Hungarian disunity a barrier to a political solution

Yesterday I indicated that Milla, originally a Facebook group that worried about media freedom, at last decided to demonstrate together with another civic group, Szolidaritás, on October 23. I also mentioned that Gordon Bajnai, former prime minister in Hungary (2009-2010), will speak at the gathering.

This joint demonstration is significant (even if marginally so) because Viktor Orbán and his party can be defeated in 2014 only by a united front. It is clear to everybody who can add and subtract that the opposition parties cannot be individually represented in the next elections. If each party proceeded on its own, Fidesz would easily win again. In fact,Viktor Orbán most likely would once again have his magic two-thirds majority in parliament. Thus, the only chance for the present left-liberal-moderate conservative forces to unseat Viktor Orbán is to unite under some kind of umbrella organization. Let’s call it “Egyesült Ellenzék” (United Opposition).

Not everyone who argues for unity agrees on the urgency of the matter. One camp believes that it is a truly urgent matter. The election campaign season will be here soon enough and one must act. There are others, however, who think that one can leave the joining of forces to fairly late in the game. I heard some commentators go so far as to say that even the fall of 2013 is not too late.

Disunity as pretext
spectrummagazine.org

I happen to think that the earlier the parties set aside their egos and abandon their rivalry for unattainable individual glory the better. That seems to be the opinion of people around DK, but my feeling is that the people who are regular listeners of György Bolgár’s talk show also think the same way. Or at least this has been my impression listening to the program for years. Among the faithful Klubrádió listeners are MSZP supporters, many of whom express their disappointment that the party leaders are dragging their feet. This seems to be the case especially lately, after the party won two local by-elections, in Dunaföldvár and Sopron. Attila Mesterházy, the party chairman, doesn’t reject cooperation outright, but deep down he hopes that perhaps MSZP can defeat Fidesz singlehandedly. József Tóbiás, deputy whip of the MSZP parliamentary delegation, made no secret of his party’s ambition to go it alone. When Olga Kálmán of ATV called his attention to the electoral law, according to which a candidate can win with, let’s say, only 35% of the votes because the votes for the candidates of the other three or four parties are hopelessly divided (e.g., 25%, 15%, 15%, 10%), Tobiás fired back: “But in Sopron we won when there were many parties running against us.” So, there are people who feel that way in MSZP and we don’t know whether they are in the majority or not.

There is no question that MSZP must be the leading force in the fight against the Orbán regime. It is MSZP that has the most extensive political network in the country. There are party cells in all cities, towns, and villages. Although MSZP lost a lot of voters, the skeleton of its organization is intact. Thus, MSZP has to play a vital role in my proposed “United Opposition.” However, at the moment I don’t foresee any MSZP willingness to negotiate with the other parties.

LMP is even smugger than MSZP and with much less justification. In the last three months the party lost about a third of those who earlier would have definitely voted for LMP. At the moment its support stands at 2%. I suspect that LMP’s unfriendly attitude toward other democratic parties has something to do with its loss of popularity. The party leadership seems to be divided on the issue, but it seems that those who refuse any cooperation are still in the majority.

The other small democratic party, DK, is the only one that is ready without any preconditions to support the formation of an umbrella organization. The party chairman, Ferenc Gyurcsány, announced that the party will not have a candidate for the premiership. In fact, Gyurcsány admitted that he is fully aware that his candidacy is out of the question. He also told his followers that DK would support any candidate the other democratic parties agreed on. If it is Attila Mesterházy DK will support him. However, he added that it is Gordon Bajnai whose political views are the closest to those of DK.

And now we come to the planned demonstration for October 23. The Milla group under the guidance of Péter Juhász refuses to cooperate with any political party. Although in the past Milla managed to organize large demonstrations, as someone said not too long ago it is not enough to repeat that “we don’t like the regime.” It is not enough to say that we hate all politicians because they are all crooks. First of all, it is not true and, second, without parties there is no parliamentary democracy. Moreover, equating the sins of the last twenty years with the undemocratic regime that Viktor Orbán managed to build leads us nowhere. No, the Third Republic and the Regime of National Unity cannot be compared. And this is exactly what Péter Juhász is doing. In this respect he resembles András Schiffer of LMP. Both men would like to see themselves somewhere in the middle, but as a witty blogger wrote, “there is no middle ground between Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf.”

