The factious Hungarian opposition

Yesterday by 11 a.m. it became clear that there was no chance of an electoral alliance between the socialists and the representatives of the Demokratikus Koalíció. Perhaps there never was because, although Attila Mesterházy only a few hours before this final meeting gave a 50-50 chance of reaching an understanding, I suspect that the decision had already been reached to reject the DK proposals.

Shortly before the meeting Mesterházy claimed that his party hadn’t formulated its position on Ferenc Gyurcsány’s participation in the campaign and his advocacy of a common party list. However, most of the DK demands eventually put forth had been known for at least a week, and I assume that the socialist leadership was fully aware that Gyurcsány’s person would be on the agenda in one way or the other.

As it turned out, DK had seven demands: (1) there should be joint MSZP-DK candidates; (2) the number of districts should be based on the principle of proportionality; (3) DK should receive nine districts, three of which should be winnable, three hopeless, and three uncertain; (4) on the list a DK candidate should occupy every eighth place, again on the basis of proportionality; (5) the person of the candidate should be decided by each party; (6) MSZP should receive the first and DK the second place on the list although if MSZP doesn’t accept this DK is ready to consider their counter-proposal;  (7) DK’s top place on the list should go to the chairman of DK. So, DK was not adamant about the second place but certainly wanted Gyurcsány to be on the best DK place whichever that would be.

MSZP wasn’t in a negotiating mood. Their demands reminded me of Austria-Hungary’s ultimatum to Serbia in 1914, which was formulated in such a way that the Monarchy knew that there was no way Serbia could accept it. MSZP offered four districts to DK, none of which was winnable. Instead of every eighth place on the list, MSZP was only willing to place a DK candidate in every twenty-fifth. According to electoral mathematics, the largest number of seats the opposition can win from the list is fifty, which would mean that only one or two DK candidates would receive mandates. In addition, DK couldn’t represent its own political ideas and would have to follow the MSZP-Együtt14 line. MSZP didn’t want anything to do with Gyurcsány and, when pressed, it turned out that they also didn’t want to see Ágnes Vadai, Csaba Molnár, or László Varju anywhere near the campaign. (In addition to Gyurcsány these three people represent DK in the Hungarian media.) MSZP would have veto power over any candidate put forth by DK but DK wouldn’t have the same veto power over the MSZP candidates. This was unacceptable to the DK negotiating team.

If you recall, MSZP in January was the prime proponent of joint action with all democratic parties and groups while Együtt 2014 was stepping back from close cooperation with MSZP. They were undoubtedly afraid that Attila Mesterházy was planning to seize the opportunity to lead the future coalition. E14 decided to postpone further negotiations in the hope of gathering more support. Precious months were wasted in what turned out to be a futile effort. So, came the compromise agreement of no common list but common candidates. Some politically savvy people consider the agreement a very good idea while others view it as a failure and an indication of weakness and discord.

Együtt 2014 with its 6% of the electorate came out the real winner with 31 districts. MSZP didn’t fare as well (75 districts), especially since it was the socialists’ burden to reach an understanding with the other smaller parties. Of the three parties only DK has measurable support. We are talking about 100,000-150,000 voters for DK while MSZP has about 1.2 million. If we look only at these numbers DK’s demands sound reasonable. The real aim of the opposition, however, is to convince the large block of undecided voters. We don’t know the party preferences of about 40% of the electorate. The opposition parties’ real goal is to attract this large group to their ranks.

And here the socialists and E14 are convinced that if they embrace Ferenc Gyurcsány and DK they will attract fewer people from the ranks of the undecided. József Tóbiás in an interview yesterday disclosed that the party had conducted a poll that was designed to measure the effect of cooperation between MSZP and DK. The poll revealed to the party leadership that they would lose more votes with Gyurcsány than they would gain. This finding lay behind their decision. If this poll correctly measures the effect of a joint MSZP-DK ticket, then MSZP’s decision was logical. Of course, we know how a wrongly formulated question can distort the results.

