The election campaign has been running for two weeks since early February. The parties try to present matters negative to the counterparts in the highest number possible, while present themselves in the most positive light possible. Policy Agenda has studied who could force the issue on the society and who managed to perform better in the past one and a half months.
From the weekly agenda analysis made Policy Agenda with the help of the Political Efficiency Index (PHa-Index) it is visible that the issue of Paks Nuclear Power Plant extension has continuously been among the TOP5 issues for the past five weeks. With regard to this matter with considerable impact both from social and economic aspect the opposition has been trying to draw the picture of a negligent government party, who will push the country indebted after dark talks.
In response to this issue Fidesz was able to respond with two significant stories surely on the agenda for weeks. The one is the secret bank account of Simon Gábor, the former MP, while the latest piece is the Zuschlag matter, which under odd circumstances tries to overshadow the five parties forming the alliance of Kormányváltás.
The Political Efficiency Index of the Paks II story is 3,43 on the overage of the past five weeks, while that of the Simon case is 3,06. It is important to point out on the other hand that the latter scandal is better understandable for the voters and the judgement thereon is clearer, while the respondents’ opinions with regard to the extension of the nuclear power plant are more reserved.
Fidesz apparently decided already at the end of 2012 to have one single strong campaign message. This is the reduction in home overheads. They are able to constantly keep this issue alive, and it was among the TOP5 most important issues three times in the past five weeks. The average of the past weeks was 2,74, which is due to the fact that the issue can be kept in the centre of attention in the news programmes of public TV channels even in the two-week ‘off-time’ of the story.
It is remarkable that the opposition parties were not able to build up a similar positive issue in the past period. The joint campaign of the five opposition parties is seemingly delayed due to the scandals and we believe it can no longer be built up due to the late disclosure of their eight-point undertaking like the cut in home overheads launched years earlier. And for them this can have serious outcome on April 6.
The first three weeks of the period starting from early February was clearly dominated by the dispute on the Holocaust Memorial Year. On the other hand this is not regarded as a classic government – opposition clash, as the source of the conflict was the opposition to the Jewish bodies, and the negligence of their opinion. Due to this the scandal drew a negative picture on the government and the government parties. Meaning the democratic opposition (either LMP or the five-party joint list) could and did not want to use this opportunity. And it is also apparent that this issue was taken from the political agenda in the past two weeks, which in this situation is a kind of an escape route for the government parties.
The campaign has for the time being weakened the chances of the opposition. The five-party list of Kormányváltás is held in the check by constant scandals, and therefore it is uncertain when it will be able to constantly remain on the agenda with its own positive messages.
The analysis of the agenda also has the lesson from another aspect: although Jobbik is getting stronger despite there has not been any strong message associated with it over the past weeks. This means that there are ones out of those disappointed in Fidesz or those wishing a government change, who find the orientation point in Jobbik less hit with scandals. The main question of the coming three weeks is whether Fidesz wants to stop Jobbik and to this end scandals will be put on the table as well, or the only target is to erode the five-party list of Kormányváltás and thereby the extremists get stronger. Making the Kormányváltás forces weaker could also see the LMP getting stronger – in line with the hardly hidden Fidesz intention – if they manage to reach the voters with the messages.