I am not going to repeat all my objections about Milla and LMP. I wrote about both of them lately. I entitled the second one “Milla and LMP: Double curse of current Hungarian politics.” So, let’s move to the heart of the matter as it stands now.

The debate between Szolidaritás and Milla centered on their attitudes toward parties. Szolidaritás started as a civic organization that grew out of the trade union movement. They would like to work with all parties, and accordingly they invited them to their demonstration. But Milla refused to join them as long as party logos or flags could be seen anywhere. Eventually, they worked out a compromise, although the details change not only every day but practically every hour. The last I heard is that the Szolidaritás people will meet at the Adam Clark Square, party logos and all, and march to the bridgehead of Elizabeth Bridge, hopefully filling up the whole Free Press Road (Szabad Sajtó út). What they will do with the party logos once they get there I have no idea. Neither does Péter Kónya of Szolidaritás.

Ferenc Gyurcsány has a very low opinion of both Milla and Péter Juhász because he is convinced that Juhász  is a populist who is strengthening Hungarians’ distrust of politics and politicians. Given the current political lethargy in Hungary, such antagonism toward politics is outright harmful. Gyurcsány expressed his very pointed opposition to Milla on ATV a few days ago. Most of the DK people refuse to join the demonstration organized by Milla. They will hold their own. Today LMP announced that they will also boycott the demonstration.

And finally came the announcement by Péter Juhász yesterday morning on ATV that Gordon Bajnai accepted their invitation to speak at the Milla demonstration. Ferenc Gyurcsány apparently talked to Bajnai earlier and advised him against it, but to no avail. I also think that it is a mistake to “come out” politically at a demonstration organized by a fiercely anti-political, anti-politician group. But who knows what will happen between now and the 23rd? Only yesterday we heard that one of the several speakers will be Gáspár Miklós Tamás (TGM). He is a brilliant fellow but his political views are, mildly put, erratic. TGM was a fierce anti-communist in the 80s, one of the founding members of the liberal SZDSZ, then he said “good-bye to the left” and pronounced himself a conservative. The conservative phase didn’t last long and now he is back with some kind of Utopian communism. Well, as soon as TGM heard that Bajnai will be announcing his return to politics at the demonstration he said that he was bowing out because he will not help Bajnai further his political career. After all, in his opinion, Bajnai conducted a neo-conservative economic policy that he despises because it makes the people poor and powerless. But then, only a couple of hours ago, TGM changed his mind and said that he would speak at the demonstration after all. So, here we go.

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50 comments

  1. I have read somewhere that the reason Juhasz gave for starting Milla against Orban’s rule was that he had been denied the usual tax rebate for his new-born child, since he is not married to the mother.

  2. I think it is a huge mistake on the part of MSzP not to organize their own demonstration. Their leader said on television that he is going to take off the day to spend time with his family. What???
    Mr M simply does not have the qualities to lead the largest opposition party.

    Personally, I plan to go to the Solidarity meeting point and then join the Milla demonstration.
    As a personal protest, I would like to go to the Parliament building with a sign in English,
    “Tyrant, Resign”. Of course, only Orban supporters will be permitted by police to demonstrate in front of the Parliament. Someday, Orban will face his Ceausescu moment – the moment when his supposedly friendly crowd turns hostile.

  3. “Someday, Orban will face his Ceausescu moment – the moment when his supposedly friendly crowd turns hostile.”

    Don’t hold your breath.

  4. István Vágó, the retired TV personality, rightly pointed out on Facebook that LMP no longer can say that the only obstacle to unity is Ferenc Gyurcsány. Although Ferenc Gyurcsány called for a boycott of the Milla demonstration LMP still refuses to join forces with them. Good point. Vágó added that he no longer wants to hear that particular excuse from the leaders of LMP.

