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Karácsony unveils (still incomplete) shadow cabinet

MSZP-Dialogue prime ministerial candidate Gergely Karácsony (l2) introduces his shadow cabinet | Photo: Facebook/Gergely Karácsony

Gergely Karácsony, MSZP-PM candidate for prime minister, has announced the (partial) creation of a shadow cabinet. It’s not as leftist as one might think. Karácsony has even tapped independent candidate Tamás Mellár as his shadow finance minister.

  • Minister of Health Care – Zoltán Komáromi
  • Minister of Education – Gábor Daróczi
  • Minister of Finance – Tamás Mellár
  • Minister of Labor – László Andor
  • Minister of the Environment – Ada Ámon
  • Minister for Municipal Affairs – Tamás Wittinghof
  • Minister for Social Affairs – Mrs. Éva Orsós Hegyesi

Karácsony reportedly said he expects to reach some form of agreement with other opposition parties, which is why he hasn’t filled all the slots in his shadow cabinet.

Karácsony wants to create/restore several new ministries, including separate ministries for health care, education, labor, the environment, and municipal affairs. Presumably this is because health care and education are big issues in the election — ones that cross party lines. A ministry for the environment is a gesture towards Hungarian greens, which include Karácsony’s own party (Párbeszéd) and Politics Can Be Different (LMP).

A Ministry for Municipal Affairs may also be perceived as an olive branch to Hungarian mayors, many of whom are worried that the remains of municipal autonomy might finally fall should Fidesz sweep the general election again. Until now, only one party managed to wrangle together a number of mayors, Új Kezdet. Gödöllő mayor György Gémesi announced the creation of the party one year ago, but it struggled to gain a noticeable following. By the end of 2017, Gémesi worked out an agreement with LMP and joined the green party’s list. Renowned Budaörs mayor Tamás Wittinghof would have been a member of Új Kezdet, but rumors suggested he backed away from the party when Gémesi refused to collaborate with a broader spectrum of political parties. Incidentally, Wittinghof has now been tapped for this shadow cabinet position, and Karácsony is still trying to convince LMP to enter talks over the some form of electoral collaboration.

This is a shadow cabinet with strong left-wing ties — except for Tamás Mellár. Mellár served as the executive director of the Central Statistical Office during the first Orbán government (1998-2002). He is a respected conservative, and a renowned academic and economist. Currently, Mellár is running as an independent candidate in Baranya county’s 1st electoral district and has secured the backing of most opposition parties.

Benjamin Novak :