I'm relying here on a collection that appeared in Galamus yesterday. In the whole country MSZP has a fighting chance in only a handful of cities. One of these is Miskolc. Therefore it is not surprising that Viktor Orbán visited the city where he warned the inhabitants that not voting for Fidesz would be a big mistake because surely they don't want to create "an oppositional source of fire" against the government. In Kazincbarcika the message was similar: surely it is not in the interest of the inhabitants for the town to become "an oppositional general headquarters." In Dunaújváros (the old Sztálinváros) he urged citizens not to create "a Dunaújváros that is a counterbalance" to but rather "a place of cooperation" with the government. In Komló he again warned against electing MSZP candidates because they themselves are unable to solve the town's problems. In brief, Orbán openly admits and warns the citizens that if they don't vote as the "civic government in Budapest" wants, hard times will fall on their towns.
A sidenote here: It is clear that the entire system of local government needs reforming. First and foremost their numbers (over 3,000) must be reduced. It seems, however, that the Orbán government has another "solution" in mind. There is more and more talk about "nationalizing" the schools and hospitals which are currently in the hands of the local legislatures. According to analysts such a move would pretty well put an end to meaningful local self-government. In Budapest Orbán talked about his plans for the upkeep of schools and hospitals. Of course, he didn't mention anything about forcible nationalization; he only offered the help of the central government in case the local authorities find the upkeep of these institutions too much of a burden.
Another theme of the campaign is that if Fidesz candidates don't get enough votes (it's hard to tell what numbers Fidesz would find satisfactory) then the government must "slow down the work it began [but] it is dangerous to hold back a jumping horse."
László Kövér was also campaigning. He too made sure that the locals understand that voting for the opposition parties is a big mistake because if they vote for the government party "they will have a better chance of having a role in the 'regime of national cooperation.'"
The inimitable Lajos Kósa again said something interesting: "Local governments are not supposed to create balance vis-à-vis the state. Balance is nothing but chaos."
Zsolt Semjén created quite a stir with his campaign speech in Szigetvár. He touched on all the favorite themes of the far-right: "The former government stole more than all the Gypsies put together." He talked about "the foreign garbage" the multinational companies feed Hungarians. He tore into the smaller churches and claimed that the socialists and the liberals are responsible for the current state of affairs in which "the Catholic and Protestant bishops' legal standing is on par with the chief witch of the church of the witches." But fear not, the Orbán government will do what the former governments didn't: "It will restore the greatness of the historical churches." In plain language: it will restore their privileged position. Of course, he also had a few nice words to say about homosexuals. But the best he left to the end. According to him there was a secret socialist-liberal plan that envisaged the immigration of one million people from Asia in order to satisfy the needs of the multinational companies for a large labor force.
Béla Turi-Kovács, formerly a Smallholder, was also quite blunt about the relationship between the mayors of the towns and the central government. He talked about them as executors of orders coming from the center. As I read this Turi-Kovács report I thought of Russia where the president dismissed the mayor of Moscow recently. I am sure that appointing mayors Russian style would be an attractive idea to Viktor Orbán.
Krisztina Morvai (Jobbik) and Zsolt Semjén see eye to eye on many issues. Morvai in Szekszárd talked about the importance of having Jobbik delegates in the local legislatures because this way they "will be able to fight against the colonizers, the banks, the multinational companies, and the world government on the local level."
Cooperation between Jobbik and Fidesz is quite obvious. In Vásárosnamény the Jobbik candidate withdrew from the race: "With this withdrawal Jobbik ensures the victory of the joint forces of the Right." In Szeged where the MSZP László Botka according to the latest polls has a good chance of winning, the Jobbik candidate withdrew in favor of the Fidesz candidate, László B. Nagy. Jobbik in exchange asked Fidesz to withdraw its candidate in favor of the Jobbik candidate in Miskolc, again a place where the current MSZP mayor has a decent chance. Surprise! Fidesz said no deal.
At the moment the election is under way. According to the latest news voter turnout is lower than four years ago. The only interesting races are in Szeged and Miskolc, the rest of the larger cities are certain victories for Fidesz. The one open question is the number of votes cast for opposition parties. Will it be lower or higher than at the national elections?