Parliament held its final session of the Spring term on Monday, and LMP (Politics Can Be Different) founding member and faction leader András Schiffer gave his final comments before the assembly, prompting a round of applause.
Schiffer announced at the end of May that he would be resigning his mandate and leaving politics entirely. His decision came as a surprise to many, because he is still mid-cycle in his party leadership role and such a midstream resignation is uncommon, according to Index.hu.
Already speculation has begun as to what Schiffer’s true intentions may be. Schiffer says he intends to go back to working as a lawyer and describes his departure as getting away from the “daily grind” and the “shit-sniffing” of parliament. However, many believe his decision was prompted by disagreements within LMP itself.
Speculation aside, it is clear that Schiffer has for some time been dissatisfied with the structure of his party, and in 2012 even temporarily resigned as head of the parliamentary delegation. According to Index.hu, Schiffer seems “unbelievably dissatisfied with his party’s support, spiritual bleakness, organizational culture and his own power limitations as a leader”.
His sudden departure has raised questions about the future of LMP, and of the opposition at large. A recent poll shows that, while support for the Fidesz-KDNP coalition slipped eight percentage points in May, opposition parties continue to show low polling numbers. The Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) and far-right Jobbik were nearly neck-and-neck in May, with parties such as LMP and the Democratic Coalition (DK) trailing far behind.
The loss of their most prominent member notwithstanding, LMP recently announced that they would remain independent going into the 2018 election. Party co-chair Bernadett Szél emphasized that the party philosophy would remain unchanged, and that independence of the party is not only the politics of the departing András Schiffer, but that of the majority of LMP members.