  5. Have you ever played the bullshit bingo in your office? This is a game like Bingo. You put a bunch of meaningless buzzwords on cards and in a meeting or during an important sounding speech you tick them off. When somebody has say 5 in a row they yell bingo and they win.

    We should play the Hungarian opposition bullshit bingo. When 3 groups say the same thing we yell Bingo! I’m afraid it will take years to win.

  6. Hungarians as Politicians–now there’s a real laugher; more like Prima Donnas!

    They all want to be leadoff batters, and none of them have the specific gravity to bat cleanup.
    Shame, really.

    The MSZP and naive Mesterhazy, leading the Thieves-in-Hiding, can smell another kick at the can. Join with others? And have another ‘useless’ 4 years like under Gyurcsany when they weren’t given free rein?–Anything but that!

  7. TGM, Schiffer, Gyurcsany – they all have too big egos. They should concentrate on the goal: the abdication of Orban & his 9-year appointees, then a new election with the old, democratic rules.

  8. But we’re talking about Hungarians, right?

    Just when in time during our history we managed to hold onto ‘unity’ longer than it takes to march along the Andrássy street?

    When the edge of the knife really on our jugular, we grab for each other for a minute or two, but at the moment when the ‘clear and present danger’ eased away we turn on each other gladly again.

    Actually this is one of the Hungarian characteristic what Orban using masterfully – projecting a threat, an ‘attack on the nation’ herding the humble sheep into a flock, – and it’s working, as long as the ‘country is in danger’.

    Sadly, before the people en masse realize that it’s time to wake up, because pretty soon there is nothing left of democracy as we knew it, nothing going to happen regarding unity.

    Whit jokers like LMP in play hoping that the democratic opposition would take a pragmatic step for the future of the Democratic Hungary, is nothing more but a dream.
    – And I wish I dreaming this too – wake me up, please!

  9. The trick is actually not uniting. It is uniting under the same flag. That is choosing a leader and unconditionally follow. This is where the Hungarian problem is. On one hand taking the lead on the other giving up yourself and support the leader. Nobody is good enough to be the leader but everybody is better than any leader. Vitam Et Sanguinem, right?

  10. I have it on very good authority that the negotiations to bring this event off were absolutely harrowing, and have been going on for a very long time. But, the moment when Juhász, Kónya, and Bajnai stand together on that stage should be pretty electrifying. I have it on the same very good authority that Kónya’s speech promises to be really hard-hitting…should be fun to watch. I believe the event is being streamed live on UStream.
    A bit OT, but was I the only one you could have knocked flat with a feather when the EU won the Nobel Peace Prize today “…for promoting peace, democracy and human rights…” – apparently they don’t check the member states’ current activities too closely!!

  11. The Nobel Peace Prize for the EU, I think, was entirely deserved and should act as an inspiration for politicians in Hungary and elsewhere. Yes, the states bicker among themselves and seem more interested in talking about rather than acting on important issues but they are united by common values – including the fact that Europe is a force for good and the member states have more in common than divisions. Compare this to the tribalism of Hungarian politics and Orbán’s disdain for reasoned debate and it’s hard not to see who are the good guys.

  12. Éva this is brilliant: “Only yesterday we heard that one of the several speakers will be Gáspár Miklós Tamás (TGM). He is a brilliant fellow but his political views are, mildly put, erratic.”
    You are really very mild.
    TGM is a solipsist. This explains his frequent change of opinion. He is like a watch that stopped to function, but twice in 24 hours indicates the right time.

  13. Lutra lutra :
    The Nobel Peace Prize for the EU, I think, was entirely deserved and should act as an inspiration for politicians in Hungary and elsewhere. Yes, the states bicker among themselves and seem more interested in talking about rather than acting on important issues but they are united by common values – including the fact that Europe is a force for good and the member states have more in common than divisions. Compare this to the tribalism of Hungarian politics and Orbán’s disdain for reasoned debate and it’s hard not to see who are the good guys.

    Well said.

  14. I think Spectator has it right. You can’t put three Hungarians in a room and expect them not to be at each other throats after an hour (and several palinkas).

