There are two very recent political developments that might have something to do with each other. The first piece of news that hit the Internet today was a poll by Tárki concerning party preferences. The results are based on a representative sample of 1,000 Hungarian citizens over the age of 18, and it looks as if Médián’s poll a couple of weeks ago wasn’t a fluke. Gordon Bajnai’s “Together 2014” would be one of the strongest parties if elections were held today. Moreover, just as the Bajnai group predicted, most of the supporters are coming from the hitherto undecided group of voters.
As for the details. All the other parties pretty much held their earlier support while the percentage of undecided voters decreased from 50 to 47%. The only exception was LMP, which lost some of its followers, and I don’t think that this is the end of the party’s downward slide. After all, the poll was taken before the story broke about the internal fighting that occurred within the party only a few days ago.
Within the population as a whole Fidesz’s support is 19%, MSZP’s is 14%, and Jobbik’s is 10%. The new Bajnai formation would receive 7% support, ahead of LMP and DK. Among those who claim that they would definitely vote, “Together 2014” got 13%!
Because I more or less predicted that Bajnai’s new group would do well and that Médián’s earlier poll was not a fluke, that piece of news didn’t surprise me greatly. However, I was stunned by MSZP’s announcement that the party is initiating serious conversations with all democratic opposition forces aimed at forming “a common party list and naming common candidates in each of the 106 electoral districts.” They dubbed the program “Association for Change.” MSZP’s suggestions and ideas were sent to Gordon Bajnai’s Haza és Haladás Foundation (HH), to Milla, to Solidarity, to LMP, to DK, to the Social Democratic Party of Hungary, and to Ákos Kornél’s group, “Together for Hungary.”
The timetable would be the following. Starting in January these groups would sit down and work out a program that would include details about economic and budgetary policy, constitutional matters and the state of democracy, employment, education, social policy, the development of the countryside, the environment, regional strategies, public safety, local governments, foreign policy, and “national policy” (nemzetpolitika). The socialists would send a delegation consisting of three or four members to each of the subcommittees that would be set up.
Once these details are ironed out, they should begin a joint registration campaign. Attila Mesterházy in a press conference announcing the party’s decision to join forces with the others emphasized that the democratic opposition would need 20-30 thousand activists because according to the new election law the democratic forces would need at least 20,000 people to be poll watchers. Why that many? Because if a party cannot produce two poll watchers at each polling station then that party cannot send any!!!! This electoral law is full of surprises. But more about the details later. The socialist proposals can be found here.
“Together 2014” immediately responded positively to the MSZP initiative. Bajnai and his associates consider this development important because by now MSZP also shares the belief that in order to win against the forces of the Orbán regime unity is a must. Ferenc Gyurcsány also supports the idea.
This is a very important development. Until recently some key MSZP politicians spoke about the party’s chances of winning the elections single-handedly as a given. I’m sure that it couldn’t have been easy to convince the majority of the top brass to support Mesterházy’s plan. I wonder whether the party’s internal poll might have given early notice to the socialist leaders that the number of MSZP supporters was stagnating and that Médián’s poll indicated that support for Gordon Bajnai and the people who joined forces with him was real. Mesterházy himself seemed to me always very flexible. He said on several occasions that heading the common list should be the person who has the best chance of winning the elections.
So, as far as I can see a new Round Table is shaping up, if the other parties are ready to cooperate. My feeling is that the majority of the eight formations mentioned above will. The exceptions most likely will be LMP and 4K!
LMP’s problems are not over yet. LMP MP Katalin Ertsey suspended her membership in the party. During the coming weekend she will decide whether to leave the party altogether. She minced no words and called the latest round of voting that resulted in electing András Schiffer to lead the LMP parliamentary caucus “a dirty compromise” and described her fellow MPs as cynical and immoral. And then there are Gergely Karácsony’s more than unfortunate remarks in Debrecen to a group of university students which he has been trying to deny with not much success. Karácsony is not a very good liar. I will also be curious how long Schiffer will be the leader of the LMP delegation especially given the latest developments and the declining number of LMP supporters. Actually, I am not at all sure that LMP will survive.
