Democratikus Koalíció’s party program
Népszabadság got hold of the plans of the Ferenc Gyurcsány-led Demokratikus Koalíció for their party program. The program is not in its final form. First it will be discussed by the party members and “friends” of DK at several regional meetings. On January 26 DK will hold its congress and then the delegates can vote on the final version.
So, let’s see how DK envisages a post-Orbán Hungary. According to the program, Hungary’s situation is grave. The present government created “subjects” (alattvalók) from citizens, and it serves only the interests of the Christian-conservative middle class. DK wants a western type of country and wants to create “a new European world.” “The Demokratikus Koalíció’s program doesn’t promise immediate improvements or that the citizens’ lives will be a great deal better after 2014. We are aware that the heritage of Orbán will require years of pain. It will be necessary to take steps that might affect certain groups in the electorate, certain sectors, and certain areas of the country. We want to talk about these possible developments frankly,” says Ferenc Gyurcsány, whose signature is affixed to the document.
The rule of law and the constitution
DK is of the opinion that Fidesz cannot be part of the restoration of constitutional order because this party was responsible for its destruction. On the other hand, Fidesz, by then in opposition, must take part in the creation of a new constitution. The new constitution must be approved by a referendum.
After the victorious elections DK would immediately suspend the present constitution and all the newly adopted cardinal laws. In addition, the party would like to restore the original competence of the Constitutional Court and would abolish some of the name changes in the judiciary. For example, the Kúria would again be called the Supreme Court. They would rescind the Proclamation of National Cooperation and change the official name of the country from Magyarország (Hungary) back to the Republic of Hungary (Magyar Köztársaság), the name adopted in 1990.
DK would stick with a smaller parliament (199 members) but would make it more proportional. DK would prohibit members of parliament from holding any other job, whether political or professional.
“The prosecutor’s office, despite its structural independence, has been under the influence of party politics in the last decade. Therefore it is necessary to place it under the jurisdiction of the government.” In addition, DK would abolish the position of “supreme prosecutor.” At present the supreme prosecutor is Péter Polt. DK suggests the creation within the prosecutor’s office of a separate unit that would deal exclusively with political corruption and other political crimes.
Church and state
DK wants to strictly enforce the separation of church and state. They would like to renegotiate the agreement with the Vatican signed by Gyula Horn in 1997. DK would like to put an end to church leaders participating in state functions. They are against priests or ministers blessing or consecrating buildings or statues. State subsidies to the churches should be reduced to the minimum because otherwise the state can have an undue influence over the churches. On the other hand, DK would increase the size of offerings by the citizens to 2% from 1% of their income taxes. “Beyond this and the compensation for real estate all financial assistance should be stopped to activities that are connected to the religious functions of the churches.”
DK would put an end to the nationalization frenzy of the Orbán government; it would restore the Budgetary Council and would begin negotiations to join ERM2 (Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM II), which is considered to be the first step toward entering the eurozone.
It would end the practice of extra levies on certain sectors of the economy. It would allow employers and employees to work out the minimum wage instead of the state imposing its will on them.
They want to introduce a stable and reasonable tax system. They would spend more money on research and development. They would increase the length of unemployment benefits which the Orbán government lowered to three months. DK suggests 6-9-months as desirable. The generous tax cuts for people with large incomes and a minimum of three children would be abolished. DK would limit cash transactions over a certain amount; larger bills would be paid only by debit or credit cards.
DK is not in favor of the inclusion of religious studies or ethics as separate subjects in schools. Teaching religion (hittan) should be something the churches themselves undertake. The training of teachers, including kindergarten teachers, should be on the master’s level. They would raise teachers’ salaries and restore the age of compulsory education back to eighteen. (The Orbán government lowered the age of compulsory education to sixteen.) DK believes in local government supervision of the schools. Parochial schools would receive state subsidies only if they are involved in educating the disadvantaged.
As for higher education, DK supports the complete switch-over to the Bologna system. They would introduce reasonable tuition fees from the second year on. Tuition-free places would be available for the financially needy.
The system should be based on solidarity and individual responsibility. Health insurance would be compulsory. Every visit should be accompanied by an invoice. They would introduce private initiative in the healthcare system, including maintaining walk-in clinics. “We must reintroduce the possibility of private concerns running hospitals again.”
Now here is a word that is almost impossible to translate. It means policy concerning Hungarians living in the neighboring countries. According to DK, “the right connected citizenship to the common historical nation; it created a present active right from a spiritual historical right without setting up obligations for the present.” Therefore, DK would change the law concerning acquiring citizenship but wouldn’t take it away from those who have already received it.
There are separate chapters on the Roma minority and on culture. Unfortunately, Népszabadság didn’t seem to find them important enough to summarize.