  15. Why is Gyurcsany always exempted from criticism here? Sure he’s not the only one; but his role is still destructive. Not long ago the wish was expressed here that Bajnai comes out as the leader of a joint opposition. Now that he does, he does it all wrong, just because the beloved Gyurcsany says so? Isn’t it exactly the right moment put an end to the anti-political attitude of Milla, as Bajnai apparently plans? On the other hand, Gyurcsany is boycotting the joint Oct 23 demonstration and this finds your approval? (I also approve of it. In this way he at least will not compromise them.) I know from friends how much affection people could feel for Gyurcsany, But the time has come to get over it.

  16. M. Riedl: “Why is Gyurcsany always exempted from criticism here?”

    Because I have to agree with him on this issue. Juhász is the wrong man and it might not be the smartest thing of Bajnai to make his first political appearance since 2010 at the Milla rally.

  17. “the Szolidaritás people will meet at the Adam Clark Square, party logos and all, and march to the bridgehead of Elizabeth Bridge”

    During the last protest on 15 March 2012 a line of policemen blocked entrance to the bridge from the Buda side, and prevented people from joining the protest on the Pest side of the bridge.

    Since the Kadar period, this was the first time I personally faced politically motivated, forceful obstruction of the free movement of citizens, which was shocking but typical of the Orban government’s underhanded ways. On my asking the reasons, the policemen seemed uncomfortable and said they acted on orders from above and could not reveal more.

    I could not find any media coverage of this at the time but that could just be my failure.

    I have taken a photo which I will try to email Eva.
    (Eva if you do not receive it please send me an email contact.)

  18. Pledge that you stop smearing and generalizing old enemies.
    The old Hungarian community of New Brunswickl, NJ is a good study. From a meeting with them, I came away pretty depressed.
    Instead of a happy constructive community life, the individuals are full of anger.
    I can not understand that second and third generations carry on holding to old grievances.
    The hope can be reignited by a psychological turnaround.
    Release your anger, discard your mistrust, and make peace with the world.

  19. New topic: agricultural land

    Sources:
    http://nol.hu/belfold/kulfoldiek_foldszerzese__be_van_fejezve__nincs__nem_lesz_
    http://www.kielegyenafold.hu/a-k69.html

    Orban plans to take away the remaining plots of the former cooperatives and give them to a few hundred political friends who will make up the new landlord class of the country.

    Back to the feudalism, except most of these new landlords will sell their newly received land
    to foreigners at more than 10-fold prices after May 2014, when the EU moratorium to sell land to foreigners is terminated.

    Quick money to Orban’s buddies.

  20. Hungary badly needs an opposition party to balance Fidesz. As of now, the remnants of the previous regime are figting over the meager leftovers, instead of fighting Fidesz.

    I think Bajnai has a chance to revitatilze all those who are disillusioned by Fidesz, as well as the old opposition. For him to be successfull, the old party hags must get out of his way. Gyurcsany, by his mere presence on the Hungarian political stage, guarantees a large block of voters to Fidesz. Why can’t he pack up his billions and take a long rest on an island somewhere? It would really help.

    For me Bajnai is the only credible candidate to face Orban in 2014. I’d like to see him have a real shot at it, without interference from the left.

  21. I very much doubt that Gyurcsány’s presence brings any votes for Fidesz. As you can see Orbán’s voter base is continuously shrinking although Gyurcsány is still active in politics. Who do you think from the moderate left would vote for Fidesz just out of frustration that Gyurcsány has a party that stands at 5-6%?

  22. Sackhoes Contributor :
    Hungary badly needs an opposition party to balance Fidesz. As of now, the remnants of the previous regime are figting over the meager leftovers, instead of fighting Fidesz.
    I think Bajnai has a chance to revitatilze all those who are disillusioned by Fidesz, as well as the old opposition. For him to be successfull, the old party hags must get out of his way. Gyurcsany, by his mere presence on the Hungarian political stage, guarantees a large block of voters to Fidesz. Why can’t he pack up his billions and take a long rest on an island somewhere? It would really help.
    For me Bajnai is the only credible candidate to face Orban in 2014. I’d like to see him have a real shot at it, without interference from the left.