Obama’s slogen (Change) recycled. – A változásért (For the change).
Éva: as you said “unity is a must.” This is where I have my greatest doubts.
And how well can this new party (with probably mostly unknown candidates) mobilise the voters? And what about fundraising?
Not to forget: Orbán is always good for a last-minute surprise.
But I do wish Hungary luck!
This is a very important development. It will work because most of them realize that there is no other way. I’m just listening to a group of commentators talking about it and although these people are not great supporters of MSZP but they consider this development very significant.
It is definitely worth a try! The only thing that worries me a bit is that it comes only a few days after the statement of Mr Bauer that one should not be too critical of cooperating also with some rather shady people. But that is a minor issue compared with the general effort of establishing better cooperation between the democratically minded opposition.
Kirsten, I think you misunderstood Tamás Bauer. He was urging DK supporters to vote for the “common candidate” even if under normal circumstances they wouldn’t vote for that person. What he was saying was that although that a DK supporters would prefer to vote for a DK candidates but for the sake of success they may have to vote for people they personally don’t like. And he purposely picked two extreme examples: András Schiffer and László Puch. Schiffer is a deadly enemy of Ferenc Gyurcsány while Puch is known to be the most corrupt MSZP politician who has been pushed to the background lately by the new party leadership. Neither people will be on the ballot, if you ask me. Puch will not be nominated and Schiffer’s party will most likely disappear by then.
Puch’s partner in crime was Veres János, who will be negotiating on economic matters!!!!!
How utterly depressing
This is your mania. I liked Veres. He was a good finance minister. Competent. More than one can say about the current one.
Éva, in order to be better able to judge the chances of this new – desperate – movement, I would be interested in a geographical breakdown of the people and possible candidates concerned. Budapest has less than 1.7 million inhabitants, except for Debrecen, all other four cities count clearly less than 200 000. So far, almost all political manifestations of the opposition were Budapest events. But the elections will be won in the other five cities and the countryside with its tiny villages. Do the non-Budapest regions have the manpower, the grasssroots organisations, the funding, the intellectual and political clout to make a difference?
On the heels of the new election “law”, and Jobbik’s outrageous, and unchecked, display of antisemitism in Parliament, this is, indeed, cause for, if not a full-on celebration, at least believing that the 2014 elections will not be an exercise in futility.
I’m also optimistic.. I think there is good will all around.
This is excellent news. I will admit I never thought MSzP would do this.
A united opposition, with MSzP’s party machine behind it is the one thing Orbán would really fear.
Now we’ll see just how desperate he is to retain power at any cost. It’s going to be an interesting 18 months, but boy is it going to be dirty!
It seems to be a promising sign of things to come.
Mszp had to do this or they would sink away the way LMP will. The momentum of Bajnai is palpable. By joining early, Mszp will have a giant say as to the makeup of the government leadership. Although this is, temporarily, a good sign, I’m not sure they can maintain the promise of acting together. As the election nears, the negotiations will become red hot.
I’m still pessimistic. Just wait and see how well this people cooperate when the talks go beyond agreeing on “the restoration of the rule of law in Hungary” and reach the dirty business of putting up a common list.
For example, DK is naturally in favor of cooperation as they have barely more than zero chance of making it to the parliament alone, if their real weight is represented, that will mean no more than 2-3 MP’s which is not a lot. Are they still going to be this enthusiastic when they are presented a scenario like this?
Also, even though I was cheering for his rivals, Schiffer makes a very good point saying that voter support arithmetic doesn’t work as naively as the author of this blog has been implicitly assuming it. As the polls indicate E14 draws its voters mostly from the undecided voters who are not MSZP supporters for a reason. There is a high chance that when they realize the only option they are presented is an MSZP or a DK candidate they just simply go back to not participating, draw a penis/Eric Cartmen/vote for LMP on the ballot. Great would be the surprise of the opposition parties if it turned out that their combined support is only 60-70 percent of the naive sum of individual supports.
