Agreement is reached between MSZP and Együtt 2014

Last night after I saw Attila Mesterházy announcing the decision of the party leadership to continue negotiations with Gordon Bajnai, I thought that this time an agreement might finally be reached. I assumed that Mesterházy was stepping back from his threat on Friday to consider the earlier agreement between the two parties on the division of individual electoral districts null and void and in its place to hold individual primaries to decide which party’s candidate would run in each individual district.

Despite all the acrimony and drama that occurred during the negotiations, an agreement came unexpectedly swiftly. I for one like the solution. I consider it the most democratic way of deciding who potentially will be Hungary’s future prime minister.

So, let me outline briefly what the deal is. In the Hungarian system each voter can cast two ballots. One for the candidate in his electoral district and one for the party he prefers. In the past someone who voted for the SZDSZ candidate most likely also voted for SZDSZ’s party list. At least in the first round of the election. In the second round his decision could become complicated. Let’s assume that the SZDSZ candidate lost to the candidates of MSZP and Fidesz and therefore in the second round the voter had to decide whether to cast a ballot for MSZP or Fidesz. In this case, our SZDSZ voter most likely would have opted for MSZP’s candidate.

This time there will be no second round and a simple majority will decide the winner of the race. Under these circumstances, the opposition parties cannot afford to run alone. They must pool resources and agree on a common candidate against the Fidesz candidate running in the district. Otherwise they will have no chance. Everybody knew that from day one. The only argument up until now was what to do with the party list or lists. Should the opposition join forces here as well and create a common party list or not? The greatest proponent of a common party list was Ferenc Gyurcsány. It would have forced the parties to come up with a joint candidate for the premiership.

Gordon Bajnai and Attila Mesterházy at today's press conference Source: Népszava

Gordon Bajnai and Attila Mesterházy at today’s press conference
Source: Népszava

The new solution is a compromise that may have its benefits. There will be one single opposition candidate in each of the 106 districts, but Együtt 2014-PM and MSZP will each have its own party list. Topping the E-14 party list will be Gordon Bajnai; Attila Mesterházy will have the same spot on the MSZP list. And then the voters will decide. Assuming that the opposition prevails over Fidesz, if E-14 gets more votes from its party list, the prime minister most likely will be Gordon Bajnai. If MSZP has a stronger showing it will be Attila Mesterházy. I think this is a fair deal.

The real question is whether or not Ferenc Gyurcsány is right in suggesting that with a common party list the opposition could gather more votes than it could with two or more party lists. Those who today hail the agreement argue that this arrangement might in fact be advantageous to the opposition forces. After all, they argue, there are some E-14 supporters who would never vote for a party list headed by Attila Mesterházy and, vice versa, some MSZP supporters would refuse to vote for a list headed by a non-socialist candidate. These people, therefore, might decide not to vote at all. But with this compromise these people can have it both ways. They can vote for the common candidate and can also cast their vote for their favorite party. We don’t know, and never will know with certainty, which system would bring out the most opposition voters, but I tend to think that this is the better solution.

The quick agreement between Bajnai and Mesterházy most likely surprised Fidesz and the right-wing media. Magyar Nemzet made the mistake of publishing an article only a couple of minutes before the joint press conference announcing the agreement. In this article the author outlined the possibility of MSZP making a deal with Ferenc Gyurcsány’s Demokratikus Koalíció and the liberals (Gábor Fodor, Gábor Kuncze) against Bajnai. In the same article he reminded the socialists of all the past “lies of Bajnai” and warned the socialists not to believe him.

Naturally the government parties are not at all happy with the agreement, but for the time being the Fidesz spokespersons could muster only a condemnation of the two party leaders who “are preoccupied with their personal ambitions.” A rather peculiar reaction to an arrangement according to which both men agreed to step back and let the voters decide their fate. But who said that Gabriella Selmeczi and her colleagues on Lendvay Street are the sharpest knives in the drawer? They are capable only of repeating phrases given to them, and it seems that the top party leadership didn’t come up with the latest Fidesz response to such a speedy and unexpected outcome of the negotiations.

