Opposition voters demand unity

I still can’t quite collect myself after seeing what happened this afternoon at the large street demonstration that was rather reluctantly organized to include all opposition groups. It was only yesterday that E14-PM and MSZP officially signed their exclusive agreement to jointly represent the united opposition. Originally, they planned to sign the document today, on the anniversary of the October Revolution of 1956, but in the last minute there was a change of plans. Indeed, it would have been jarring if the agreement that excluded the other opposition parties and groups had been signed on the very day that solidarity among all the democratic forces was supposed to be on display.

Admittedly, if it had depended on E14-PM and MSZP, there would have been separate demonstrations once again, but Ferenc Gyurcsány upset the apple cart by writing to Gordon Bajnai and Attila Mesterházy suggesting common action. A whole week went by and no answer came. When a reporter asked Gyurcsány whether he had received a response he told him that he hadn’t but that he is a patient man. Eventually the E14-MSZP group obviously felt that they had to say yes. Rebuffing Gyurcsány’s initiative might have had negative consequences.

At this point E14-MSZP tried “to hide Gyurcsány,” as commentators noted, by inviting eight groups in all. Each group’s representative was allotted only five minutes to address the crowd. With such a tight schedule, it was hoped that Gyurcsány wouldn’t have the opportunity to show off his considerable oratorical skills.

Moreover, even though the organizers gave a nod to the notion of inclusiveness, they carefully avoided portraying the opposition parties and groups as one big happy family. For instance, the eight speakers were never together on the stage.

Observers charged that Bajnai and Mesterházy are as afraid of Gyurcsány as they are of Orbán, if not more so. I would describe the situation slightly differently. The MSZP leadership may be afraid of Gyurcsány, but–more critically–they loathe him. One cannot be terribly surprised at their reaction because, after all, it was Gyurcsány who, after failing to “reform” his party, left MSZP and took along with him nine other men and women, including some former ministers and undersecretaries. It was thus that DK came into being.

E14-PM has more reason to be afraid of him because while Bajnai’s party is steadily losing voters, DK is steadily gaining. According to the latest Századvég poll, the two parties are neck to neck, each with a projected 5% of the votes. And while this 5% would be enough for DK to become a parliamentary party, E14-PM is a “party alliance” (pártszövetség) that needs 10% to qualify. A few days ago there was some vague talk about changing their status, with PM joining E14, but in the last moment PM decided that the ideological divide was simply too great. Indeed, PM is a left-wing green party while E14 is trying to move closer to the center.

It was under these circumstances that the mass demonstration took place today. Considering that the opposition parties and groups don’t have the kind of money Fidesz has at its disposal and therefore cannot pay their “supporters” to come from as far as Transylvania and the Voivodina, the crowd was still impressive. There were thousands of red MSZP flags, a few Együtt14-PM signs, and many DK signs. Some people came from the provinces on their own money since there were no buses bringing them to the capital as was the case for the enormous Fidesz crowd that gathered on Heroes’ Square.

And now I will jump ahead a bit and backtrack later. What stunned me was that the crowd almost prevented Attila Mesterházy, the last speaker, from even beginning his speech. Eventually he managed to read his prepared text, but what he said was often difficult to decipher because all through the speech the crowd chanted “Unity! Unity!”–sometimes drowning him out. It was a clear indication that the voters on the left reject the Bajnai-Mesterházy agreement. If I had been Mesterházy, I would have thrown out the speech, called all the leaders of the opposition who were present to the stage, held their hands high and said, “Yes, we understand what you want! Let’s go together. One party list, one candidate for prime minister, and then we will really win. We will work it out.”

But it seems that this is not the course that either Mesterházy or the party leadership is ready to embrace. They blame the opposition leaders, specifically Gábor Kuncze (Szabadelvű Polgári Egyesület, formerly chairman of SZDSZ) , Gábor Fodor (Magyar Liberális Párt, formerly SZDSZ chairman), Lajos Bokros (Magyarország Mozgalom, formerly MDF), and Ferenc Gyurcsány (Magyar Demokratikus Koalíció) for delivering speeches that urged unity. I heard and read comments to the effect that “Ferenc Gyurcsány hacked the demonstration.” As if it was Ferenc Gyurcsány who hired the crowd to silence Mesterházy in the name of unity.