In this latter case actually LMP might just harvest those votes and make it again. I think this is Schiffer’s strategy. I would have liked an E14-LMP dominated coalition with MSZP as an underdog and DK as the tail of an underdog, but I have to admit that his plan makes sense regardless what we morally think of it.
@Jano Nice theory, but LMP is going to fall apart and disappear… a lot more likely scenario, I think.
An: Maybe, but to use a Hungarian colloquialism (the origins of which I have no idea), we have seen crows on poles before..I’m pretty sure this is Schiffers plan at least. If the party avoids falling apart next year it might work. But as much as the chances are concerned I agree with you.
To describe former finance minister Veres as competent is really weird. He was one of the main actors in undermining Hungary’s fiscal integrity.
He is a typical representative of the communist state security which then turns into an oligarch of a banana republic.
Here is typical story on him (for those who speak Hungarian):
This is Véleményvezér’s take on it: http://velemenyvezer.blog.hu/2012/11/29/ugyes_mesterhazy_csobe_huzza_bajnait?utm_source=ketrec&utm_medium=link&utm_content=2012_11_29&utm_campaign=index
About Veres: it does not matter in politics wheather he was incompetent or not [I would say he had no policies of his own, he executed whatever Gyurcsány told him, similarly to Matolcsy re Orbán, only Gurcsány was not crazy, but Gy’s policies in economy were also hopelessly inadequate], corrupt or not. Politics is not a fair game. What matters, and what matters only is perception, image.
Veres unfortunately lost his reputation among non-MSZP-hardliners.
If MSZP will continue to use Veres, Kiss, Szekeres and other similar figures (who may or may not be well meaning people), they will lose. And the continued presence of these poeple will prevent even the most liberal right wingers to join the ‘unity front’ because (even if they wanted to join the front) they simply can’t afford to be associated with tired, worn-down (levitézlett), loser (and disliked) politicians.
Unfortunately, those MSZP people over 50 can be connected by the right very easily to the “communists”. It is very easy to hate them. In that Fidesz was successful, but if that is the case, one has to accept this as part of politics. It is also ridiculous that MSZP can’t get (attract) a better finance or economics person than Veres (whose education and experience would be a loughing stock in Western Europe). These pepole served their time in politics and they need to retire.
Why would MSZP use people who are so easy to hate? I guess, it is all about their whishy-washy internal politics, constant debates, and that they have no real leader who has an independnt power in the organisation (Mesterhazy is completely beholden to Szekeres, KIss, Baja Feri etc.).
THis is exactly the recipe for a disaster. But as some wise person once said: There is no medicine for stupidity (hülyeségre nincs orvosság).
Veres vs. Matolcsy = Ebola vs. Marburg Virus.
Option Method may help: discard most of your belief and myth.
See the latest Gero lines on Galamus:
Oh my gosh: it is not only Veres, but Szekeres, László Kovács, Feri Baja, and Szófia Havas.
Of these poeple only the hardliner, anti-capitalist Szófia Havas (at least she is tough, but is she normal or just a primadona?) who is a “new” name rising in the media in the last decade.
All the others are – without exception – represent, symbolize and embody in everbody under 50 the corrupt, hopeless, grey, bland mess that MSZP is. l would also raise the fact that SZekers, Baja and Kovács are genuine reform-communists. They have been there for decades (30-40 years in politics) and MSZP can still present these people… Sure many voters are older than 50, but still. If Kovács can stay there for so long (he is over 70), this does not bode very well for us re Orbán (he still has two decaeds at least).
If anything Fidesz is so happy now. They are relieved.
They kow they can buy (blackmail etc.) these people for song.
Do you seriously think Szekeres and Baja and Kovács will have the stamina and ability to replace the Fidesz regime?
Do you think they have even the understaning of the sophistication and depth and strength of the legal tricks and octopus that is the new regime? They may think they know, but really – and Fidesz knows this – they don’t have any idea.