Ferenc Gyurcsány seems to be the only major opposition player at the moment who is unhappy with the result. He claims that the agreement signals the failure of the quest for unity. The announcement by Bajnai and Mesterházy is no more than a fig leaf that covers this failure. I was somewhat surprised by Gyurcsány’s reaction. But from the media I gather that Gyurcsány is offended by Bajnai’s decision not to work with DK and Gyurcsány. While Mesterházy is ready to negotiate with everybody, I gather that E-14 has no intention of giving up any of its 35 districts to a liberal or DK candidate.

I understand Gyurcsány’s anger, but I would suggest that instead of making public declarations he should negotiate first with Mesterházy and then with Bajnai, perhaps with the backing of MSZP. For the time being he should support the best E-14 and MSZP managed to achieve. It is not as bad a deal as Gyurcsány thinks.

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44 comments

  1. Surprising! I agree, it is a fair deal. Now the question is how much will they be at each other’s throat , hopefully they are going to be able to put up a mostly positive campaign. Együtt 2014’s style is more suitable for a program based discussion, I’m more concerned about MSZP’s populism.

    What I am still missing is that it is not enough that the party with the most list votes gives the prime minister. That party should be the one whose ideas should dominate the future government program and this should be clearly communicated. Otherwise imagine when during the campaign they make conflicting promises all around the place and Fidesz just has to point a finger on the fact how little credibility any claim has due to the fact that it will still have to percolate through some zero transparency power wrestle.

  2. The Fidesz response is indeed pretty lame. Expect them to come up with something more forceful and vicious when Habony Árpád or whoever masterminds their PR comes back from holiday and has a think about it.

    The more important question is whether Fidesz will change the election laws so as to negate any advantages that the Socialists and Together gain from their election agreement. You know they’d love to.

  3. ‘The forced nationalization of the credit unions will be followed by re-privatization to Fidesz friends and family, so it is more immoral than the nationalization of the banks by the Communists in 1947’ – says the secretary of the Union of Hungarian Entrepreneurs and Employers, who was usually pretty friendly to Orban in the past.

    “A jelenlegi kisajátítás erkölcstelenebb, mint az 1947-es, mivel 66 éve a magántulajdonban lévő bankokat az akkori társadalmi célok megvalósítása érdekében vonta magához a központi hatalom. A mostani erőszakos államosítás viszont hamarosan egy profitra éhes magántőkés társaság zsebét fogja megtömni az elkonfiskált takarékszövetkezeti vagyonnal, és szó nincs az ügylet társadalmi céljáról, hasznosságáról.”

    http://nol.hu/velemeny/david_ferenc__a_takarekszovetkezetek_trianonja

  4. This marriage is not built to last. Fidesz will be able to exploit the very obvious fissures to its benefit.
    I stand by my earlier prognostication: Jobbik 6 seats, Egyutt-PM-MSZP-DK-MSZDP 10 seats, Fidesz-MSZMP 90 seats.

  5. This is a natural and fair deal.

    I don’t see why is it problematic.In fact I am not sure if there could be any better deal.

    Sure, the big question of who the prime minister candidate will be was not decided explicitly (implicitly it was decided since it is unlikely that E-14 can gather more votes than MSZP), but otherwise this is a good deal under the current election system. The media focus on the person of the prime minister is completely misleading, it’s the political equivalent of the celebrity tabloid journalism. It is not the most important issue in politics, especially at this stage and especially in the current election system.

    It also means something: granted, there has been ugly and loughable negotiations, personal give and take, leaking and backstabbing, but both parties actually want to depose Orbán and can actually agree on a rather fair deal — despite all the punditry.

    (The latest from József Makai at Origo, JM was taken on by the current Fidesz leaning editor in chief or Origo from Magyar Hirlap. Sure, long time ago Makai was at Magyar Narancs, but he want to Magyar Hirlap and stayed on at even after it was taken over by Széles and became a extreme right wing fringe daily, he is a reliable anti-communist).

    This is not a good news for Fidesz. (I even think at Fidesz some are so taken by surprise that some will even contemplate the possibility that all the media about the differences and backstabbing was just for show, that MSZP/Együtt are so smart that this is what they intended all along. It was genuine, but the most paranoid at Fidesz will not be so sure. Maybe, just maybe, Együtt and MSZP are not that stupid.)