2013 oktober 23

Source: Népszabadság / Photo by Árpád Kurucz

I’m almost certain that there was no such plan. I happen to receive all the material DK sends out to its members and supporters. Ferenc Gyurcsány urged his followers to come in great numbers, to bring DK signs, and if they come from other parts of the country to bring along signs indicating where they are from. That was all. There were lots of red MSZP flags too, and it looked to me as if many of the people holding them were also demanding unity. It wasn’t an exclusively DK lot that “hacked” Mesterházy’s speech. And if the MSZP leaders want to convince themselves of the opposite they are doing themselves a disfavor.

In the last half hour or so I received the texts of Gábor Kuncze’s and Ferenc Gyurcsány’s speeches, which I will translate tonight and post for you. I also liked Lajos Bokros’s speech very much. Even Gábor Fodor, who wasn’t my favorite in the dying days of SZDSZ, did a good job. The common theme was indeed unity as it should have been. Without unity there really is no hope against Viktor Orbán, who is already working on his “battle array” and whose soldiers stand in readiness, as he indicated in his speech. Note that Gábor Kuncze is ready to join the opposition forces without any precondition. The situation is the same with Lajos Bokros. Ferenc Gyurcsány’s story is different, but he has an ever stronger party behind him who certainly would like to have a piece of the pie.

I really wonder whether, despite all the MSZP protestations to the contrary, cooler heads will eventually prevail and the self-defeating arrangement signed yesterday will be scrapped.

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40 comments

  1. About Orbán’s sleep. I’m not as sure as Bowen is about that. Because if complete unity is achieved the chances of the opposition are much better than it would be with the present arrangement.

  2. It’s really sad that the opposition barely managed to achieve anything since last year. They claim to be a democratic force that promotes trasnparency, fairness and lawfulness, yet they try to exclude some prominent people. The feelings towards Gyurcsány are somewhat justified, but he mentioned it several times that he would step aside if that’s what needed. The fact that the members of the opposition are seemingly trying to position themselves so much, doesn’t inspire trust. I have no idea about the underlying reality behind this cheerful gathering, so unfortunately, the truth is probably darker than we’d like it to be, and Orbán’s complete overthrow wouldn’t bring us paradise either. For the average voter it seems meaningless to argue about politics now, and PM’s decision of staying independent based on ideology is plain retarded. It seems like it’s clear for everyone, except for the opposition what they should do:
    1. Choose a neutral prime minister candidate (I personally think that Bajnai would be the best man for the job, but I can be convinced that the fight for the chair is not just about power)
    2. Assign everyone to what they do best. Gyurcsány makes fiery speaches and he can bring a lot of voters, so make him campaign for the united opposition’s candidate.
    3. Neglect the political-ideological debates until after the elections, they are unimportant.

    We don’t have a lot of time until the elections, and things aren’t as bright as they could be.

  3. I may not have a very high opinion of Gyurcsány’s governing skills, but I see why he would be considered part of the unity. But Fodor and Kuncze? Seriously, what if I found a party of one, give it a fancy left-liberal name, can I speak and demand that people unite with me and thereby make me somebody?

    As Eva points out, all these other speakers were invited to dilute Gyurcsány. Of course they are not risking anything so they can say whatever they want, but this also shows how much this whole thing lacks seriousness.

    Maybe it’s just me being picky, but something was painfully lacking from these speeches. Once again that is a coherent vision of an alternative future that would be different from Orbán’s neopopulosocialnationalistic distopia.

    On top of this MSZP now declared open warfare on Gyurcsány (see Tibor Szanyi’s new freakpiece). So me as a voter should have faith that these guys could actually govern a country responsibly. Nice.

    (I apologize for being the pessimistic one all the time, I’m still for a government change, but as it is, I’m for it with blocking my nose, and that doesn’t help my enthusiasm levels.)

  4. I was there at the opposition demonstration yesterday. My impression was that it was indeed a group of DK supporters who started chanting ‘Unity!’ when Mesterhazy started his speech. But then the whole large crowd joined in (myself included).

  5. Peter :

    I was there at the opposition demonstration yesterday. My impression was that it was indeed a group of DK supporters who started chanting ‘Unity!’ when Mesterhazy started his speech. But then the whole large crowd joined in (myself included).

    Thank you, Peter, for the succinct description of what happened. Although I saw the events only on television, I couldn’t imagine that the very forceful and loud chant could come only from “300 people who were position close to the podium,” as some people tried to explain the source of the opposition to Mesterházy.

