If I were to collect all the negative descriptions of the SZDSZ leaders that are circulating in the Hungarian media I could fill a whole page. "Running amuck" is one of the less kind, but I don't think that "bájgúnár" as a description of Gábor Fodor is much better. I have to admit I had to do a little research on the meaning of "bágjgúnár." "Gúnár" means gander in English and "gander" has the meaning of simpleton as well as male goose. "Báj" is "charm," but the two words together mean an empty headed dandy who tries to act as if he were a woman killer. József Debreczeni, who called Fodor a "bájgúnár" fifteen years ago when after being defeated by Viktor Orbán he left Fidesz and joined SZDSZ, describes a "bájgúnár" as someone who is a lightweight but who acts important in public. Tamás Mészáros, another political commentator, said that the SZDSZ leaders are "whistling in the dark." That is, they are in fact afraid because they have found themselves in an untenable situation. Another comment I heard was that SZDSZ is "in no man's land" since its leaders left the coalition. Most people simply can't figure out what SZDSZ is doing.
One thing is evident by now–that truthfulness is not exactly the forte of Fodor and his friends. A few days ago they claimed that the twelve-member leadership (elnökség = presidium) unanimously approved the official SZDSZ stance: there should be a government of experts, Ferenc Gyurcsány must resign, and the prime minister's plan of action (Compact) is unacceptable. Today, it leaked out that of the twelve people only eight supported the Fodor-Horn-Gulyás trio. And a second case in point: after the meeting today of the leaders of MSZP and SZDSZ Fodor gave a different account from both Gyurcsány and Horn. According to the prime minister the question of a government of experts was not mentioned. According to Fodor it was. And the "third way": Gábor Horn said that it wasn't, but the question is still on the table and in subsequent meetings they will return to the topic. Now whom should one believe? This time I even sympathize with Péter Szijjártó, the bull of a spokesman of Fidesz, when he said something rather unkind about a "professional" discussion of concrete proposals after which the participants can't even agree about the topic of conversation.
Today it became public knowledge that the majority of the parliamentary delegation is not behind Fodor's plans. Moreover, it seems that Fodor has lost the battle to head the parliamentary delegation. He wanted the post, though he was willing to cede it to a close ally. But János Kóka, whom he defeated in the election for head of the party by two votes, remains in this position. That must be quite a blow to Fodor because, after all, the job of head of the delegation is important. The delegation head personifies the party in public. More so than the president of the party.
Under these circumstances Fodor and his fellow SZDSZ leaders really couldn't do anything else but give up the idea of Gyurcsány's resignation, the nonsense of the government of experts, and sit down and talk about cooperation with MSZP. After all, they had to decide: either they join the right and help dissolve the parliament and have early elections where Fidesz would win, perhaps even achieving a two-thirds majority in the House, or help MSZP to keep going. SZDSZ's ideology is still much closer to the left than the right. There is no place for SZDSZ in the company of Fidesz, KDNP, and MDF. I am also certain that SZDSZ's rude awakening was in part triggered by MDF's decision to bring the dissolution of parliament to the floor when parliament convenes on September 15th. In order to achieve dissolution one needs a majority of the House. However, without the twenty SZDSZ and at least one independent member there is no majority. Surely, SZDSZ will say "no." This will be the first clear signal that after all SZDSZ stands by the government and MSZP.
All this bravado about a government of experts, about SZDSZ's absolute unwillingness to negotiate with Gyurcsány, and about Gyurcsány's resignation came to naught. The mouse that roared, one could say. I know, it is embarrassing, and perhaps that's why Gábor Horn said that they will return to the idea of a government of experts. But I bet they won't. At the same time I don't think that they will rejoin the government because that would be a real loss of face. But that they will support the government from the outside, I'm almost sure.