    Seal Driver:

    I think you are way too pessimistic. Fidesz will almost certainly kill any new government in short order, but it will leave them to suffer for a year or two, but the election is a much closer call than most people think. I think once Együtt and MSZP become

    But of course, it is not sure that the best outcome for the current opposition would mean a very small majority; perhaps a high percentage minority position (so that Fidesz and Jobbik together would have less than 2/3s) would be much better in the longer term.

  6. About 15% of the total corporate tax is spent on five types of sport.

    The numbers are in billions of HUF.

    Revenue from corporate tax was 342 in 2012.
    Corporate tax redirected to sport was 59.6 in the 2012-2013 sport fiscal year.

    [The government probably matched this amount – this is my estimate.
    Money taken from higher education was about the same amount,
    state support was reduced from 180 in 2010 to 120 in 2012.

    So the money spent on a few hundred sports(wo)men, employees, owners and a few thousand soccer fans was about the same as the support on the entire higher education,
    318 thousand students, 22 thousand faculty and x thousand staff (data from 2010) !]

    Supported sports:

    Soccer 32.0
    Handball 11.0
    Water polo 7.2
    Basketball 5.7
    Ice Hockey 3.7

    http://www.vg.hu/gazdasag/gazdasagpolitika/hatvanmilliardnyi-ado-a-sportnak-32-milliardot-kapott-a-foci-410786

  7. At the end of the article, additional taxpayer’s money spent on sports is cited:

    So
    59.6 redirected from corporate tax to the five types of sport above
    35.6 allocated in the state budget
    12.5 given to 16 selected types of sport [the plan is to spend 135 billion in 7 or 8 years]
    8.7 extraordinary government gift a few weeks ago.

    Compare this largesse with the following:

    The best economics university (Corvinus, former Marx) has lost 43.3 % of its support
    the best university of technology (Muszaki) 30.1%,
    the best university in science (ELTE or Eotvos) has lost 40.6% in the last five years.

    Orban is destroying this country.

  8. To summarize, the Orban government is spending

    123.3 billion HUF on the entire higher education in 2013, while gives
    116.4 billion to sport.

  9. Tappanch:

    right, I guess then you should vote Orbán out.

    But the people have unfortunately spoken and they like Orbán better.

    This means in practice that the majority of Hungarian voters prefer sports over higher education. In fact, voters will reward Orbán for his policies. It’s a fair competition: if Mesterházy thinks he wanted to kill Hungarian sports and save on that then he should say so, by the way, let people decide in 2014.

    The smothering of the sport scene is officially over. Gyurcsány-Bajnai were hell-bent on killing the sport clubs because sports people tend to be right wingers and supporters of Fidesz (good question, why).

    That era is over for good.

    Those who bring fame to our nation, will have ample opportunity to excel. And anyway, we need workers, not some smartass intellectuals.

  10. @Kummincs

    This is exactly what the Nazis thought about the fate of the conquered Slavic peoples.

    All the educated people were exterminated, the half that was not to be exterminated by the “Kleine Planung” should be used as workers by the “Grosse Planung”, to be implemented gradually over a period of 20 years.

    They were to be schooled only to the degree that they were able to execute the orders of their German superiors.

    So the new casting is:

    Fideszniks = Nazi Germans
    Hungarians= conquered Slav(e)s

    Wow, Kummincs, you revealed the core of the Fidesz thinking!

  11. Franz Kummincs :
    And anyway, we need workers, not some smartass intellectuals.

    Correction, we need them both. Any regime that juxtaposes those two are stupid and are bound to fail. For a while the populism and demagoguery works with some (and not only amongst the workers!!), but ultimately most nations work out for themselves whose ideology is constructive and whose is destructive. In the meantime, those of us who have to suffer the consequences by living here have to be brave and patient. I think all the downturned mouthed, miserable pessimists (some of whom do appear now and again on this blog) are doing a disservice to Hungary. If you understand what is going on, how can you be so arrogant as to imply (and sometimes clearly state) that the vast majority of Hungary is so thick that they will never work it out for themselves? Shame on you!