    I confess to not knowing enough about Gyurcsany. The only thing I have against him was playing footsie with the Russians back in 2008. That aside, he seems an honorable, credible, human being that was successfully marginalized by elements within his own party in cahoots with Orban.

    Bajnai is not only a logical choice, but the country is damned lucky to have him as a viable option. He lacks the backing of a party with grassroots support and I’m not sure he’s up to organizing the necessary backing.
    Perhaps he’s hoping for the MSZP to back him. Personally, I wish he had the gumption to choose Gyurcsany AND Mesterhazy in a joint move against
    Orban. The LMP be damned: they’re not to be trusted
    in any case.

  23. I have been closely watching Hungarian politics in the last twenty years and therefore I remember only too well the Russian-Hungarian relations in 2008. What happened was that Orbán managed to exaggerate the Hungarian government’s very close ties to Russia and that resonated in Washington. The US ambassador at the time, April Foley, was very close to János Martonyi and Viktor Orbán while she hated Gyurcsány. Mind you, I think it was mutual dislike because Foley apparently was trying to give orders to the Hungarian prime minister which naturally the latter resented. In any case, the cold warriors in Washington lapped up the Fidesz stories when the only thing that happened was that Gyurcsány felt that Hungary’s energy needs require more than the one source the Americans were pushing: Nabucco. Nabucco is still nowhere and I’m not at all sure whether anything will come of the project.

    So, Gyurcsány decided to negotiate with the Russians about joining the Southern Stream project. I should also point out that Orbán who had considered Gyurcsány’s move practically treason and selling out to the Russians in 2008 after he became prime minister immediately started negotiations with the Russians concerning the Southern Stream. Moreover, he went further. At one point he announced that MOL is withdrawing from the Nabucco project altogether.

    The funny thing is that there have been rumors lately that the Southern Stream may not even go through Hungary but through Croatia. If that will be the case, Orbán (and unfortunately Hungary) will be there high and dry.

  24. I read–with a smile–Éva’s characterization of TGM’s changing and sometimes erratic political views. He’s certainly a thinker and a colourful political philosopher, but he was incredibly exhausting last night on ATV’s Egyenes Beszéd. Kálmán Olga’s tone and facial expression said it all.

  25. Eva S. Balogh :
    I have been closely watching Hungarian politics in the last twenty years and therefore I remember only too well the Russian-Hungarian relations in 2008. What happened was that Orbán managed to exaggerate the Hungarian government’s very close ties to Russia and that resonated in Washington. The US ambassador at the time, April Foley, was very close to János Martonyi and Viktor Orbán while she hated Gyurcsány. Mind you, I think it was mutual dislike because Foley apparently was trying to give orders to the Hungarian prime minister which naturally the latter resented. In any case, the cold warriors in Washington lapped up the Fidesz stories when the only thing that happened was that Gyurcsány felt that Hungary’s energy needs require more than the one source the Americans were pushing: Nabucco. Nabucco is still nowhere and I’m not at all sure whether anything will come of the project.
    So, Gyurcsány decided to negotiate with the Russians about joining the Southern Stream project. I should also point out that Orbán who had considered Gyurcsány’s move practically treason and selling out to the Russians in 2008 after he became prime minister immediately started negotiations with the Russians concerning the Southern Stream. Moreover, he went further. At one point he announced that MOL is withdrawing from the Nabucco project altogether.
    The funny thing is that there have been rumors lately that the Southern Stream may not even go through Hungary but through Croatia. If that will be the case, Orbán (and unfortunately Hungary) will be there high and dry.

    “Moreover, he went further. At one point he announced that MOL….”

    Where does a 25% government stake in MOL afford Orban the right to make announcements in its name?

    Of course, Herr Orban has also announced that MOL is a strategic industry and as such, its head cannot be called to testify
    in the Sanader case. Again, ‘strategic industry’ and the government owns only 25%…?

    (I suppose, for a Felcsutian, MY 25% is equal to YOUR 75%!)

