The Guardian view on Hungary’s anti-Orbán alliance: the making of an opposition | Editorial

Parties which have united to fight next spring’s election have chosen a leader who may win over swing voters

For over a decade, Viktor Orbán has steadily eroded democratic norms in Hungary, creating clientelistic networks of power and influence that bend the country to his will. The electoral system has been adjusted to the advantage of Fidesz, the party Mr Orbán leads. A pro-government media empire has been carefully constructed, while independent outlets have been targeted by smear campaigns and starved of cash. Critical voices in education and the arts have been harassed and intimidated.

During Hungary’s progress towards a kind of soft autocracy, opposition political parties on the left and right have been on a steep learning curve. In parliamentary elections in 2018 they were divided, and duly fell – delivering Mr Orbán a handsome majority. But a year later, in local polls, they joined forces and won notable victories, including the mayoralty in Budapest. This “united front” strategy, comprising six parties from across the political spectrum, now faces its greatest test as Mr Orbán seeks to win a fourth term in the spring.

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