  12. JGrant and tappanch, sorry guys, you are right, I was kidding. But.

    But there are two separate issues. One is the taming of the higher education by brutal cuts (note that the top university administrators accepted everything without a peep) which is bad indeed, terrible policy. But Orbán did it because he could. No leftist government would have dared it, as they are inherently too weak and cannot control lobbies. Orbán gave orders and top university administrators cheered. That is how you do it, if you must. But Orban had to do it as he had to conquer each and every potential power constituency, that is his nature. Mission accomplished. By virtue of their (ie. administrators’) acceptance of the cuts without resistance their importance was devalued immediately. But it has nothing to do with sports.

    I think you misunderstand sport completely and fundamentally.

    One is a political issue. Top sportsmen (ie. sport heroes, celebrities) love and stand openly by Fidesz and the right wing and thus right wing politics will stand by these people. The question is why sportspeople are Fidesz-oriented: in short because they are by nature disciplined people, who accept unquestioningly the authority of the trainer and in addition are often representatives of Hungary in international competitions. In team sports team work and sacrifice for the sake of the team as opposed to individual freedom are very important.

    If you add these up, it’s only natural that they tend towards Fidesz — hence it is logical that Fidesz wants to help these guys. (Too bad the left is incapable of discipline, and is without vision and has no credible ideas about patriotism).

    More importantly though, sports is a community activity. Do you have any idea what happens in Mezőkövesd, Debrecen, Szombathely, Veszprém and other provincial towns (all with new stadiums or announced projects)? I can tell you: nothing at all. Shops close at 5 and you go home to do nozing. The only thing that can potentially build an attachment to the town is a sport club. It gives fodder to talk about (common topic equals community) every day and perhaps you can be proud to be a szombathelyi once in your life.

    These stadium projects and subsidies for the clubs are great projects for Fidesz-related (construction) companies, monies flow to party coffers and oj personal accounts, that is crystal clear. But they also aim to build community. There is just no way to build a community in Szombathely, there is nothing there.

    And Fidesz knows naturally that community is key to the survival of the town/region/nation and, last but not least, to its very own political future. In fact Fidesz is a grand master of community organisation and building and maintaining power networks. Until the left cannot match that and does not have ideas about the term “community” it will fail. Community, however much it is abused, is still a notion that features in Fidesz policies in the background very often — compare it to ‘individual freedom’ and ‘respect for dignity’ and the like and then you get why liberals and leftist cannot get community these days naturally. Ideologically the left has nothing to say when ‘community’ comes up.

    Of course Fidesz spends way too much on sport and steals untold amounts. But sport is also a kind of provincial maintenance policy, a kind of rural policy, it’s not just show or circus, though it is both of course.

    (Higher education is bad policy indeed but apples and oranges cannot be compared.)

  13. Franz Kummincs :Those who bring fame to our nation, will have ample opportunity to excel. And anyway, we need workers, not some smartass intellectuals.

    See also: Pol Pot.

    Let’s see if Fidesz also start banning radio stations (oh, they’ve already tried!), forbidding knowledge of foreign languages (not much point here, since so few Hungarians know one), or shooting people who wear glasses.

  14. Franz Kömény :
    I think you misunderstand sport completely and fundamentally.

    I think you’re confusing sport and professional football, whose only rule is profit.

    Pro Football doesn’t mind at all endorsing some ‘liberal values’ if it assumes it’s good for show business. Of course the hooligans will huff and puff, but for instance you’ll probably see more and more non-‘White’ players in the NB1 in the years to come. Another example:
    http://www.politics.hu/20130719/christian-dems-deeply-dismayed-by-football-family-discounts-for-gay-couples/

    Football used indeed to be a good tool for conservative social control… until real money started pouring in. The more money it handles, the more of a double-edged sword it becomes for any government.

  15. @ Franz Kumincs:

    “And anyway, we need workers, not some smartass intellectuals.”

    One must always ‘interpret’ Hungarians, even when using a foreign language:
    Hungary doesn’t need workers, it needs slaves; and of course, smart ass intellectuals are quite useless anywhere.

    On the other hand, people who ‘think’ and can weigh policy and have intelligent, fact-based, opinions are another matter. Never too many of them.
    Problem is, independence and good thinking are an off-shoot of an open society and there is anything but that developing now.