  26. bernard de raadt :
    you harvest what you plant… not more not less

    – Hmmm.
    You aren’t much into gardening, are you?
    The general idea of planting anything is to have more off the stuff – otherwise there is no point, whatsoever.

  27. Mutt :
    The trick is actually not uniting. It is uniting under the same flag. That is choosing a leader and unconditionally follow. This is where the Hungarian problem is. On one hand taking the lead on the other giving up yourself and support the leader. Nobody is good enough to be the leader but everybody is better than any leader. Vitam Et Sanguinem, right?

    Actually I never liked the zealot followers of anybody or anything, I don’t miss this feature at all. Only part of the reason that I’ve lost my flock-instinct right at my birth – I guess – but mainly because I deeply believe in cooperation of free-minded people, based on common understanding and common goal, on their free will. In this case nobody has to give up anything really, which in turn makes a nice contrast to any authoritarian regime with their uniform mindset and the one and only leader, who has all the answers.

    Probably this is my biggest concern about the brainwashed masses chanting ‘Viktor’ …

    So, I have no problem if there are a lots of different flags, as long as they moving on the same direction – because they want to!
    Without even a single drop of ‘sanguinem’ spilled for any reason!

  28. The problem with a lot of ‘different flags’ is that the Hungarian instinct is to beat down your neighbor (and, by definition, there goes any hope of working together).
    Traditionally, Hungarians have only been subdued by
    a) the Church, or/and
    b) a dizzying megolomaniac

  29. spectator :

    Mutt :
    The trick is actually not uniting. It is uniting under the same flag. That is choosing a leader and unconditionally follow. This is where the Hungarian problem is. On one hand taking the lead on the other giving up yourself and support the leader. Nobody is good enough to be the leader but everybody is better than any leader. Vitam Et Sanguinem, right?

    Actually I never liked the zealot followers of anybody or anything, I don’t miss this feature at all. Only part of the reason that I’ve lost my flock-instinct right at my birth – I guess – but mainly because I deeply believe in cooperation of free-minded people, based on common understanding and common goal, on their free will. In this case nobody has to give up anything really, which in turn makes a nice contrast to any authoritarian regime with their uniform mindset and the one and only leader, who has all the answers.
    Probably this is my biggest concern about the brainwashed masses chanting ‘Viktor’ …
    So, I have no problem if there are a lots of different flags, as long as they moving on the same direction – because they want to!
    Without even a single drop of ‘sanguinem’ spilled for any reason!

    The L’art pour L’art politics will not help the country. You have to win the elections to have an impact. You cannot just run around proudly under different flags and claim I’m on the right side. The tragedy is that the Felcsutian figured this out for the first time in the post communist Hungary and look where we are.

    Orban is right in one thing. We ARE sheep. If you want to lead the country all you need is adopt to these bumpkins. Here, right there: the first thing to give up is intellectual pride.

    Of course in politics the first thing is setting goals. So what do you want? Being on the right side or to keep our young and bright within the borders (2012 borders)? Do you want intellectual superiority over the FIDESZ crowd or do you want affordable college for all?

    Ok. Too much BS. My point is this: be pragmatic. In 2014 it all comes down to votes. You have to mark freaking party name on the ballot!

    Today in Hungary the FIDESZ opposition is part MSZP, part “everybody else”. MSZP still has 20% so it would be logical to gather under the MSZP leadership. But these lazy bums are just waiting for 2002 to repeat itself, the “anything but the FIDESZ effect”, but that’s not going to happen. The Felcsutian took care of it. So why don’t we pick somebody else? Why would, say, the LMP be a lot worst then the MSZP? No it wouldn’t be (IMHO it wouldn’t be good but better than the MSZP). What’s happening is this. A lot of people just don’t want the MSZP let go. But these guys are nothing more than 20%. No substance.

    Bajnai is great. But what will be on the ballot? The way out is a new party then we all shut up and vote for it.

    The other possibility, and I’m afraid this will happen, is another FIDESZ term, the country will crash, and the sheep will vote for the first party in their way in 2018 that says no more FIDESZ. And the cycle will restart.

    So once again. Pick Bajnai. Form a party. Shut up and vote for it.

