Going inland. Campaign in Kecskemêt
After a day campaigning in Budapest (actually in Buda and in Pest), we went south-east of the city, to Kecskemêt, a nice city in the Bács Kiskun county, an agricultural / rural area dominated by the right (Fidesz). The campaign rally occurred in the local Primary School Sports Hall, and again it attracted a big turnout. This event gave me the opportunity to personally meet the current prime-minister candidate for MsZP, Attila Mezsterházy; another young politician with a strong and energetic message; and also gave me the opportunity to experience firsthand the brand new Hungarian highway system (which is really surprising, not only be the commodity and comfort of the roads, but for the technology associated), one of the better outcomes of socialist government.
All the meeting was very lively, with folk singer Rezso Soltesz entertaining the crowd, and keeping the pace high. I’ve been before in Hungary, campaigning – I was here last Women’s Day (last year) supporting a PES Women initiative, and also in this event we had some folk singers entertaining (a good idea that keeps the rhythmic of the meeting high), so that was not a new thing. The new thing was meeting Mister Mezsterházy, another strong and young socialist politician (as Molnar Csaba that I’ve meet the day before). Seeing all this new faces really makes be believe that MsZP could have a good future ahead, although they should do more when regarding integrating women and more young people in their campaigns (I haven’t meet a women candidate in Hungary yet, and although some of the leaders are young people under 40, the majority of the candidates are much more older).
Apart from these remarks, the rally in itself was very interesting. The message Mezsterházy put forward was not so different from the one I had listened the day before coming from Molnar Csaba, what means that the socialists know they discourse and have a defined strategy plan. Again the issues of the socialist government came to the stage, and as I am becoming more comfortable with Hungarian politics I really believe that the socialists did a good job during the last years, taking in consideration the difficult times we are living. More, having in mind Fidesz record from 1998 to 2002 I really don’t believe the populist could have done anything better; by the contrary, they would have gone after the people with less resource – pensioners, senior citizens, women, etc.
In Kecskemêt Mezsterházy mentioned the fact that the right wing is really not making any positive campaign. They hide their program, they hide their ideas, they even hide from public debates, where the population could be enlighten and faced with the different solutions that are to be voted in two weeks. I actually think this situation should be illegal. No campaign should exist without at least a public and televised debate between the main political parties. In Portugal that would not be seen well by our population and electorate; they will find very strange the fact that the party ahead in the poles would try by all means escape public debate ; they will think they are not serious and that they could be trying to hide something. And political live, today, it’s a serious business, and should be the more open as possible. We don’t give blind checks away anymore to anyone. We believe and support coherent and public political projects, not hidden agendas. And the behavior of Fidezs is not just serious as it is not democratic, I would say. They are just playing with the media and the poles, trying to keep peoples attentions for their flaws and incoherent proposals. They just try to make no mistakes, and get advantage from the fact that the hard decisions the MsZP government had to make in order to face the international economic and financial crisis; unpopular and austere decisions that although saved the country from an economic meltdown, paid its toll in the poles and public opinion. The price of governing for the good of the people, some would say. It’s clear to me now that the MsZP put Hungary first when they decided to execute the austerity plan last year; and although they knew there was a strong possibility of losing public opinion and the votes of the Hungarian people, nevertheless they didn’t look the other way and run. They stayed and did their best.
In end of the session we had the opportunity to meet Mezsterházy; again introduced by Mati Matyas (coordinator of PES activists in Hungary), and again I had the impression that it were the activists the «soul» and energy of the campaign. Don’t take me wrong, senior citizens deserve all my respect and admiration (more and more in a place like Hungary – because a lot of then fought totalitarian communism, and even Nazism), but I think that the energy of a campaign should be coming from the youth. The old have done their job; they have given their contribute already; so it’s time for the young to came forward, take their legacy and continue the building of an open, progressive and inclusive society for Hungarian people. And it is with pleasure that I see that in the Hungarian socialist Party this role is been played by the activists.
So it was another interesting session, one with strong political message and an intelligent speech presented by the candidate for prime-minister for the MsZP, Attila Mezsterházy. We meet the other candidates as well, namely Laszlo Balogh and Jozsef Kiraly (again two men), and had the opportunity to listen to some folk music and socialize with the locals. The activists were very well received; we shared some gifts (as it should be), wished good luck to «Attila» and returned to Budapest (again taking the new highway). In the night we went to an anti-fascist event. The fight continues.