  6. So me as a voter should have faith that these guys could actually govern a country responsibly. Nice.

    Such faith has never been of any significance for left-liberals. There are 2 things they want:
    1. Power
    2. Orbán out of it.

  7. @Johnny Boy: I have explained in my post that I first attended the opposition rally (which started at 2:00 PM) on the Műegyetem rakpart. The pro-Fidesz March started at the same time/hour in Bem tér, so I couldn’t be in two different places at the same time 😦 After I left the opposition rally, I went to Deak Ferenc ter for the Jobbik rally (that was the normal decision), then I continued on Andrassy to the Heroes Square (government’s rally). But at the time I got to Andrassy, people where already at the Heroes’ Square – it was to late for me to take a picture of the huge crowd. Please believe me I didn’t like that, I really wanted to take some pictures with the big pro-government crowd. And by the way: if you have anything to say to the government, please ask them to let all the people with a camera in their hand to take photos. I don’t understand the need for ‘accreditation’ to climb on some stage for photographers in order to take a photo…

  8. Thanks, Andrei!

    I really like your pictures and I copied this text of yours to politics.hu (including the link to your post of course) – hope you don’t mind.

    “Yes, 200,000 old people brought to Budapest from all over the country and from other states as well (Slovakia, Romania, Serbia, I even saw a bus with an Ukrainian plate). And of course, why shouldn’t they come to see once again Budapest, as long as the government pays their transportation? ”

    Hey Johnnychild, why weren’t you there and took some pictures for us if you don’t like Andrei’s ?
    Ever heard of freedom of expression – or does everyone in Hungary now have to pay tribute to King Viktor ?

  9. A bad dream.
    Every anniversary is divisive.
    Since Deak, no one could unite the Hungarians.
    His moral and legal accomplishments have never been repeated.
    The 1956 uprising was a clash of opposing Hungarian sides, and not a real revolution.
    Imre Nagy tried to steer Hungary to freedom from the Soviet control.
    He was not prepared to crush the fascist forces in Hungary incited by Radio Free Europe, and the extremist emigrant circles.
    The nation was not yet cleansed from the WWII crimes, was still divided by multiple loyalties:
    Christians, Englightened intellectuals, Communists, Pagans, Nazi forces clashed.
    Peppered by chronic poverty and huge educational gaps.

    All the civil associations of Hungary can not mobilize a traumatized nation into a modern democracy.

    I can cry for Hungary, but the various factions are still on a collision course.

    Mesterhazy and the rest is so amateurish, so underqualified that they must be replaced immediately.

  10. What a situation Hungary finds itself in. After three years of unpleasantly aggressive government coupled with total incompetence and corruption, one would expect there to have evolved a coherent and credible opposition. And what do we find? The most impressive figure is Gyurcsány, who lest one forget, was prime minister for over four years during the course of which he achieved pretty much nothing, proved incapable of implementing reforms, turned a blind eye to corruption in his own party and had no qualms about running the country into the ground economically for reasons of political expediency (and the Öszöd mea culpa does not excuse him.) And this is the best the opposition can muster! Why are failed politicians like Kuncze and Fodor even still in public life? And as Eva says, Mesterházy just proved he is as ineffective as everyone deep down knows he is. And while I’m ranting, it annoys the hell out of me that this blog affects to include the MSZP in its definition of the “democratic opposition” when it is still inhabited by populist thugs like Szanyi Tibor. And Puch is still out and about and on the MSZP’s electoral list). I would exempt Bokros from criticism because he does at least have something positive on his CV but he is the only authentic “conservative” (in the fiscal sense) in the whole spectrum of Hungarian politics so he is fundamentally in opposition to everyone else, And yet, Bajnai was a capable manager so perhaps he deserves some credit but seems to be going off the rails recently as well.

    But when you consider something as simple as the Ocsa housing estate, an absolute symbol of government corruption and incompetence, why is there no one who can stand up and make a simple coherent speech about it? Nope, there is no hope! OK, I’m going out to dig the garden!!!

  11. @HiBoM

    “I’m going out to dig the garden.”

    A good solution, if you ask me.
    Sorry, HighBottom, there is no solution for Hungary and Hungarians. “You reap what you sow.” This has come home to roost–the twisted Catholicism, in league with the many years of mis-education, have created a society fearful, sheepish, monstrously envious, and incapable to think for itself (–that is, the ‘members’ of the society. As my old English teacher would’ve said, ‘Societies do not think.”)