Just like Germany stil has a bad consceince because of the holocaust, these MSZP people will always harbour a subconscious bad conscience for communism and therefore will not be able to exercise decisive power. They can deal, because that is only what they are used to (they had to deal even in 1975 within the party).
But that is most certainly not enough againt the FIdesz legal mafia.
So another beuatiful day for Fidesz.
Exactly. Schiffer’s theory is bunkers. The undecided were undecided because until now there was no viable formation. All anti-Fidesz votes would be lost if each of these parties entered the race alone. I’m sure that if there is unity that means strength the situation will change.
I am happy to see that if first time in Hungarian history, politicians would be able to put aside their small-minded thinking to benefit the country. THat is more that many of the readers can do on this blog. I really do not want to offend anyone here, as most of you honestly want the best, but just like Hungarians in general many of the readers do not willing to compromise. They see xy as the one who did this, zp done that. fk belonged to the… and the list goes on. I will note for them because…. Give it up. Let’s see the bright side, let’s see how it could work. If the undecided already is turning around, then there is a promise, and it is important to give encouragement to people to go out and register.
My biggest concern at this moment is the 2 scrutineers per poll rule. How in a small village where everyone knows each other and elections should be secret can you expect that two person will stand up and say I will vote against Fidesz. As soon as you become a scruinteener, you do not hiding under your sleeve, that is for sure. I find this totally against democracy, as it would force people to disclose who are they voting for. Also I can totally see, how Fidesz will embed his own people pretending to be opposition scrutineers, and abuse the system.
Some1: “I am happy to see that if first time in Hungarian history, politicians would be able to put aside their small-minded thinking to benefit the country. THat is more that many of the readers can do on this blog. I really do not want to offend anyone here, as most of you honestly want the best, but just like Hungarians in general many of the readers do not willing to compromise. They see xy as the one who did this, zp done that. fk belonged to the… and the list goes on. I will note for them because…. Give it up. Let’s see the bright side, let’s see how it could work. If the undecided already is turning around, then there is a promise, and it is important to g”give encouragement to people to go out and register.”
Exactly, I am disheartened every time I read the kind of remarks that came in the last few hours against X, Y, Z, and everybody else whom people label to be this or that and therefore…. That only helps Fidesz and Orbán are the real evil forces of Hungarian politics at present. Such declarations that were uttered here lately only throw discontent and therefore are harmful. Moreover, equating MSZP with Fidesz is highly unfair. Yes, there were corrupt officials but they were in every party. The corruption by now is official policy. As for the corruption cases, as I mentioned earlier, they are falling apart because they were prepared to be show trials. The latest is the case of the generals in the Ministry of Defense. Orbán and his followers are outright criminals. So, let’s keep this in mind when some of you are making propaganda against the anti-Fidesz forces.
“So, let’s keep this in mind when some of you are making propaganda against the anti-Fidesz forces.”
Excuse us?? We are not making “propaganda”, this is our opinion. We don’t like Fidesz any more than you do but we are more than entitled to our reservations. This constant wartime logic is what is tearing this country apart, in 2002-2010 Fidesz’s only goal was to kick out the MSZP-SZDSZ government and that overruled every rationale. Now your only focus is to boot Orbán and that overrules every rationale. I refuse to go along with this freedom-fighter naivity and I don’t believe in the omnipotence of “the cause” anymore. This is not a Hollywood movie where the credits roll after the happy election victory, we will have to put up with the Szekeres-Baja-Kiss-Havas-Szanyi-Veres etc. group coming back that takes a little more swallowing for the most of us than for you.
Just as an example to my earlier point. As it stands, if there are joint opposition district candidates in this race, my only option to support them will be to vote for Tibor Szanyi. In that case, consider my vote lost. Don’t worry too much though, he’ll win that district without me anyway.
About Veres. I hope you know that you just called somebody competent who held a joint press conference with his PM claiming with a serious face that the financial crisis will not reach the country two weeks before almost having to declare state bankruptcy. I leave it up to you if he’s a big liar or an abysmal economist.