  30. Petrovics: “Hungarians as Politicians–now there’s a real laugher; more like Prima Donnas!

    They all want to be leadoff batters, and none of them have the specific gravity to bat cleanup.”

    You can add this blog to your list also.

  31. Petrovics: ““Moreover, he went further. At one point he announced that MOL….”

    Where does a 25% government stake in MOL afford Orban the right to make announcements in its name?

    Of course, Herr Orban has also announced that MOL is a strategic industry and as such, its head cannot be called to testify
    in the Sanader case. Again, ‘strategic industry’ and the government owns only 25%…?”

    You need a little business education. One can control a corporation by even less than 25 % ownership.

  32. Louis Kovach :
    Petrovics: ““Moreover, he went further. At one point he announced that MOL….”
    Where does a 25% government stake in MOL afford Orban the right to make announcements in its name?
    You need a little business education. One can control a corporation by even less than 25 % ownership.

    Please educate me! The Hungarian government has slightly above 20% of the voting rights (it’s ownership is actually less then 25%).

  33. Mutt: “Please educate me! The Hungarian government has slightly above 20% of the voting rights (it’s ownership is actually less then 25%).”

    See section below from the International Accounting Standards.

    “A holding of 20% or more of the voting power (directly or through subsidiaries) will indicate significant influence unless it can be clearly demonstrated otherwise. If the holding is less than 20%, the investor will be presumed not to have significant influence unless such influence can be clearly demonstrated. [IAS 28.6]

    The existence of significant influence by an investor is usually evidenced in one or more of the following ways: [IAS 28.7]

    representation on the board of directors or equivalent governing body of the investee
    participation in the policy-making process
    material transactions between the investor and the investee
    interchange of managerial personnel
    provision of essential technical information
    Potential voting rights are a factor to be considered in deciding whether significant influence exists. [IAS 28.9]”

  34. Louis Kovach: Apples and pears. You are quoting IAS for control of shares. This has nothing to do with that. It is about valuation in the external reporting towards the shareholders.

    In a specific country different rules may apply, and another set of rules may apply for tax purposes.Furthermore, internally management may have another set of rules.

    But you are right regarding voting right and control. It is all about how that has been arranged in the Articles of Association of such a Company and/or structure. For example a golden share and/or priority shares, etc, etc.

  35. Ron :
    But you are right regarding voting right and control. It is all about how that has been arranged in the Articles of Association of such a Company and/or structure. For example a golden share and/or priority shares, etc, etc.

    Does anybody know what are the arrangements with the MOL shares? Does the Hungarian government have extra voting rights?

  36. Since we’re OT with MOL anyway, here’s something interesting/maybe even funny:

    MOL has around 49 % of the shares of INA, the Croat oil company (which in Tito’s time was a monopolist just like MOL) and they are in disagreement with the Croat government …

    Now what happens if the Croat guys play the same “National Card” as Fidesz does regarding oil, gas and electricity companies here in Hungary ?

    Might be a bit embarrassing for the Hungo government.

  37. Ron: “Louis Kovach: Apples and pears. You are quoting IAS for control of shares. This has nothing to do with that. It is about valuation in the external reporting towards the shareholders.”

    Yes but it is basically the same for control also. It always depends on who else has how many shares…The 20 % is typically adeqaute for control also. One does not have to have golden or any “more voting rights shares for control.

    See Table I of reference below:

    “http://ws1.ad.economics.harvard.edu/faculty/shleifer/files/CorporateOwnership.pdf”

  38. wolfi: “Now what happens if the Croat guys play the same “National Card” as Fidesz does regarding oil, gas and electricity companies here in Hungary ?”

    They are playing it, and there are legel issues between the two entities, It was in the news more than a year ago already.

  39. “So once again. Pick Bajnai. Form a party. Shut up and vote for it.”

    There is no disagreement here, Mutt!
    The only thing is, I just loath the authoritarian approach, whoever is the top honcho.

    Yes, the Hungarian may behave like sheep – at least the brainwashed herd’s of orbanist morons. There isn’t really ideological ground for it, and this is the mos frightening part – it’s working like a goddamn sect for God’s sake, on pure belief!

