Politics Can Be Different (LMP) and new center-right party Új Kezdet (New Beginning) released a very short joint statement Thursday announcing they are discussing a potential collaboration in the spring 2018 national election.
“LMP and Új Kezdet are entering into talks regarding the possibility of cooperating in the 2018 elections. Neither party will release statements regarding the substance of these meetings or their anticipated results until the talks have ended,” the statement reads.
Why this is interesting
For years, LMP has maintained it has no intention of joining other opposition parties on a common platform for national elections. In 2012, LMP rejected an offer by former prime minister Gordon Bajnai to join the then-newly-formed Együtt (Together) party. This decision caused turmoil within LMP and resulted in its splintering. One faction went on to create Dialogue for Hungary (Párbeszéd Magyarországért, PM), which then formed the Együtt-PM coalition.
After the disastrous failure of any unified opposition platform in the national elections of 2014, PM broke off from Együtt. Since then the micro-party has struggled to reach 1 percent nationally. LMP, however, managed to pull in 5 percent of the national vote in 2014. But since then, LMP has struggled to stay afloat.
Various polls show LMP currently hovering below 5 percent.
LMP co-founder András Schiffer, an ardent opponent of any electoral cooperation with other opposition parties, resigned as party co-chair in May 2016 and was replaced by Szekszárd native and former Fidesz councilman Ákos Hadházy.
Rumors have circulated for the better part of the past 18 months that moderate forces within LMP were actively trying to warm the party to the idea of cooperating with other parties in the 2018 election.
It appears this has worked. The short statement released by the two parties Thursday signals a slight but significant shift in LMP’s internal politics.
In March 2017, György Gémesi, the longtime mayor of Gödöllő, held a press conference in Budapest to announce that he and several other mayors from around Hungary would be launching Új Kezdet, a center-right party to represent Hungary’s “silent majority”.
But Új Kezdet has had a tough time adjusting to the national political scene, and little is known about the party’s membership and reach. This, coupled with sparse media coverage, has made it a relatively obscure party in Hungarian politics.