Naturally this poll reflects only the current situation. One doesn’t know how MSZP’s rather abrupt negative attitude toward the other parties and groups will affect MSZP’s standing or the electorate’s attitude toward DK. It is possible that they will consider MSZP too high-handed and uncompromising and DK an underdog. They may think that MSZP is not serious about unity, not resolute enough in its determination to unseat Viktor Orbán and Fidesz.

opinion pollOne could also ask MSZP whether the poll inquired about those possible voters who under no circumstances would vote for MSZP, because apparently they are also numerous. What about those who think of E14 as a party with no well defined political agenda? Only yesterday Szabolcs Kerék Bárczy, the last spokesman of Ibolya Dávid’s MDF, complained about Együtt 2014’s lack of political coherence. He pointed out that although E14’s avowed aim is to attract liberal conservatives, there is not one conservative in its ranks. Moreover, how can these people be attracted to a group whose members often applaud Orbán’s nationalization or who make statements against free markets and competition? Kerék Bárczy is thinking here of some people in the PM group with their decidedly leftist views of the world. Liberal conservatives, he says, will not vote for either E14 or MSZP. Because it looks as if MSZP is going to make a sharp turn to the left since some party leaders claim that MSZP’s failure stemmed from its move toward liberalism under Ferenc Gyurcsány’s chairmanship.

Kerék Bárczy doesn’t understand why MSZP nine months before the elections suddenly stiffened its attitude and refused to negotiate with anyone. He puts forward the question: what will happen if the poll numbers change as a result of these failed negotiations and a serious attempt by DK to attract more followers? What will E14 and MSZP do? Renegotiate their agreement? It will be difficult to change course without losing face.

58 comments

  1. David Axelrod is plotting against Gyurcsany.
    Luckily, MSZP has nothing close to the financial prowess of Kerry or Obama.
    Gyurcsany must repeat the Howard Dean revolt with outpouring success.
    Hopefully, Dr. Laszlo Bito may support him, and Hungary.

  2. Losing face – or losing an election?

    What, if the MSZP wrong, and the DK has much more supporters and will have even more on election day, than the E14? As things progressing it wouldn’t surprise me a single bit.

    In my opinion the NSZP-E14 agreement is fundamentally wrong, that part certainly, what gives 31 district to an unproven entity based entirely on credit yet to be proven, while in effect freezing out everyone else from this union. So far the E14 couldn’t really show up anything or anybody for that matter beside Bajnai, so, if Gyurcsány manages with the timing to build up momentum just when it needed, there is a real possibility, that they will be the second opposition power.
    Not to mention that scenario, if he opens up for the other fringe parties/motions and joining forces, they certainly would reach out to those “undecided” quite successfully.

    Yes, of course, I am aware of the arguments regarding the alleged hate toward Gyurcsány, but I’ve already mentioned, that in my opinion people rather goes with a strong character who actually doing something – whatever in value it might be – than the soft-spoken lukewarm “nice guy” who trying to please everyone.
    Just wait and see.

    All in all, I think its a huge mistake that the biggest opposition party keeping all those eggs in one basket in times like this.

    Good luck, anyway, they badly needing it!

  3. “Orbán goes to bed tonight a happy man.”

    Mesterhazy is a trojan: both prophylactic and subterfuge.

    Orban: sleeping…and laughing

  4. The undecideds are a much bigger portion than DK’s currently measured number of voters, or let’s even be generous and double the number of DK’s voters.

    It’s a gamble for MSZP, sure, but one they felt they had to take.

    And of course, they don’t like Gyurcsány as he broke off and divided the party and caused a lot of internal conflicts, and Mesterházy does not like Gyurcsány especially, who sees Gyurcsány as an obvious competitor. Once MSZP reached the conclusion that there was not much to gain through DK, they had to look tough: I mean DK polls at let’s say 1/8 of MSZP, so the latter could not treat DKas equal and generous, it would show MSZP’s usual weakness and overly generousness.

    But simply there were no compelling enough reasons to work together at this point.

    I think MSZP feels much less threatened by Együtt because MSZP doesn’t think that Együtt can be a long-term competition. It’s currently a party that was put together for one election.

    Neither Bajnai, nor others including Szigetvári emerged as a charismatic person threatening the position of the leader of the biggest party of the left, a position which Mesterházy wants to keep for himself and free of future contestation.

    It seems that Együtt acts now (it wants to sell itself to MSZP so) as not wanting to push for big controversial/symbolic decisions, they just want to help “governance and policy”, which is true in a way, as Bajnai and friends completely lack vision and worse lack real ‘animalistic’ motivation (when compared to Lázár or Kocsis or Rogán etc., who positively want to rule forever in the name of Fidesz). But Együtt’s inherent weakness in ideology and decision-making ability is good for MSZP, as it clearly wants to be the senior party in their cooperation.

    (I look forward to reading Magyar Narancs’s article on the Fidesz campaign. Fidesz may eventually lose in 2014, but they will keep their extremely tight and efficient grip on media and have an extremely sophisticated campaign and party machinery, which the left can’t match in 5-10 years, even if they started working on it now. I think the left apart from Gyurcsány still does not understand its adversary well enough.)