    Hungarians want nostalgia; the gratuities from their masters; and, most of all,
    an alchohol-soaked mustachio.

  16. Franz Kömény :
    JGrant and tappanch, sorry guys, you are right, I was kidding. But.
    But there are two separate issues. One is the taming of the higher education by brutal cuts (note that the top university administrators accepted everything without a peep) which is bad indeed, terrible policy. But Orbán did it because he could. No leftist government would have dared it, as they are inherently too weak and cannot control lobbies. Orbán gave orders and top university administrators cheered. That is how you do it, if you must. But Orban had to do it as he had to conquer each and every potential power constituency, that is his nature. Mission accomplished. By virtue of their (ie. administrators’) acceptance of the cuts without resistance their importance was devalued immediately. But it has nothing to do with sports.
    I think you misunderstand sport completely and fundamentally.
    One is a political issue. Top sportsmen (ie. sport heroes, celebrities) love and stand openly by Fidesz and the right wing and thus right wing politics will stand by these people. The question is why sportspeople are Fidesz-oriented: in short because they are by nature disciplined people, who accept unquestioningly the authority of the trainer and in addition are often representatives of Hungary in international competitions. In team sports team work and sacrifice for the sake of the team as opposed to individual freedom are very important.
    If you add these up, it’s only natural that they tend towards Fidesz — hence it is logical that Fidesz wants to help these guys. (Too bad the left is incapable of discipline, and is without vision and has no credible ideas about patriotism).
    More importantly though, sports is a community activity. Do you have any idea what happens in Mezőkövesd, Debrecen, Szombathely, Veszprém and other provincial towns (all with new stadiums or announced projects)? I can tell you: nothing at all. Shops close at 5 and you go home to do nozing. The only thing that can potentially build an attachment to the town is a sport club. It gives fodder to talk about (common topic equals community) every day and perhaps you can be proud to be a szombathelyi once in your life.
    These stadium projects and subsidies for the clubs are great projects for Fidesz-related (construction) companies, monies flow to party coffers and oj personal accounts, that is crystal clear. But they also aim to build community. There is just no way to build a community in Szombathely, there is nothing there.
    And Fidesz knows naturally that community is key to the survival of the town/region/nation and, last but not least, to its very own political future. In fact Fidesz is a grand master of community organisation and building and maintaining power networks. Until the left cannot match that and does not have ideas about the term “community” it will fail. Community, however much it is abused, is still a notion that features in Fidesz policies in the background very often — compare it to ‘individual freedom’ and ‘respect for dignity’ and the like and then you get why liberals and leftist cannot get community these days naturally. Ideologically the left has nothing to say when ‘community’ comes up.
    Of course Fidesz spends way too much on sport and steals untold amounts. But sport is also a kind of provincial maintenance policy, a kind of rural policy, it’s not just show or circus, though it is both of course.
    (Higher education is bad policy indeed but apples and oranges cannot be compared.)

    I think I understand your points here, and they are good ones, but it seems to me sort of funny to say that liberals don’t understand community, and that your viewpoint may be coming from a very right-wing direction. Community is the basis of socialism and modern leftism, in the sense that the government is supposed to act as the supporter of the less-fortunate, and to boost social cohesion, at the expense of the highly individualistic capitalists. Sure, Fidesz has taken many, many pages from the communist manifesto, but the main thrust of their ideology, as little of it as there is, comes from nationalism. That is the basis of the support of sports, and there are a lot of Hungarians who are respond to this, but many Hungarians, not just intellectuals and university graduates (who certainly are not all intellectuals), are much, much prouder of Hungary’s well-earned reputation for knowledge and literature. Besides, on the sports front, the only real successes for Hungary have come in the swimming pool and from Puskas, whereas there are numerous examples of “smart-ass intellectuals” who have brought positive attention to Hungary, with Nobel Prizes, inventions, and famous books and poems. Orbán’s approach to higher education will only shift the money to the areas where the right-wing is stronger, not to where Hungarians will be prouder of their nation. Besides, putting more money into these clubs will not necessarily translate to success on the international stage, and on the domestic scene, when one team wins, one must, by definition, lose.