    If all the above was not enough, the tradition of the quick payoff is endemic. As I’ve said elsewhere, I believe that Mesterhazy is in Orban’s pocket; so seen from that perspective,
    his mis-doings are not as incompetent as the respected members of this blog believe…

  12. Peter :
    I was there at the opposition demonstration yesterday. My impression was that it was indeed a group of DK supporters who started chanting ‘Unity!’ when Mesterhazy started his speech. But then the whole large crowd joined in (myself included).

    Apparently once again the interesting question is, that who started the chanting, but not, what has been chanted and the least interesting if they expressed a valid opinion or not?

    Did I get this right?

    So, the “unity” as is totally out of the picture, they who demanding it only disturbing the merry harmony among “the chosen ones”?

    Actually it seems pretty much to me, that even when the building ablaze, the most important still is what soccer-team the firemen supporting…
    Well done!

  13. I wandering, how well it came down to the cheering audience at the Heroes Square, that Orbán held his speech front of rows soldiers with bayonets on their rifles – or whatever that guns called – on a National Holiday.

    Particularly, when one considering what this part of the speech dealt with – roughly, anyway:

    “We also know that all of this could have happened, because the government power was in the hands of those, who have unscrupulously used the armed bodies of the State against their own people. We know very well, should have no doubt about it, that just as well they would shot at us today – in better case with rubber bullets – and once again would send the armed forces of the State against us.”

    (“Azt is tudjuk, hogy mindez azért történhetett, mert azok kezében volt a kormányzati hatalom, akik gátlás nélkül felhasználhatták az állam fegyveres testületeit saját népük ellen. Tudjuk jól, ne legyen kétségünk felőle, ma ismét közénk lövetnének – jó esetben gumilövedékkel –, és megint ránk vezényelnék az állam erőszakszervezeteit. “)

    Apart from the dramatic principle of Chekov’s gun, do we really need to be reminded, just in who’s hand are those guns and who’s finger is on the trigger today?

  14. András: “It seems like it’s clear for everyone, except for the opposition what they should do:”

    Really? Is that so clear? I had the impression that most people sceptical of OV remain passive observers of the situation, and consider “digging the garden” more rewarding that approaching whatever of the parties that were present at the meeting, or contributing own ideas and energy to ending Orban’s rule. Those opposition groups indeed could work harder on overcoming their differences, but as I understand they reflect how diverse the ideas of those people are that do not support Orban. (Jano’s vision, so to speak.)

    As regards the fact that people of DK apparently started this “unity” shouting. If that were true, I would think how seriously Gyurcsany’s promise to take a back seat should be taken. Apparently at least his people will just not let him do that (assuming he is capable of such restraint). Gyurcsany is “the best orator”, has “the strongest party”, “the best programme”, I wonder how cooperation on an equal and respectful basis should like with such approach.

  15. OK, I propose an opposition coalition with János Kis as the single candidate for the PM office. Raise the bet!

  16. The big question is the state of mind who still march for Orban.
    Is such blindness bought or available free of charge?
    These acts will go down as shame to the family history.

  17. To HiBOM:

    It’s not unique at all that despite the most corrupt and incompetent governance there is no credible opposition.

    In fact it is expected that the two actually often coincide in less democratic places, since the most important part of the strategy of any governing political party is neutralize its opposition. By making sure that potential discontents and entrants to politics fear for their jobs, by taking over the media (with a long-term view), rewriting the election laws so that entry into politics would be very difficult (a party needs a nationwide network from the get go, for example).

    Also, given the size of the new Parliament under the new rules a small party which receives 5-6% can expect to send exactly two (2) MPs to the Parliament. So a party leadership would essentially have to set up a national organization and make a nation-wide network work so that its two leaders get a job, while the rest of the activists will have no return whatsoever. And of course 2 people have little relevance in a 200 member Parliament.

    It is so easy. People do respond to incentives after all, maybe rational choice theory has something in it. Teachers are so easily kept mum even if their salaries were cut and would not for any money go out to demonstrate, their trade union leader is actually helping the government. Well, Fidesz has always been smart about coopting the trade unions and people only dare to demonstrate under a impotent Socialist government (the infrastructure of Fidesz to deliver a 100 thousand people anywhere within a day or two is very useful for any demonstration).

