In an interview given to HírTV on December 19th, Movement for a Modern Hungary presidium member Erzsébet Pusztai offered a number of personal reasons for her resignation, telling hostess Olga Kálman she didn’t feel she had anything to contribute to the party’s executive body which she said was “preoccupied with negotiating with other parties.”
“The situation in Hungary is very disturbing, as is what is happening right now. I totally agree that there is no other way. The question today is not whether a program is leftwing or rightwing. . . . Nearly every party has a program (including MOMA) but that is not the question at hand. This is not a normal election in which the various parties present their platforms and then the people decide. The situation is completely different. The issue is whether we succeed in forming a broad cooperation that sends a message to the country that ‘yes, it is possible to defeat Fidesz.’
The former politician said the situation now was far worse than in 2014.
“Over the past four years very serious change have taken place. The question is whether (Hungary is to remain a) democracy or whether the system with dictatorial tendencies and, in some places actually dictatorial, that Orbán and company is building is to remain and be expanded.”
She cited the letter sent by various local governments calling for an obstruction to the local operation of NGOs. “This already belongs to the category of the worst kind of dictatorship.” She said the crucial thing that needed to take place was for the democratic opposition to get behind a concrete program, “regardless of whether it is leftwing or rightwing.”
She believes that were the opposition to unite in a manner that holds old the prospect of defeating Fidesz in the next election, it would influence the masses. “The end result would not be the sum of what the various pollsters currently measure, but a much greater proportion.” Pusztai points out that at present there are over million Hungarian voters who are certain to vote but currently support no party. “They don’t know where to go,” says the former undersecretary.
She also points out that the existence of many opposition parties dilutes the opposition vote, adding that “the reason they created this electoral system was because Fidesz thought that it would keep it in power.”
The public health expert says opposition political parties need to put their selfish interests aside and work together for the sake of “restoring constitutional order and control” over a government that is no longer accountable to anyone.
“I’m not merely talking about (running) a joint list (candidates), but a broader cooperation, although I think the national lists should also be combined,” says Pusztai. She warns that parties obsessed with clearing the 5 percent threshold necessary to seat a parliamentary delegation are neglecting the fact that “if the same government remains then it will continue to build this system.”
“Today there is hardly any media outlets willing to cover the opposition parties. Moreover, many of them cannot be read or listened to nationally. All the newspapers in the countryside are controlled by Fidesz. Municipal mayors send letters and organize in a manner that influences the operation of local communities. So those who think ‘we’ll get into parliament and strengthen over the next four years” as nurturing illusions. It is only good for those content to serve as the loyal opposition'” says the opposition politician.
It was not clear from her answers whether she considered her own party to be part of the problem or the solution. But in politics, as elsewhere, actions speak louder than words.