    Also, have you lived in these places you deride as cities where “nothing” happens after 5pm? There is plenty going on there, though it may not be to your taste. Perhaps you are thinking of villages.

  17. Googly: I have actually lived in a pretty big and developed provincial town (it already has a stadium so it does not feature in the news that much) for quite long, although last time more than 10 years ago. But given demographic trends (these days there are significantly less younger people who more often go out) it probably had a bigger night life then. Still, those days evening were very calm, which is what many people like and that is ok. Anyway, I was exaggerating, but I guess I made my point and wanted to relay how fideszniks think.

    No political party is consistent on ideology, neither is Fidesz. But there is demand for and logic in their policies, and actually I think many of their ideas are way too underrated by leftist and liberals, as good ideas get lost in the general craziness. I for one think that the rural public work policy on balance is quite positive and many of the discipline-oriented ideas in the otherwise terrible education policy are also useful.

    You should not forget that Fidesz’ core constituency is the rural (meaning people living outside of Budapest, not people in small villages, a Hungarian town of 100,000 is rural in a European cultural context) people. (Also, all of the top Fidesz people almost without exception are from rural places, and are lawyers by the way). It’s not about the education level of the rural people that is relevant, it is their way of life and anxieties and value systems which count. Always try to figure what these people think (and what they don’t care about at all and consider as unnecessary intellectual catfights), how they behave because Fidesz will cater to them (as Orbán and friends naturally understand them) and them only.

    Budapest liberals and leftists are simply ignored (and bullied and annoyed) as Fidesz knows deep down that although from time to time they can win in Budapest (and district XII is theirs), it’s not their real constituency — though they want to Rule (capital R) it.

  18. I apologize for occupying so much space here, but there is always a new thing bugging me…

    Several news media write that for the first time, more Hungarians oppose the EU than support it, according to a new poll by TARKI.

    http://www.tarki.hu/hu/news/2013/kitekint/20130829_eutagsag.html

    TARKI says the same thing in its report, but look at the enclosed chart:

    The graphs do not intersect, so there could NOT be a change in the ranking of opinions.

    So
    EITHER the legend of the chart is messed up, therefore always more Hungarians thought that the EU membership is bad for Hungary,

    OR there are still more people appreciating the EU than blaming it, i.e. 22% think that the EU is bad, while 32% still think it is good for Hungary.[I guess the latter is true]

    Dear Tarki, correct your report.

  19. <b<Olga Kálmán

    I have always been a great admirer of ATV’s Olga Kálmán. She is extremely intelligent, articulate, skillful in dialogue and elicitation, well-informed — and her heart is quite clearly in the right place.

    But lately she sometimes seems to be getting a bit unhinged — most recently in connection with the Bajnai/Mesterházy foot-dragging. She seems more inclined toward prolonged haraguing rather than toward resolution and moving on.

    Yes, the long negotiations were unfortunate and wasted precious time, probably more because of personal ambitions than state needs. But just as B&M need to set those things aside and get on with it, OK needs to do so too, instead of dragging out the reproaches — deserved, but once, not over and over and over — about B&M’s foot-dragging.

    I also think Olga should give a rest to the “Na ez megint micsoda?!” routine with which she keeps starting many of her interviews. It’s gotten old, and somewhat irksome.

    I know that she often needs to play devil’s advocate in order to make her interviews sound less partisan, and that’s fine, but I think she sometimes gets carried away and starts to harangue instead of moving forward. (She also sometimes gets an idée fixe and keeps harping on it past its shelf-life: the Orban thank-you letters to deceased parties being one example. She was right, of course, but she dragged it out too long.)

    All that said, I still think Olga is a priceless treasure for Hungary and has single-handedly kept honest critical inquiry alive in Hungarian politics and journalism (at least for the minority who watch ATV).

  20. Re Olga. I wrote to a Hungarian friend after hearing the interview that “Olga egy kicsit fafejűen vitatkozik.” Fafejű = pigheaded, bullheaded. So, he is a bit bullheaded/pigheaded.

  21. Steven: I think that a lot of people are frustrated with what is going on, and not only in Hungary, but also in the rest of the EU. Tappach graph shows this frustration. I expected more fireworks this year than the years before. Although the year is not over yet I have not seen too much about the future, except it looks orange.