  5. My late neighbour’s wife was told she’d had to wait at least a year for that knee joint – she was lucky that her son packed her in his car and took her to a private hospital in Budapest …

    A few days later she returned home with her new joint …

    He paid around one million HUF for his mother’s operation – she couldn’t have afforded that as a widow on a small pension …

  6. Unfortunately, there is some very hard truth in this article (see link below, in Hungarian), Orbán telling his views about the opposition.

    About the left likened to a bizon who became too complacent (and grew old and rare) while Fidesz, according to Orbán, is more like a greyhound (I guess meaning, what is true actually, nonstop working, never stopping thinking about political dangers, managing its organisation, managing the media, etc.).

    According to Orbán, the ideology of the left is represented by Szárszó (“elszárszósodott” referring to Balatonszárszó, a place at Balaton, where some media personality holds a summer party for leftist dinosaurs, as if it was 1995, the early MSZP-SZDSZ government) meaning the same old leftist people meet, who were there in 1992 (or in 1986), and there is practically no new blood or ideas going into the left.

    All those Haha guys and the other demonstrators of the spring — they are just a bunch burgeois kids complaining about their iphones, no real adversaries of Fidesz. And while I agree that Orbán’s circle is still there after 25 years, the ideologic right consists of a lot of new and old intellectuals, who became famous or active relatively recently.

    That said, that he left has an added difficulty because so many leftist/liberal intellectuals simply left Hungary and live abroad. And the current left cannot attract younger people because it’s not cool to associate with MSZP or Együtt. You associate with them and you become uncool and a loser yourself and you don’t want that. At least that is the word on the street.

    Eventually, I must agree. Being lazy as a party/organisation and having no vision/ideas are deadly.

    Although I can well imagine that Fidesz will lose the 2014 election, I cannot envisage a break through for the left in establishing itself in any way. The conditions (constitutional situation, media, economy etc.) are not such that the left in its current form can survive long.

    http://www.origo.hu/itthon/20130912-orban-25-eves-alma-beteljesuleset-latja.html

  7. The Kuria (formerly called Supreme Court) rejected the challenges to a referendum against parts of the “tobacco license” legislation.

    The referendum can now go ahead after 200,000 preliminary signatures are collected.

    1. Do you agree that the state-guaranteed profit of the tobacco shops should be rolled back to 3.3% from the current 10%?

    2. Do you agree that the tobacco shops should sell tobacco products only?

    http://www.lb.hu/hu/sajto/tajekoztato-kuria-dohanytermekek-arusitasaval-kapcsolatos-orszagos-nepszavazasi

  8. @Pelikan elvtars: ” And the current left cannot attract younger people because it’s not cool to associate with MSZP or Együtt. ”

    Fidesz is working very actively to propagate that image… as the Orban interview clearly shows. Yeah, of course, MSzP is too old to be “cool”, the HaHa kids are just kids … just look at what happened with the fresh faces in the opposition, like Milla, LMP.. they just get lumped together with the “Left” and suddenly they are very uncool… how convenient! I think that without Fidesz’s active “help” (Fidesz is practically telling the population what to think of everybody), the opposition’s image would be a lot more “cool”.
    The lesson is: don’t let yourself be influenced by Fidesz propaganda.

  9. Eva S. Balogh :
    Re Referendum. I think that will sail through.

    I think the new “National” Election Commission with 3/4 Fidesz super majority will trip the referendum sooner or later.

    Fideszniks promised to preempt it with new legislation: they might lower the guaranteed profit to 3.3% and give the rest of the profit in an indirect way.

    They do not want an anti-Fidesz referendum. (according to the new law on referendums, the turnout must be 50% or more – are ethnic Hungarians in Transylvania included in the 100%?)

  10. I think the opposition is as much responsible the disgrace of Hungary as Fidesz and Orban. We can put it whatever way we like it, but most of Hungarian politicians are there for one thing only, for their own interest. It is not about what is the best for Hungary. Hungary is the centre of the Caucasian Chalk Circle. Honestly the EU, Fidesz, MSZP and all of them could care less. If they would care they would act properly.
    Many visitors on this blog over analyzing the whole political nonsense, but in reality it has no bearing. Hungarians themselves (with a few exceptions) fail to act, except this nonsense, believe in some sort of deus ex machine. I am sad to see Hungary going to the dogs, but most Hungarians deserve it. THere is no empathy for the poor, there is no uproar against the education “reform”, there is no protest about the lost retirement money, no people march on the street for democracy. THe Hungarian football hooligans are able to collect more people for their “uprising” then most local “protest”. The students who went against Fidesz will leave the country soon with their education, leave behind the scum that “protected” Fidesz from them. The old will die poor, the poor will freeze to death, the gypsies will remain the outlaw, the smart will pack up and leave, and Orban friends become the Kings and Queens of the Dump. Hungarians will have a country they approved.

