“Do you think it’s worth enduring mass character assassination for four years and making personal sacrifices each and every day only so your family can repay HUF 30 million (USD 120,000) worth of public campaign funds?”
– Péter Juhász, Együtt politician
An exhausted Péter Juhász told HïrTV Monday morning that his party, Együtt (Together), is in serious financial trouble, having failed to receive at least one percent of the vote in Sunday’s general election.
The small liberal party received HUF 150 million (USD 600,000) in public campaign funds on the condition it gain at least one percent of votes cast for national party lists. Despite earlier polls predicting that it would receive between 2 and 3 percent, in the end it received 0.64 percent of votes cast for national party lists.
“Voters did not value the accomplishments and persistence of individual Együtt politicians over the past four years,” said the anti-corruption crusader. “We need to think this through and figure out what mistakes we made.” He said the party’s five-member executive board had resigned in acknowledgment of the party’s poor performance in Sunday’s general election.
“If coordination of candidates would had come together, then the result would have been somewhat different. While it would not have changed the overall result, it would have affected what politicians from which parties sit in the new parliament,” said Juhász.
“Fidesz didn’t win the election. The opposition lost it.”
The former party chairman agreed with LMP former co-chair Ákos Hadjházy that Fidesz didn’t win the election so much as the political opposition lost it.
“Had the opposition agreed to run a united list in October of last year and campaigned for it and focused its limited resources on getting those candidates elected, they could have mobilized five or six times more money and resources per candidate,” said Juhász, observing that “in Hungary today, parties don’t battle other parties over whether there needs to be a change of government, rather they battle against the state.”
“Fidesz has captured the state and enjoys an enormous advantage over the opposition, in many ways that are invisible,” he said, accusing the governing political alliance of mobilizing voters in ways that are illegal using illegally obtained data of Fidesz sympathizers known as the “Kubatov list.”
He said that thanks to the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) supporting the government’s proposal to increase the threshold for retaining public campaign funds from 0.5% to 1%, Együtt’s former five-member executive were personally liable for repaying HUF 150 million (USD 600,000) worth of campaign funds.
“This is very difficult and very unfair considering how much work we put into the campaign,” said Juhász. “Do you think it’s worth enduring mass character assassination for four years and making personal sacrifices each and every day only so your family can repay HUF 30 million (USD 120,000) worth of public campaign funds?
“We’re talking about people made of flesh and blood who came from a civil background and who started politicizing for the sake of the electorate,” he said. Judging from his party’s poor performance, Juhász acknowledged that “there is no receptivity to our politics.”
When asked whether he agreed with Dialogue for Hungary co-chair Gergely Karacsony’s comment that leftwing politics need to be put on a completely new foundation, Juhasz responded: “We stand on a solid foundation which we call loyalty to our principles. We adhere to our values. This means that we devote all of our strength to politicizing for the electorate. I think that is the foundation a lot of opposition parties lack when they politicize solely with regard to their party’s interests.”