Hungary protests give opposition a chance to work together

By ELDAR EMRIC and PABLO GORONDIMarketsAssociated Press

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MP Adam Mirkoczky, chairman of the oppositional party Jobbik's Heves county office, delivers his speech during the rally held against the government in Eger, Hungary, Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018. The Hungarian government is not planning to change recently adopted amendments to the labor code that have led to days of protests. Government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs on Wednesday described the demonstrations as "political" and tied them to groups he claimed are backed by financier and philanthropist Geoge Soros. (Peter Komka/MTI via AP)

The recent protests in Hungary have given the fragmented opposition a real opportunity to work together as they challenge Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has an overwhelming majority in parliament.

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The protests, which started last week in the wake of new labor rules, incorporated an array of grievances on issues like limits on the free press and increasing corruption.

Another rally is to be held Friday evening in Budapest.

The protests have brought together a wide political coalition, from the nationalist Jobbik party to the Socialist Party, with trade unions and students also participating.

Opposition lawmaker Timea Szabo said that "for now it's a fragile cooperation, but we are working to strengthen it."

Analyst Csaba Toth said the cooperation could have long-term effects, even if immediate results may be limited.