  11. An: you are right. But politics is about perception. If young people think and more importantly has been thinking so for 10-15 years that MSZP is uncool than it’s a fact, even if it is was just a perception, supported by Orbán originally. Why does not have Fidesz the same kind of image problem??

    None of the younger HaHa etc. kids wanted to be associated with the organised left in any way — although admittedly anti-party sentiment is everywhere, it’s not unique to Hungary.

    Also, surely the kids thought that Fidesz would even more oppose their causes if they reveal themselves as leftists. That said, the truth is that there is no new and loyal leftist party ideology in Hungary.

    Crazily, the most sophisticted leftist analyst is still TGM, but he is not a party ideologue.

    Whereas all the writers, intellectuals at all the new right wing/conservative periodicals, journals, all conservative teachers etc. all support and come out for Fidesz.

    They are not just any right wing intellectuals, they are also, above all, Fidesz supporters.

    That you certainly don’t have on the left.

    Who are those MSZP or Együtt big names other than Iván Vitányi, Ágnes Heller (even if I acknowledge their scholarly production and am joking)?? Somehow, there is nobody out there of the younger generation intellectuals standing up for MSZP or Együtt. But half the faculty of ELTE, let alone Pázmány, Debrecen or Szeged would stand out as die-hard Fidesz supporters, if called upon.

    Image management is one of those competences (other than party organisation or media strategy) where the left utterly failed. Why? My guess is that because they don’t really know what they want and if you don’t know that, then you yourself can’t be ambitious and passionate about it (and in addition others also feel that you are not passionate enough). I guess the left needs a lot, and I mean a lot of soul searching and now may not be its turn to govern. Which is almost crazy given Fidesz’s completely unprecedented arrogance and incompetence.

  12. “Minden nemzetnek olyan kormánya van, aminőt érdemel. Ha valami oknál fogva ostoba vagy komisz emberek ülnek egy bölcs és becsületes nép nyakára, akkor a nép azokat a silány fickókat minél hamarabb a pokol fenekére küldi. De ha egy hitvány kormány huzamosan megmarad a helyén, akkor bizonyos, hogy a nemzetben van a hiba. ”

    from a novel by Miklos Suranyi 1936 [so this is NOT a genuine quote from Szechenyi],
    resurrected in 2002 by the the defeated “right wing” as a saying by Szechenyi.

    “Toute nation a le gouvernement qu’elle mérite”

    Maistre, 1810

    http://www.urbanlegends.hu/2007/03/minden-nemzetnek-olyan-kormanya-van-aminot-erdemel/

  13. Some1 :
    I think the opposition is as much responsible the disgrace of Hungary as Fidesz and Orban. We can put it whatever way we like it, but most of Hungarian politicians are there for one thing only, for their own interest. It is not about what is the best for Hungary. Hungary is the centre of the Caucasian Chalk Circle. Honestly the EU, Fidesz, MSZP and all of them could care less. If they would care they would act properly.
    Many visitors on this blog over analyzing the whole political nonsense, but in reality it has no bearing. Hungarians themselves (with a few exceptions) fail to act, except this nonsense, believe in some sort of deus ex machine. I am sad to see Hungary going to the dogs, but most Hungarians deserve it. THere is no empathy for the poor, there is no uproar against the education “reform”, there is no protest about the lost retirement money, no people march on the street for democracy. THe Hungarian football hooligans are able to collect more people for their “uprising” then most local “protest”. The students who went against Fidesz will leave the country soon with their education, leave behind the scum that “protected” Fidesz from them. The old will die poor, the poor will freeze to death, the gypsies will remain the outlaw, the smart will pack up and leave, and Orban friends become the Kings and Queens of the Dump. Hungarians will have a country they approved.

    I think there is some truth to what you say, but you neglect to address the fact that the opposition, for whatever reason, has been and is still failing to do their job. Why didn’t the members of MSZP listen to Gyurcsány and enact change after the speech? Why have they not even made a pretense of changing? Why didn’t they publicly clean out the corruption? Why don’t they do a better job of countering the Fidesz lies? Why has nobody else stepped up to confront them and take away their votes besides Gyurcsány? Why did the members of DK allow Gyurcsány to even join them? That last question can be answered by the fact that Gyurcsány has the money and the power, but he also obviously has a huge black mark against him that he hasn’t done a very good job of getting rid of. Vadai et al could have just left both MSZP and Gyurcsány, and allied with Karácsony and the rest of the LMP rebels, creating a new, clean, attractive party somewhere between LMP and MSZP, and totally outside the loony left.

