HUNGARY “A labour candidate has been elected to the town council” Judit Somi, internationalist labour activist

Judit Somi, internationalist labour activist.

What balance sheet should be drawn after the 13 October municipal elections?

The bankruptcy of the system is flagrant: there is more and more abstention. At the national level, the voter turnout was announced at 47.89% (that includes void ballots). But in the towns that have been martyred by the disappearance of industry – for example the town of Bàtonyterenye (in the north of Hungary), voter participation fell to 40%. So we can say that more than one worker out of two no longer trusts in the fact that voting for this or that or such and such a candidate will change anything at all.

Who has won in these elections?

The opposition won in ten of the 23 biggest cities of the country, including the capital, Budapest, over the Fidesz party – the party of the reactionary and authoritarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who had been in power since 2010. But let us specify: the oppositions is a vast coalition that goes from the “Socialist” Party (MSZP) to the far right (Jobbik). The MSZP, which had been in power from 2002 to 2010, organised privatisations, made our country into a haven for multinationals and organised Hungary’s membership in the European Union and NATO. 

As for Jobbik, it is a proto-fascist party that today is attempting to give itself a “respectable” face. Jobbik, the MSZP and Fidesz all have something in common: they are all well within the framework of the European Union and thus in the framework of privatisation and deregulation.

And you stood independent labour candidates in these elections?

Our campaign was modest, but we were the one and only force to campaign for labour unity. Our candidates were workers, activists of the left and Gypsies, all of whom were neither with the governmental party nor the coalition going from the far right to the liberals, “socialists” and their satellites. 

In Bàtonyterenye, the working class town that has been devastated by unemployment, we won one of the eleven seats on the town council. The comrade who was elected is a socialist on the left, excluded from his party along with all of his cell. With these results, albeit modest, we have publicly demonstrated our existence. We are aware of the fact that this is not sufficient, and we mean to continue, creating circles of workers in order to aid in their fight. Our campaign was very tiring but very productive.