  22. Tappanch: no relation, it was a sign that the fist comment wasn’t serious. It was indeed a reference to our beloved Kumin Feri.

  23. Tappanch:

    the way you should read the chart is that the historical data points are not connected to the last sample. The current polling shows that according to 39%, the EU membership is a bad thing, 32% good thing, 22% neither bad or good and 7% does not know, can’t decide.

    There has been no sampling since May 2011 and the negative opinions increased significantly since then.

    Essentially Fidesz was able to increase the negatives from 20% to 40% within two years, this is how efficient they are in spreading the unified message all through the various media channels.

    One should never underestimate the power of the media (which is controlled by Fidesz). Blaming everything on the EU and fighting against them was successful.

  24. Mutt :

    Well, this is Planet Hungary. Let me explain.

    EU is bad: YES. Leaving the EU: NO. Duh! They give money!

    As a fairly recent German article’s title said: “Ungarn wütet gegen seine Geldgeber.” (Wirtschafts Woche)

  25. tappanch :
    About 15% of the total corporate tax is spent on five types of sport.
    The numbers are in billions of HUF.
    Revenue from corporate tax was 342 in 2012.
    Corporate tax redirected to sport was 59.6 in the 2012-2013 sport fiscal year.
    [The government probably matched this amount – this is my estimate.
    Money taken from higher education was about the same amount,
    state support was reduced from 180 in 2010 to 120 in 2012.
    So the money spent on a few hundred sports(wo)men, employees, owners and a few thousand soccer fans was about the same as the support on the entire higher education,
    318 thousand students, 22 thousand faculty and x thousand staff (data from 2010) !]
    Supported sports:
    Soccer 32.0
    Handball 11.0
    Water polo 7.2
    Basketball 5.7
    Ice Hockey 3.7
    http://www.vg.hu/gazdasag/gazdasagpolitika/hatvanmilliardnyi-ado-a-sportnak-32-milliardot-kapott-a-foci-410786

    Would anyone be able to explain to me, what it has to do with public health, what continuously referenced in context of building (soccer)stadiums and supporting soccer clubs and the like?

    I have serious doubts regarding the mental health of the population which accept “public health” as the likely explanation of these kind of pointless, clearly money burning show up project while the economy of the country virtually on artificial life support, and the level of poverty all times high…
    Is there anybody who’s still sane over there…?

  26. Back to Earth:
    Today I’ve listened Gyurcsány on Klubrádió – the man has a point, or two.

    Even if MSZP doubtlessly the biggest, even if nominally – and allegedly – the E14 the second, there are still quite a few others who should have been included the negotiations, if the goal really is a regime-change.
    Let alone, that I have listened to Bajnai last october, when he declared that all democratic forces could- and should join in order to restore democracy…

    Well, his acts left a lot to desire in comparison to his words.
    However, demanding Gyurcsány and the others today, to “stop wasting time and jeopardise unity” and except him/them to accept their role as underlings of some half-baked conglomerate as the E14 really is – to me, keep in mind! – is a rather unfounded wish to say the least.
    As I see it today, the whole opposition has only chance if united on equal terms.
    Otherwise both Bajnai, Mesterházy, but even Juhász and Szanyi can kiss goodbye to democracy, hand in hand as good kids.

    Time to get real, people, there is no way it’s gonna work, however nice and pretty these two boys up there.

  27. ‘So, leaving the Eu is a good thing’, huh?
    Majority of Hungarians in favor: never underestimate
    the stupidity of the average Hungarian. It is ever so disappointing that Orbans harangue about the EU has been bought hook, line, and sinker. Unbelievable!

  28. I am in love with the average Hungarian.
    I love many of the contractors, waitresses, cab drivers.
    Charming people. It is a good feeling to speak Hungarian in Budapest.
    I also found many parrots, racist cab drivers, clerks.
    I can not blame them. The regimes of the past abused people, the media mislead the population.
    The task of us is to liberate the nation from the chauvinist, koponyeg forgato, fake Hungarian leaders, clerics, teachers, thugs.
    It can be again fun to live in Hungary.
    It was denied to me.