    However, based on my experience – I’m in B2B communication longer than I dare to remember – people can understand a great deal more than certain ‘politicians’ insist, the key is the right kind of information presented in the right way.

    Since Orban acting recently like someone who lost in time somewhere in the ’30ties, it wouldn’t be that hard to unveil and disclose his inadequacy – but it needs professional doing, as opposed to the power struggle the present day’s opposition displaying.

    Been watching the latest debate on ATV – let me tell you, the guy from Milla acting way too amateurish, even slightly dull-minded. (I don’t say, he is, I say he was like).
    With this kind of attitude you get only so far – I promise to you, that this will be the last demonstration what they host if it goes like this any longer.

    People today need a clear and pragmatic approach. and this is what missing totally from everywhere. One should grow up that much to be able to recognize the priorities and forget this brainless pissing contest – ‘I will set the rules, because this is my sandbox’ – kind.

    Otherwise Orban and his cronies going to reintroduce even the ‘Jus Primae Noctis’ next time, or something similarly advanced ‘traditional Hungarian’ BS, what ‘is in our genes’ and there will be no way out.

  40. Éva: “There is no question that MSZP must be the leading force in the fight against the Orbán regime.”

    I am not sure how this can be of use with their programme that you kindly presented to us some weeks ago. They have no programme except “power”. What kind of contribution to the united opposition can be expected of them? And even if such united opposition could manage to replace OV in 2014 because of this, just one, goal, the instability of the political system would immediately return (as there is apparently not even the most basic consensus that no matter which “crooks” are in the other parties and organisations, the playing field is not questioned). OV could turn out correct in his assessment that given this record in political self-management of Hungarians, an autocratic system could at least be called more “stable”. (I am not speaking about creating better living conditions for the average Hungarian but about the stability of the political life.)

  41. I am tired of all the carping about the MSzP, LMP, DK, Gyurcsany, Mesterhazy, etc. What they all have in common is that they lost the elections in 2010 badly. So why are they stil the only players on stage? It’s clear (to me at east), that a new force is needed to face Fidesz with a new leader, like Bajnai, to present a fresh face to the electorate. If that sounds like a power play, well, it is. To make a difference in the country’s life, you first must win the election. Much as you may criticise Orban (I dont care for him, either) he obviously understands how to get through to the voters. Surely he is not the only one…

    If the voting rights are really extended to people like me, who live in the US and have no liisted address in Hungary, I would probably cast my ballot for a coalition led by Bajnai, but you’d never catch me voting for a socialist party. Never. If Bajnai does not run, I probably will not vote.

    But that’s just me….

  42. Kirsten: “I am not sure how this can be of use with their programme that you kindly presented to us some weeks ago. They have no programme except “power”

    Actually what they have is organization and a growing voter’s base. Soon enough they will have as many voters as Fidesz and according to the polls the “undecided” people lean toward the left rather than to the right.

    But I agree with you that the program is very poor.

  43. Sackshoes: “I am tired of all the carping about the MSzP, LMP, DK, Gyurcsany, Mesterhazy, etc. What they all have in common is that they lost the elections in 2010 badly. So why are they stil the only players on stage? It’s clear (to me at east), that a new force is needed to face Fidesz with a new leader, like Bajnai, to present a fresh face to the electorate.”

    You can’t produce out of the blue brand new politicians. Bajnai is no “fresh face” either. He was economic minister between 2006 (second Gyurcsány government) and prime minister between 2009-2010.

    Mesterházy is fairly new face too.

  44. Mutt :

    Ron :
    But you are right regarding voting right and control. It is all about how that has been arranged in the Articles of Association of such a Company and/or structure. For example a golden share and/or priority shares, etc, etc.

    Does anybody know what are the arrangements with the MOL shares? Does the Hungarian government have extra voting rights?

    I think they have the B share of MOL, but I am not certain. At least there is a 10% voting limit.
    The Article of association are here:
    http://bse.hu/newkibdata/107206735/MOL_Articlesinforce_2011_04_28.pdf

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