Politics can be different is a relatively new party in Hungarian politics which is partly the by-product of the crisis of confidence in politics and political parties after the election in 2006. LMP is also a response to rising nationalist tendencies in Hungarian society. From its beginnings LMP was a group of concerned citizens, later becoming a civic association. In 2009 LMP was transformed into an official political party and it subsequently took part in the elections for the European Parliament. In its first election the new party gained 2.61% of the vote, thus failing to enter the European Parliament. However, less than year later in spring 2010, LMP succeeded in the general election, and with 7.48% of the vote managed to enter the Hungarian parliament as the first new party in more than ten years. Since the government was formed by Fidesz-MKP, the sixteen deputies of LMP went into opposition. At the time of writing this book LMP had the status of observer in the European Green Party.
Election manifesto 2010
The political program of LMP's 2010 electoral manifesto runs to a healthy 280 pages and it addressed several issues which are of interest for us. The LMP manifesto was entitled 'Strategy for a Sustainable Future, Integrative Society and Renewed Democracy'. These three principles in short outline the main topics of the party's political program. The very long document takes a detailed look at the problem of poverty and social exclusion in Hungarian society, and the same issue was also examined in respect to the exclusion and social problems of the Roma community. The manifesto states clearly that the situation of the Roma population in Hungary is unacceptable. The document analyses in detail the overall social and cultural situation of the Roma, and through this analysis supported its claims that the situation that Roma people in Hungary are in is not a consequence of their nature but rather of their disadvantageous status in society and of the inefficient policies of the previous Hungarian governments. Among the most negatively perceived realities in respect of the discrimination of the Roma population in Hungary were the segregation practices towards the Roma in the educational system of the country. This segregation was in place from the lowest levels of the state provided education. The ramifications of such discrimination were decisive because for LMP the problem of unemployment was connected with the level of education. To put it simply, the probability of being unemployed increases with a lower level of education. So where there is discrimination towards a specific community in education, there will also be a problem of unemployment for the members of the same community. Therefore, in the view of LMP, Roma children were born into a society where there was only one option left for them. For LMP it was unacceptable to live in a country which treats its citizens in such a way. For LMP diversity and multiculturalism are values in themselves. That is why it called for such conditions for immigrants in Hungary under which they will be able to nourish and cultivate their own culture. Without respect for the cultural heritage of the immigrants and minorities there was the threat of discrimination of other – non-Hungarian – ways of life. And as it was pointed out above, discrimination leads to social exclusion. In the international arena LMP advocated the same principles as in domestic politics. The manifesto they put forward was strongly pro-European in the sense that it praised the idea of integration of the European countries and complemented the European project for removing conflict and war from the continent. However, LMP took a rather critical stance when discussing the economic and social policies of the EU. For LMP one of the most important tasks of the EU and for that matter also of transnational organizations in general was to tackle the problems which exceed the power of individual states. Social injustice and inequalities, together with the protection of human rights, were viewed as the most serious among such issues.