New Year, new politics in Hungary?

I very much doubt it. By year’s end Ferenc Gyurcsány’s position had become stronger within his own party and perhaps even in the country as a whole. Viktor Orbán, who after the 2006 elections looked finished, rose out of the ashes. He is very good at reinventing himself. After a setback he is deeply depressed for a year or so but then recovers and with new energy attacks his opponents whom he actually considers his and the country’s enemies. Right now according to all polls the Fidesz is doing very well while the popularity of the two government parties is very low. But there is nothing new in that. In the spring of 1995 the MSZP’s popularity was just as low as it is now. And the Fidesz, after the 2002 elections, was 20% behind the MSZP in popularity. In the last days of the Medgyessy government the MSZP’s popularity was extremely low and the Fidesz’s lead was again about 20% over the socialists. Yet within a few months after Gyurcsány’s taking office as prime minister, the Fidesz lost 19% of its earlier gains. In one month (between August and September 2004) Gyurcsány’s personal popularity grew by 17%!

With such extreme fluctuations in polling results no responsible commentator can predict what will happen in the future. I certainly will not attempt it. A lot depends on the intricate interaction between the two major parties and, of course, the international economic situation. What I wish for everybody’s sake is that 2008 will be brighter economically and politically than 2007 was.