We’re not surprised to read the following headline in The Budapest Times, but it does makes the grim reality of Hungary’s political situation all the more real:
Fidesz’s dominant position is largely unchallenged,with the opposition failing to exploit the government’s weaknesses and claw back ground in the opinion polls. There are some shadows for Fidesz but at this point there are no strong indications that it might face strong competitors in the short run”
True, Viktor Orban is a populist leader. True, there is no viable opposition party in place to demand checks and balances. True, the right-wing now has control over the media. But is there any light at the end of the tunnel?
Um…not now, according to The Budapest Times.
Perhaps the most disturbing part of their very sobering analysis is this:
“Furthermore, its [Fidesz’s] lead among those who would definitely vote if elections were held today remains stable, with 67 per cent claiming that they would vote for Fidesz and only 17 per cent of this group promising to support the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP). ..Most importantly, the persistence of this massive margin between Fidesz and the MSZP in spite of the dip in total support for Fidesz stems from the lacking enthusiasm of Socialist voters, only half of whom would actually turn out, while three-quarters of Fidesz supporters would vote.”
Has no one learned the lesson of what happens when a perfect storm of apathy, discontent, and inertia keeps the masses home on their couches instead of at the voting booths? Apparently not. Even in the face of Fidesz crack-downs, only half of Hungarian liberal voters would actually go out and do their civic duty if today were voting day. Incredible.
Who will step up? What charismatic leader? What political party? From where will the opposition come? And will it come before it’s too late? Or will it come at all? We suppose that all remains to be determined.
Budapest Times, thank you for your thoughtful reporting.