Podcast of the week: The Demise of the Hungarian Social Democrats

On the 8th of April, Victor Orban’s right-wing populist coalition Fidesz-KDNP won an astonishing 48.9% in the parliamentary election. The Socialist party–Dialogue for Hungary (MSZP), which had been ruling until Orban took power in 2010 and was the major opposition party since then, has received a humiliating 12.25%.

What has happened? Last October, Social Europe’s editor-in-chief Henning Meyer spoke about the demise of the Hungarian social democrats to former EU Commissioner and MSZP politician László Andor. They discuss the unexpected problems which arose from EU accession in 2004, the loss of MSZP’s constituency and Orban’s authoritarian tendencies.

This revealing half-hour is much recommended to those that want to not just shake their heads at Sunday’s results, but understand how contemporary Hungary is rolling.

 

The Power Vertical podcast: The ‘Whatever’ Election coming up in Russia

On March 18, Putin will be re-elected as president of Russia for the fourth time. The story, however, does not end here. While it is reasonable to expect that there won’t be a new President, the upcoming election is far from unimportant. Putin needs more than just the majority if he wants to retain his legitimacy and, ultimately, power.

In the recent episode of The Power Vertical podcast, Journalist Brian Whitmore and his guests discuss the specificities of this “election that isn’t”: the ambiguous role of widespread apathy, the importance of turnout over actual vote, the means and limits of political engineering, and the possible tactics of the opposition.

 

Note: The podcast assumes some prior knowledge of Russian politics. If not familiar with either of the following, a quick search is recommended: Putin-Medvedev swap, United Russia, Alexei Navalny, Xenia Sobchak.

 

By Isabel Seeger