Botka-Gyurcsány split hinders chances of left-wing parties in 2018 general election

September 15, 2017

The Botka-Gyurcsány opposition might hinder election chances of left-wing parties
Photo:án Huszti

Disagreement between Socialist (MSZP) prime minister candidate László Botka (pictured) and Democratic Coalition (DK) chairman Ferenc Gyurcsány might hinder cooperation of any kind between left-wing parties in next year’s general election, reports

Eight months before the election, the so-called democratic opposition has yet to present plans for cooperation in the election. One thing seemingly certain is that Politics Can Be Different (LMP) and Momentum Movement (MoMo) will go alone, having rejected any kind of cooperation with other parties. This means that Együtt (Together) president Péter Juhász’s dream of a “New Pole” incorporating those micro-parties that have emerged since 2010 is unlikely to materialize. According to the news site, the main question is whether the leaders of the two biggest left-wing parties, Botka and Gyurcsány, can find a way to cooperate. This, however, is unlikely as Botka has categorically rejected former prime minister Gyurcsány’s involvement in Hungarian politics on numerous occasions.

Botka, the mayor of Szeged city, seeks to achieve some kind of cooperation by inviting politicians from the left-wing micro-parties to contribute to his program. He will introduce his program and allies on Saturday, and says the following politicians have promised to participate in the event:

  • Gergely Karácsony, co-chair and prime minister candidate of the green-liberal Dialogue for Hungary (PM)
  • Zoltán Komáromi, healthcare policy expert and president of the national council of Együtt
  • István Szent-Iványi, foreign policy expert of the Liberals and former Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ) MP
  • Ferenc Büttl, economist and PM politician
  • Mrs. Sándor Ács, founder of the Kishantos Center for Rural Development and board member of Live Chain for Hungary
  • László Andor, economist and former European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion

Although most of the above-mentioned persons have already pledged alliance to Botka at his summer intelligentsia gathering, his Saturday event will force smaller parties to decide whether to openly support him.

According to’s sources, the micro-parties have different strategies. Együtt would be willing to cooperate with Botka but only in individual constituencies. Dialogue for Hungary, on the other hand, does not reject a full-scale election alliance with a joint party list and individual candidates.

The lack of DK politicians on Botka’s list of allies is conspicuous. Although Botka would welcome DK politicians in his team as well, he firmly rejects Gyurcsány whom he calls a “burden for the left-wing”. However, given the unanimous and unquestionable support of Gyurcsány in DK, a cooperation between the two parties without him is not an option.

Gyurcsány’s suggestion of separate party lists and coordinated individual candidates is unacceptable to Botka, who maintains that coordinated individual candidates would send the message to voters that left-wing parties have already accepted defeat in the election and are merely divvying up constituencies among one another.

Botka earlier hinted that he would have no objection to Gyurcsány running as an individual candidate in a constituency. Gyurcsány, however, publicly rejected this idea, arguing that as a party leader he would like to represent all his voters, not just a constituency.  

It is generally understood that if all opposition parties run their own slate of candidates, then ruling party Fidesz will certainly emerge not only victorious but with a regained two-thirds parliamentary majority.