  29. tappanch :
    Mayor Tarlos made a cute anti-Semitic remark on television yesterday.
    The opposition party DK used a quotation from the Psalms to oppose Tarlos’s plans to expel the homeless from Budapest.
    Tarlos remarked that when the opposition looks at the Bible sometimes, “it always opens at the Old Testament for them […] I read the New Testament more often.”
    http://hvg.hu/itthon/20130830_Lezsidozta_a_DKsokat_Tarlos_a_HirTVben

    I think it is important to include the whole text, and some explanation as your quote does not fully reflect why would Tarlos’ comment would be anti-Semitic. The comment itself is not anti-semitic, but it is a “zsidozas”. Eva, on this blog explained once what “zsidozas” is:
    ” ‘ “zsidózás,” coming from the verb “zsidózni,” which is an untranslatable Hungarian verb. It means talking about Jews in an unfavorable light. It also implies that the speaker regularly engages in anti-Jewish speech.” (https://hungarianspectrum.wordpress.com/2012/11/30/hungarian-antisemitism-how-to-combat-it/)
    What Tarlos actually said is this:
    “Most egy dolog, hogy nekik ha felcsapják időnként a Bibliát, miért mindig az Ószövetségnél nyílik kizárólag ki, de most erről nem akarok semmit sem mondani”

    “[…] it is one thing that for [the opposition] when they inadvertently open the Bible it only opens up at the Old Testament, but now I do not want to say anything about that.
    or more so “[…]now I would not want to comment on that.”

    (Let’s not forget that this is the man who brought us Ujszinhaz with its nazi propaganda.)

  30. Also, all of the top Fidesz people almost without exception are from rural places, and are lawyers by the way

  31. “EU is bad: YES. Leaving the EU: NO. Duh! They give money!”

    Oops, the preceding comment was a mistaken copy and paste
    What I wanted to say was… if the left-liberal or indeed the far-right wanted to make the Fidesziks reallly squirm they would make EU membership the central focus of the next election.

  32. oneill :

    “EU is bad: YES. Leaving the EU: NO. Duh! They give money!”

    Oops, the preceding comment was a mistaken copy and paste
    What I wanted to say was… if the left-liberal or indeed the far-right wanted to make the Fidesziks reallly squirm they would make EU membership the central focus of the next election.

    Yes, this is a very good idea. I will spread the word. 🙂

  33. RealGood2013 :
    The regimes of the past abused people, the media mislead the population.

    While respecting your sentiments I’d like to call your attention, that your calendar may have the wrong year at the top, this isn’t 2014 yet, so the correct sentence would be:

    “The present regime abuses the people, the media misleading the population.”

    Personally I do blame them to let these bunch of lowlifes abuse and mislead them – not any self-respecting people should, in my opinion, but hey, they obviously get what they were wishing for, so, be happy people, while it last..!

  34. “And anyway, we need workers, not some smartass intellectuals.”

    Whether meant in jest or not, this is exactly how Orbán’s education/university ‘policy’ is explained to me by Fideszniks.

  35. Seal Driver :
    This marriage is not built to last. Fidesz will be able to exploit the very obvious fissures to its benefit.
    I stand by my earlier prognostication: Jobbik 6 seats, Egyutt-PM-MSZP-DK-MSZDP 10 seats, Fidesz-MSZMP 90 seats.

    Seal Driver – how do you break the left seats down? I can possibly see Gy winning a list seat for DK, but that’s it. No LMP? I think the same, but then I’ve lost track of the splits and arguments in LMP, so maybe one list eat is possible?

    Personally, I think both Jobbik and MSzP will do better than your predictions, but probably not a great deal better. It all very much reminds me of how the Communists became the majority parties in the East after 48/49, or perhaps more the way Hitler gained control after he’d got elected. Fidesz win by democratically fair means, but then arrange things, bit by bit, until the outcome is effectively one party rule – with a couple of very small token ‘opposition’ parties allowed to continue, just to ‘prove’ the country is still democratic.

  36. Mutt: ‘EU is bad… But they give money.’

    And it is specifically bizarre as every public construction works appears to be co-funded by the EU, which is easily visible through the EU flag next to the flagship Magyarorszag megujul sign.

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