    Yes, voters deserve what they get, once they vote, but they also can only vote for those who run. Hungarians have been seduced by Orbán’s lies, but MSZP hasn’t tried very hard to show them the truth, and actually has seemed at times to only care about themselves. Everyone else is just not able to succeed in politics, partially because they are not very talented, and partially because Fidesz and MSZP (meaning the wealthy backers of those political vehicles) won’t let them. Hungarians will eventually realize this, and there will be a backlash, but we will have lost 20 years of progress by then. That’s not totally the fault of Hungarians, I believe.

  14. @Pelikan elvtars: You’re right, the left and the opposition should do a better job to manage their image. But we could start the image management on the left by not propagating Orban’s definitions of cool and uncool any further… if you keep lamenting on how MSzP is uncool, you just further reinforce this image… and that’s’ exactly why Fidesz throws this idea out there in the press from time to time.

    All I’m saying, while retrospection is good, you still shouldn’t let Fidesz define you.

  15. This is all so depressing – only ” Pelikán elvtárs ” made me laugh today, a tanu is still one of my (and my wife’s …) favourite films …

    I think that a lot of the left’s problems are because it seems that there was no clear cut in 1989!

    I wasn’t here in Hungary of course but the experience in East Germany was very clear: Everybody who was politically active in the old system was tainted – and only a few managed to return to the political scene – unless you count our crazy communists/Stalinists aka “Die Linke” …

    A bit OT:
    Some of these so called communists tried in the middle 80s to convince me of the superiority of East Germany aka the DDR in comparison with the BRD – in culture, sports. freedom (!) – only the production of cars was a bit backwards, but that would soon change! There even was a book where someone calculated that “real communism” might come to fruit in the year 2015 or 2020 …

    That was a funny, almost extra-Galactic experience listening to these people – and even today I’m not sure whether they really believed what they were saying …
    And there still are some seemingly intelligent people among those so called “Left” …

  16. Some1 :
    I think the opposition is as much responsible the disgrace of Hungary as Fidesz and Orban. We can put it whatever way we like it, but most of Hungarian politicians are there for one thing only, for their own interest. It is not about what is the best for Hungary. Hungary is the centre of the Caucasian Chalk Circle. Honestly the EU, Fidesz, MSZP and all of them could care less. If they would care they would act properly.
    Many visitors on this blog over analyzing the whole political nonsense, but in reality it has no bearing. Hungarians themselves (with a few exceptions) fail to act, except this nonsense, believe in some sort of deus ex machine. I am sad to see Hungary going to the dogs, but most Hungarians deserve it. THere is no empathy for the poor, there is no uproar against the education “reform”, there is no protest about the lost retirement money, no people march on the street for democracy. THe Hungarian football hooligans are able to collect more people for their “uprising” then most local “protest”. The students who went against Fidesz will leave the country soon with their education, leave behind the scum that “protected” Fidesz from them. The old will die poor, the poor will freeze to death, the gypsies will remain the outlaw, the smart will pack up and leave, and Orban friends become the Kings and Queens of the Dump. Hungarians will have a country they approved.

    What drivel!
    Why would you lump the EU…with Fidesz and MSZP???

    Ridiculous.

    Another swallower of Orban’s “Szabadsag” pill.

  17. “I think the left apart from Gyurcsány still does not understand its adversary well enough.”

    Or at all.

    Rather bizarrely, Hungary’s only hope is Gyurcsány. He is the only one who understand clearly what’s happened and knows what needs to be done. And he is also the only one who can get those messages across. He is sewing the seeds for the eventual overthrow of Orbán.

    But Fidesz aren’t stupid, they will soon realise this (if they haven’t already done so). They will step up their anti-Gy campaign, but It won’t make any difference (how much more damage can they do to GY?). Eventually, they will have to stop him – somehow.

  18. “Image”…”smimage”–what nonsense.
    Hungarians want something: MSZP sometimes buy off a segment with the 13th month of pension. Not being in power, they’re at a loss.
    Fidesz? They steal the country blind but give the people ‘hopes, dreams, and nostalgia’.

    That’s sumptin’, ain’t it?

  19. petofi :
    Fidesz? They steal the country blind but give the people ‘hopes, dreams, and nostalgia’.
    That’s sumptin’, ain’t it?