Sorry, the tone I used is a little harder than intended. I believe you want the best too, we just really don’t see eye to eye.
Jano: ” Now your only focus is to boot Orbán and that overrules every rationale”
Correct!!!! I refuse to equate the two sides and at the moment my only focus is on getting rid of Orbán. And all those who do equate the two sides are working against the interests of the country because that kind of attitude inevitably leads to Fidesz victory in 2014. Sorry, this is my opinion and I will stick with it because I’m convinced that I’m right. By the way, I’m not alone.
Jano, there is no wartime logic here only sheer pragmatism. Use it or loose it.
On Planet Hungary we see politics like the season of bitching every 4 years. We don’t seem to see that the bulk of the work comes between elections. At this moment we have to remove this government because there is no way to talk to them. They are steadily moving the country toward a dictatorship.
This is not the time for criticism. Let’s grab the last straw, bring those Soci muppets back and THEN let’s kick their asses if they they are not willing to do things our way. But this will require us to be active constantly.
I share your reservations but unless you have a better idea for a group that is capable of scooping up enough votes let’s shut up and use what we got.
By the way IMHO rejecting the Socialists this vehemently is actually the remnants of the anti-Socialist histeria that was whipped by Orban and Co.
A couple of doses of Hungarian Reality….
One problem with logical discourse on Hungarian politics is the fact that immoral, illegal, activity has proven efficacious and acceptable. No holds are barred in the Hungary of today. That’s one kernel of truth.
The other is: a criminal mentality will go to greater lengths, much greater lengths (even to ‘death’, one might say) than a non-criminal mentality in fighting to achieve its ends. There is an inequality of fortitude and vehemence…
And it worked beautifully. Just as falsification of history about October 2006 worked. People no longer remember what they saw on that day on television.
Breki here. I am hearing this negotiation with Bajnai was case of very bad communication, Veres et al, will not play any siginifcant role in the campaign and any potential government should they win.
They are there because they want to work for the party and have experience, but – according to my source – they will not be the determing force as they were 15 years ago (and they know it).
Let’s hope for that. Without a new generation and new – trustworthy – faces, there is no possibility of any regime change.
Breki, I can assure you that the old leadership will not play a prominent role. If you look at the picture I attached to yesterday’s post, you can see that the “board” (elnökség) is not exactly from the old guard.
They are not stupid. In fact, Mesterházy handled that whole thing exceedingly well.
Eva:”Sorry, this is my opinion and I will stick with it because I’m convinced that I’m right.”
And I respect that, but don’t say that we are just spreading propaganda when we express are opinion because that’s demeaning. This blog is a place for intellectual discussion where we are all entitled to express our reservations regardless of where our vote goes eventually. And as such there is place for criticism. If there is not then this blog is nothing else than opposition propaganda which can’t be taken seriously since we then admittedly won’t talk about anything that reflects negatively of the opposition and our only goal here will admittedly be to talk as much dirt on Fidesz as possible. I’m not signing up for that as it’s my deepest conviction that it doesn’t serve the long term interest of the country either. I despised the republicans in the US when they said that their only goal was “to make president Obama be a one term president” and I’m going to stay consistent to myself. So I have to ask you. Is this what you want to turn this blog into?
“And all those who do equate the two sides are working against the interests of the country”
I’ve already heard it from Fidesz-Jobbik that I wasn’t a good Hungarian because I was critical of them, now I hear it implied from you. Can you accept even the remote possibility that even you might not be right every now and then and that people disagreeing with you are not necessarily stupid or brainwahsed? Just you know, chances…
@ Jano. A gentleman is a man of gentle manners. Éva Balogh earned great merits maintaining this blog. To call her naive is a little conceited – and certainly not justified.
Minusio: “Éva Balogh earned great merits maintaining this blog.” I agree with that and respect her for that. I honestly can’t imagine how much work it might be, even the writing takes a tremendous amount of time (I know that from personal experience), let alone the research that needs to be put into this to keep up the quality.
