular issue, the issue of press freedom, and that “from our perspective there can only be cooperation if it’s about an issue.” Szél also said she believes Együtt is undergoing “some kind of about-face” in that they now seem unwilling to join any kind of party alliance of which Gyurcsány is a member.

Szél said she was glad to see so many people come out onto the streets for Sunday’s protest, but she had expected more.

“My feeling is always that there could be a few more people, but sooner or later that’s going to happen. This country is not a big protesting country. We see in South America that people are constantly going out in the streets, but the temperament is a little different in Hungary.”

Other joint protests are planned for Sunday, October 23, the 60th anniversary of the start of the 1956 Hungarian revolution, Szél said.