    Except there is no hope. the rest is correct, doubtless.

  20. “…Why did the members of DK allow Gyurcsány to even join them? That last question can be answered by the fact that Gyurcsány has the money and the power, but he also obviously has a huge black mark against him that he hasn’t done a very good job of getting rid of. “
    Googly, for the record: Gyurcsány didn’t join to the DK, he created it, the others joined to him.

  21. Kerek-Barczy isn’t only an ex-spokesman – he just joined the DK despite he defining himself as a liberal conservative.

    He is an interview with him on the Klub Radio from this morning (in Hungarian).

    Bolgar was pinging him, why does a conservative join a liberal, “Gyurcsany” party. In short he said “because it’s the best” (my words). He explains a bunch of things why I also think that the moderate conservatives are present in Hungary. It seems the DK is the new Together 2014 at least for intelligent people. Surprise.

    But you can’t win an election with intelligent people on Planet Hungary in 2014. Nothing sells with the “Liberal”, “Gyurcsany” or “SZDSZ” labels. Tough shit.

  22. Mutt :

    Kerek-Barczy isn’t only an ex-spokesman – he just joined the DK despite he defining himself as a liberal conservative.

    When I wrote the blog he wasn’t a DK member yet. Not a mistake on my part. I read about it after I put up the post.

    It would be nice to have Károly Herényi there too although the poor man is still being pursued by the Fidesz party bigwigs because of the Ibolyan Dávid case in which the victim became the accused.

  23. spectator :

    petofi :
    Fidesz? They steal the country blind but give the people ‘hopes, dreams, and nostalgia’.
    That’s sumptin’, ain’t it?

    Except there is no hope. the rest is correct, doubtless.

    Well, ‘hope’ can be packaged in various ways: Fidesz and the Orban will do ‘sovereignty’, ‘szabadsag harc’, and the like as the hope of an Honourable Hungary (now there’s a contradiction in terms! As if a country can aim to be ‘honorable’ as the people stand by while a vile creature like Csatary lives–government protected–among them for over a year. And, when he dies, to put out banners of regret…)

  24. googly :

    Some1 :oved.

    I think there is some truth to what you say, but you neglect to address the fact that the opposition, for whatever reason, has been and is still failing to do their job. Why didn’t the members of MSZP listen to Gyurcsány and enact change after the speech? Why have they not even made a pretense of changing? Why didn’t they publicly clean out the corruption? Why don’t they do a better job of countering the Fidesz lies? Why has nobody else stepped up to confront them and take away their votes besides Gyurcsány? Why did the members of DK allow Gyurcsány to even join them? That last question can be answered by the fact that Gyurcsány has the money and the power, but he also obviously has a huge black mark against him that he hasn’t done a very good job of getting rid of. Vadai et al could have just left both MSZP and Gyurcsány, and allied with Karácsony and the rest of the LMP rebels, creating a new, clean, attractive party somewhere between LMP and MSZP, and totally outside the loony left.
    Yes, voters deserve what they get, once they vote, but they also can only vote for those who run. Hungarians have been seduced by Orbán’s lies, but MSZP hasn’t tried very hard to show them the truth, and actually has seemed at times to only care about themselves. Everyone else is just not able to succeed in politics, partially because they are not very talented, and partially because Fidesz and MSZP (meaning the wealthy backers of those political vehicles) won’t let them. Hungarians will eventually realize this, and there will be a backlash, but we will have lost 20 years of progress by then. That’s not totally the fault of Hungarians, I believe.

    Yes, but do not forget that the politicians themselves who I am also mad at. Now, this who is the real left opposition divides all the informed people too. Fidesz is misleading them, the left opposition divides them. Not even coming to some form of agreement to unite until Fidesz can be kicked out from power, tells a lot about the politicians. They could iron out the details after the opposition party won. Instead they play “who is my candidate” games. Is this abut a common platform or about who will fill the jobs? THey can’t push through their message to those who Fidesz mislead because they are divided.

    At the same time the EU lets itself be insulted by Morvai and Orban. Orban does his “pava tanc” with no consequences. THey approve the new constitution that is “good enough”, so they will get back the same Hungarian government too.

    Yepp, Tappanch is right: ““Toute nation a le gouvernement qu’elle mérite” Maistre, 1810

  25. petofi :

    spectator :

    petofi :
    Fidesz? They steal the country blind but give the people ‘hopes, dreams, and nostalgia’.
    That’s sumptin’, ain’t it?

    Except there is no hope. the rest is correct, doubtless.