But that doesn’t make her an oracle and on this issue I do think that her view is naive. I don’t agree with her on a lot of issues and she constantly keeps implying that I’m brainwashed by Fidesz, I don’t remember what I saw on television and that I’m spreading anti-opposition propaganda because anybody with a sane mind would agree with her. I don’t think this is a democratic attitude and it defeats the purpose why I like this blog. This is one of the few that is not flooded by party-trolls (a nod for Eva again for doing a good job keeping them away) and allows meaningful democratic discussion. But that can only happen if we respect each others intellectuality and if I want to vote for the opposition with nausea I have every right to do so in a democracy. I understand what the choice is here but that doesn’t mean I have to be cheerful about doing what needs to be done.
I confess to not reading all the blogs. Lately, we’ve been travelling and I’ve read even less, so I’m not up on Eva’s answers to your arguments. I CAN say that I like many of your efforts, Jano. (Again, I can say I haven’t read all of your entries and certainly not your pro-Fidesz stuff–I probably would’ve taken issue with those, without calling you a numbskull.)
As for Eva, I agree with much that she has to say though I do disagree from time to time, and say so. I’ve yet to see her characterize someone’s effort as you say she has yours….
Can you send me the topic(s) this has happened on?
@ Jano. It is your aggressive tone that I find totally unnecessary and not a sign of “intellectuality”. Actually, I don’t know any real intellectual who suggests that he is one. Can’t you do without this pompous attitude?
Petőfi: It will be pretty hard to find anything pro-Fidesz from me these days, they pretty quickly destroyed every hope I had in them at 2010. I still believe that the socialist had to go but Orbán certainly shouldn’t have come. One more reason I would hate to see an opposition victory now that falls apart in a few years just as it happened in Italy or in Slovakia where Berlusconi and Fico walked back to office more powerful than ever. I think that happens inevitable if we just suppress our differences and criticisms towards with whom we might have to ally. Keep in mind that we are the so called democratic side, there is no point in battling Fidesz supporters if we turn into them and start following their logic and conversational patterns.
On Eva. In this post some of us expressed criticism towards MSZP and we were told not to spread anti-opposition propaganda. A few posts ago, we had a disagreement on 2006 where we both established that we were watching the TV all night, so the comment on how “Fidesz propaganda made people forgot what they saw on TV that night” has a high chance of being directed at me. Also it has been said that violent objection to MSZP is a result of Fidesz brainwash (or en equivalent word might have been used). Well, I violently object to MSZP so that’s an implication that the only reason for that must be that Fidesz got to my brain and made the necessary adjustments.
But I want to emphasize again that I respect Eva’s opinion and since there is no other reason why anyone would invest this much time and effort than caring about a country, I have no doubts that she means the best for Hungary too.
Minusio: I said WE on this blog were mostly intellectuals, under which I mean being educated and knowledgeable, caring to think about what’s going on in the world. If you compare the quality of the discussions on this blog with what’s going on on other websites, you’ll certainly notice what the difference is.
About aggression, I certainly have no idea what you are talking about unless you think disagreeing is a form of aggression. I’ve read a lot more aggressive/sarcastic language in others comments on this blog than what I used in mine this time, and I don’t see anything wrong with heated debates.
I think you are too critical. If you wish to arrive at some moment at more cooperative behaviour than in the past 15 years, it is highly desirable that the basis for cooperation is clarified. Which for me is the essence of the debate that I read here today. So I find it quite useful (no joke).
As for the point that is debated, I do believe that the best choice of politicians for the “fourth republic” would be people who have not been in decisive positions before (and are in addition quite gifted in political affairs). So I think I understand what Jano says. BUT: as Mutt writes, these have to exist, be motivated and work towards change. Because they do not abound, some rather difficult “compromises” will be needed. But to keep MSzP in check, I would also prefer a strong centrist group to lead the opposition. Which in turn needs support in the society, and I learned already that parties at the centre have not really been successful among the Hungarian voters… which brings one back to “how to…” – without MSzP…?.
