Progressives in Poland and Hungary gaining trust

14/10/2019

Ballot box

Progressives in Poland and Hungary improved their results as they gained more support from voters, after they stood united with other progressive, democratic forces against the authoritarian drift in both countries. The results from the local elections in Hungary and the General election in Poland are turning the tide of nationalist, far-right populism in the region, the Party of European Socialists (PES) said.

At the general election in Poland yesterday, Lewica – a collection of united progressive parties with three leaders: Robert Biedron MEP as the campaign lead, Włodzimierz Czarzasty and Adrian Zandberg – put its foot in the door of the Polish parliament, which up until now has been dominated by right-wing populists.

Lewica managed to move the left coalition from no representation at the last election in 2015, to become the third political force, securing a further 4% of the vote and winning an estimated 43 seats. The official result will be known over the next few days.

Overall, the election is expected to deliver an absolute majority for PiS, which means threats to the independence of the judiciary, media and the rule of law will continue. The new progressive block in Parliament will fight against these threats, and the populist government of Kaczynski.

PES President Sergei Stanishev said:

“Progressive forces working together increased their vote in Poland and will now be able to take a progressive voice forward in the new parliament. Kaczynski will no longer be able to ignore the voices of the millions of Poles who want a modern, pro-European and progressive nation.”

In Hungary, which had local elections yesterday, the centre-left also delivered a series of bruising defeats to Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party. In Budapest, pro-European centre-left challenger Gergely Karácsony handed the Hungarian prime minister his first electoral blow since coming to power in 2010. Karácsony, one of a handful of opposition candidates to win a district in Budapest in 2014, is now the mayor of the Hungarian capital.

PES President Sergei Stanishev added:

“Fidesz’s highly negative campaign, which followed the usual line of attacking Karácsony for standing up for European values, failed to resonate with voters. Again, a united block of democratic and progressive parties has bloodied the nose of a populist, nationalist leader who thinks he can bully his way into staying in power. The days of populist dominance are coming to an end, thanks to a forward looking, united, and progressive opposition.”

Opposition parties have made gains in other major cities in Hungary, with preliminary results projecting opposition mayors winning in 10 of the country’s 23 big cities.