    Well, ‘hope’ can be packaged in various ways: Fidesz and the Orban will do ‘sovereignty’, ‘szabadsag harc’, and the like as the hope of an Honourable Hungary (now there’s a contradiction in terms! As if a country can aim to be ‘honorable’ as the people stand by while a vile creature like Csatary lives–government protected–among them for over a year. And, when he dies, to put out banners of regret…)

    Sounds like a discounted version of the antique formula of Panem et Circenses – you’ll got only the circuses this time, dear folk…!

    It can only go so far till even the brainwashed masses will figure out, that hey, there is no bread, however sovereign do we feel!
    (Gyurcsány stole it, I know, but still ;-))

    What then?
    I guess, Nicolae Ceaușescu got away rather smoothly compared to the coming wrath of those gullible and yet hopeful people when the bucket tipped over, I’m afraid.

  26. “Toute nation a le gouvernement qu’elle mérite”

    If I were a voter who did vote for the (current) democratic opposition in 2010, I would not know why I should now “deserve” OV.

    Pelikan elvtars: “MSZP is uncool … Why does not have Fidesz the same kind of image problem??”

    I believe that the young very much appreciate the opportunities offered by Fidesz. Being protected at school by the police till 4 p.m., paying properly for university studies, reducing actually the educational burden by shortening compulsory schooling and the number of university students, new football stadiums, trips with your fellow-fans to neighbouring countries, great low paid jobs at the forced labour scheme. Unbelievably COOL.

  27. spectator :

    petofi :

    spectator :

    petofi :
    Fidesz? They steal the country blind but give the people ‘hopes, dreams, and nostalgia’.
    That’s sumptin’, ain’t it?

    Except there is no hope. the rest is correct, doubtless.

    Well, ‘hope’ can be packaged in various ways: Fidesz and the Orban will do ‘sovereignty’, ‘szabadsag harc’, and the like as the hope of an Honourable Hungary (now there’s a contradiction in terms! As if a country can aim to be ‘honorable’ as the people stand by while a vile creature like Csatary lives–government protected–among them for over a year. And, when he dies, to put out banners of regret…)

    Sounds like a discounted version of the antique formula of Panem et Circenses – you’ll got only the circuses this time, dear folk…!
    It can only go so far till even the brainwashed masses will figure out, that hey, there is no bread, however sovereign do we feel!
    (Gyurcsány stole it, I know, but still )
    What then?
    I guess, Nicolae Ceaușescu got away rather smoothly compared to the coming wrath of those gullible and yet hopeful people when the bucket tipped over, I’m afraid.

    Problem is that the gullible can be heard to attack various ‘enemies’–chief among them, the jews.
    Then they’ll go for the Roma, the cripples, the Moselems and down the line. Check out Nazi Germany: it’s all been done before.

  28. Kirsten :
    “Toute nation a le gouvernement qu’elle mérite”
    If I were a voter who did vote for the (current) democratic opposition in 2010, I would not know why I should now “deserve” OV.

    I’m with you. I never liked this quote. Of course we deserve better. The only problem is that they have to be Hungarians …

  29. Mutt :
    Kerek-Barczy isn’t only an ex-spokesman – he just joined the DK despite he defining himself as a liberal conservative.
    He is an interview with him on the Klub Radio from this morning (in Hungarian).

    Bolgar was pinging him, why does a conservative join a liberal, “Gyurcsany” party. In short he said “because it’s the best” (my words). He explains a bunch of things why I also think that the moderate conservatives are present in Hungary. It seems the DK is the new Together 2014 at least for intelligent people. Surprise.
    But you can’t win an election with intelligent people on Planet Hungary in 2014. Nothing sells with the “Liberal”, “Gyurcsany” or “SZDSZ” labels. Tough shit.

    It doesn’t matter about winning the election, that’s already lost. What does matter is creating a nucleus around which a future mass anti-Orbán/Fidesz movement can form. And it looks like DK is that nucleus.

  30. Kirsten :
    “Toute nation a le gouvernement qu’elle mérite”
    If I were a voter who did vote for the (current) democratic opposition in 2010, I would not know why I should now “deserve” OV.
    Pelikan elvtars: “MSZP is uncool … Why does not have Fidesz the same kind of image problem??”
    I believe that the young very much appreciate the opportunities offered by Fidesz. Being protected at school by the police till 4 p.m., paying properly for university studies, reducing actually the educational burden by shortening compulsory schooling and the number of university students, new football stadiums, trips with your fellow-fans to neighbouring countries, great low paid jobs at the forced labour scheme. Unbelievably COOL.