The reason why I’m rather sceptical of the MSZP and Gyurcsány is not because I’ve fallen for Fidesz propaganda, it is because I’ve been an eye-witness. One of Eva’s problems when it comes to assessing the probity of Hungarian political figures, is that most of the time, she lives and works in America. I worked in a Hungarian government institution for many years and through that, built up a network of contacts which, when combined with the remarkable indiscretion that tends to accompany Hungarian crooked dealings, means that I’ve seen stuff that Eva doesn’t come across reading Galamus. For example, I know for a fact that Gyurcsány and Orbán were personally involved in splitting a bribe with a potential American investor post-Öszöd, that is not internet mischief, it is because a colleague of mine was there! I’ve got MSZP stories coming out of my ears. So if I express my gloom that Veres, Szekeres, Kiss, are still pulling strings, it is because I know often at first hand what these guys were really up to when in government.
So to be told that I’m being brainwashed is a little galling.
To Kingfisher. In this case for a dose of reality I suggest that you go back to Hungary and work a government institution now. You then will have perhaps a better understanding of today’s reality.
Kingfisher, but you are not Hungarian, are you? I do not want to say that coming from this region and knowing for the “corruption problem” and the difficulty to stop it, means that one is more open towards it. (Did not Cheshire cat wrote recently that she was confronted by it on a very low level, and yet it was difficult to explain why she wanted not to execute the wish of her boss?) No, but coming from this region may give you a better idea of how entrenched this behaviour is and, because this is so pervasive, it is extremely difficult to stop it IN PARTICULAR on the highest level. If you have seen these cases in a government institution, what is your impression that – although this is widely known – it is impossible to prevent that? I think an answer to this question might be useful in order to understand why this behaviour is systematic. You can point to the people involved, but that will not change anything. You suggest it is specific people, while I presume people are or stay in certain positions because they have managed to oust those who were too “honest” (but at the same time clever, “honest simpletons” are always welcome). Those people have their buddies in the relevant places, so nothing will happen. You need to describe the system and explain to the broad public what it has to do to change this.
@ Kirsten. I think it is possible to reduce corruption. Just look at the surprising things that are happening in Romania. And even in a corrupt environment there are always people who are not corrupt (at least I’d like to think so). In Hungary, Simor (Hungarian National Bank) seems to be an honest man. And I haven’t heard any bad rumors about Bajnai, either.
Minusio, I know that there are also people who are not corrupt. But these people are unable to prevent those who are from doing so. That makes it attractive (and pervasive). You can try to replace those people, and I am sure you can find examples for that in all countries that “suffer from corruption” – but to get rid of it requires that it becomes systematically difficult and costly. That is my point. Kingfisher keeps repeating what he saw, and I do not doubt what he saw, but he should better explain why this was so “easy”.
corruption is “so easy” because it follows the rotten apple syndrome–way back when a few
rotten apples infected the barrel. Now, if you’re not corrupt, or, more likely, if you do not go along with corruption….then you get eliminated, or marginalized or, as Gyurcsany found out,
get a knife in the back.
The simple question is this: what promise of reform can Bajnai & group make to the populace? Can ministers be signed to a probity clause?
Make an attempt to reign in the unchecked corruption of elected members of government and I’ll guarantee that that party will get elected by members of the whole political spectrum
Some elements of a Probity Clause:
1) Government ministers are responsible for deputies working beneath them.
2) Government ministers are financially liable in instances of corruption. Fines should
be on the level of 20 million HUF and up with family homes and accounts NOT EXEMPT.
Let’s put the wives in charge of riding shotgun over the behaviour of their spouses….
Petőfi: It’s easy to cheat when this is the general norm. Everybody cheats one way or another in Hungary. My friend who works there recently hung out with a group for the first time who he knew through a friend. It turned out that these guys did some straight to the pocket computer programming jobs for a living. When they found out that my friend was properly employed they asked in amazement if my friend payed taxes too. When the answer was yes, they burst out in laughter and started calling my friend “the taxpayer”. Needless to say he left shortly after… So what do you expect at the government level?
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