    I think it simply means the nation, not a single individual.

    Of course not all Cubans deserve the wrath of the USA either. You cannot divide Hungary to two sections like Berlin was divided. Do my father deserves Orban? Does Hungary would deserve from the EU to cut off all funding which will contribute to further unemployment? Would all Hungarians deserve if Hungary would be kicked off the EU because of Orban? Did no Hungarians deserved to watch the Hungary-Romania soccer qualifier in the stadium because the anti-semitic idiots actions that punished all Hungarian soccer fans?
    Does all Hungarians deserve the Orban government? Of course not. Still the statement is very valid, as the internal fighting of the opposition forces is that further empower Orban and his gang.

  31. Mutt :

    Kirsten :
    “Toute nation a le gouvernement qu’elle mérite”
    If I were a voter who did vote for the (current) democratic opposition in 2010, I would not know why I should now “deserve” OV.

    I’m with you. I never liked this quote. Of course we deserve better. The only problem is that they have to be Hungarians …

    Who is we? That is as general as the the “nation”. Many Hungarians deserve better. Most Hungarians deserve better, but Simicska for example, and many of the other ones deserve even worst.

  32. OT: Did you know that on September 28, 29 Hungary is expecting you back? You are Home! I love you Hungary! is the name of the two day event that cot almost one milliard forints, and expects all Hungarians to connect, those who moved away and those who stayed. High schools were able to apply for grants in order to held reunions, and such. THe whole country is buzzing from the milliard worth of programs. Am I the only one who only heard about this. I guess we still have two weeks to get home.

  33. Some1, perhaps this “deserve” has a too moral connotation for me. Can people not make mistakes? I do not believe that the majority of Hungarians actively WANT what Fidesz have made of the opportunity offered to them. For me most people do not see good alternatives and so they leave it as it is and try to adapt to the circumstances. Quite natural. And for those who know already that they would like to end this “national fairy tale” it does make sense to work on an alternative. Which in my impression, is going on, even if on a low intensity level (concerning the number of people involved) and at an early stage. Why should I think in terms of people “deserving” bad government? I would focus on those people who “deserve” being supported in their effort to forge an alternative Hungary (even if they are so “factious” so far).

  34. tappanch :
    Porn billionaire Gattyan just opened a luxury store in Andrassy Ut for the super rich of Hungary.
    By accident, who is coming out of the store? This is Mr Habony, chief advisor to Orban…
    (from 1:15 to 1:30)
    http://index.indavideo.hu/video/A_luxushaborunak_vege_nincs_fenyzobb_aruhaz_Magyarorszagon

    Speaking of Gattyán, I just heard that he’s so sick of being harrassed by the tax office that he’s moving his company to Luxembourg, and taking almost all of his employees (along with most of the taxes he pays). So not only educated intellectuals are moving out of Hungary – Fidesz is driving everybody out! I wonder how this will impact GDP, too.

  35. spectator :
    “…Why did the members of DK allow Gyurcsány to even join them? That last question can be answered by the fact that Gyurcsány has the money and the power, but he also obviously has a huge black mark against him that he hasn’t done a very good job of getting rid of. “
    Googly, for the record: Gyurcsány didn’t join to the DK, he created it, the others joined to him.

    Sorry, I wasn’t clear – I meant why didn’t they break away from MSZP and form their own party, instead of just following Gyurcsány out of MSZP.

  36. From pol.hu:

    “Education Office denies textbook contains passages that “brainwash” children

    The passages an opposition party has used as the basis for its recent criticism of an ethics textbook for fifth-graders are not contained in that particular book, the Education Office said in a statement on Wednesday.

    In its statement, the Office insisted that the E14-PM electoral alliance had referred to “out of context” sentences which were not part of the officially approved textbook written by Ferenc Banhegyi and Ilona Olajos Kadar.”

    Does anyone know what kind of guy this Banhegyi is and what exactly are those sentences in that book on ethics ?

  37. wolfi :

    From pol.hu:

    “Education Office denies textbook contains passages that “brainwash” children

    The passages an opposition party has used as the basis for its recent criticism of an ethics textbook for fifth-graders are not contained in that particular book, the Education Office said in a statement on Wednesday.

    In its statement, the Office insisted that the E14-PM electoral alliance had referred to “out of context” sentences which were not part of the officially approved textbook written by Ferenc Banhegyi and Ilona Olajos Kadar.”

    Does anyone know what kind of guy this Banhegyi is and what exactly are those sentences in that book on ethics ?

    Yes, I know something about both him and the book. I have three articles about the issue. Tomorrow I will go into the details.

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