    But Fidesz started with nothing literally. Its leaders amassed an unbelievable wealth to themselves and an unbelievable power by staying focused and strategic. When party leaders come and go and factions vie for influence, long-term focus, adherence to vision and mission are naturally lost. Just like in company management. There is a lot to party democracy but if you are intent on grabbing power really tightly it’s better for the top people to remain at the top for long to make sure that along the way they can build out the media portfolio, coopt civil organizations, that these coopted organizations remain loyal etc. Until Orbán is there – and this is what lower level Fideszniks more and more realize – Fidesz is extremely powerful, will govern from opposition with its practical veto powers. If he was gone, Fidesz would disintegrate and degrade soon like MSZP, maybe slower.

    One more point to note: how party finance affects political leadership. Since party finance is really dirty and gives opportunity for personal gains as well (Orbán himself is not immune to these temptations), the current party leaders will reluctantly let other people in the position where they can get to know the sensitive stuff. So Orbán (and Simicska/Nyerges) will never ever let anybody to the top, not just because then Orbán would not be able to be the top dog, but also because it would be dangerous for them. Similarly, Mesterházy is a there in significant part because László Puch (the ex-treasurer of MSZP and still its most important money man) trusts him. Puch had to be very smart about letting anybody close to the dangerous information and he decided on Mesterhazy (though Mesterhazy seemed ambitious too). But was Mesterhazy the best choice? Well, nobody knows, but Puch would never allow another trouble-maker like Gyurcsány (with independent wealth) close to the leadership. Puch’s only interest is to make sure his ass is covered until the statute of limitations. This is the reason why he is on the MSZP election party list: immunity (which the Parliament can wave, but it is still a hurdle and subject to political negotiations).

  18. It’s not unique at all that despite the most corrupt and incompetent governance there is no credible opposition.

    In fact it is expected that the two actually often coincide in less democratic places, since the most important part of the strategy of any governing political party is neutralize its opposition. By making sure that potential discontents and entrants to politics fear for their jobs, by taking over the media (with a long-term view), rewriting the election laws so that entry into politics would be very difficult (a party needs a nationwide network from the get go, for example).

    Also, given the size of the new Parliament under the new rules a small party which receives 5-6% can expect to send exactly two (2) MPs to the Parliament. So a party leadership would essentially have to set up a national organization and make a nation-wide network work so that its two leaders get a job, while the rest of the activists will have no return whatsoever. And of course 2 people have little relevance in a 200 member Parliament.

    It is so easy. People do respond to incentives after all, maybe rational choice theory has something in it. Teachers are so easily kept mum even if their salaries were cut and would not for any money go out to demonstrate, their trade union leader is actually helping the government. Well, Fidesz has always been smart about coopting the trade unions and people only dare to demonstrate under a impotent Socialist government (the infrastructure of Fidesz to deliver a 100 thousand people anywhere within a day or two is very useful for any demonstration).

    But Fidesz started with nothing literally. Its leaders amassed an unbelievable wealth to themselves and an unbelievable power by staying focused and strategic. When party leaders come and go and factions vie for influence, long-term focus, adherence to vision and mission are naturally lost. Just like in company management. There is a lot to party democracy but if you are intent on grabbing power really tightly it’s better for the top people to remain at the top to make sure along the way to build out the media portfolio, to coopt civil organizations, to make sure they remain loyal etc.

    One point to note: how party finance affects political leadership. Since party finance is really dirty and gives opportunity for personal gains as well (Orbán himself is not immune to these temptations), the current party leaders will reluctantly let other people in the position where they can get to know the sensitive stuff. So Orbán (and Simicska/Nyerges) will never ever let anybody to the top, not just because then Orbán would not be able to be the top dog, but also because it would be dangerous for them. Similarly, Mesterházy is a there in significant part because László Puch (the ex-treasurer of MSZP and still its most important money man) trusts him. Puch had to be very smart about letting anybody close to the dangerous information and he decided on Mesterhazy (though Mesterhazy seemed ambitious too). But was Mesterhazy the best choice? Well, nobody knows, but Puch would never allow another trouble-maker like Gyurcsány (with independent wealth) close to the leadership. Puch’s only interest is to make sure his ass is covered until the statute of limitations. This is the reason why he is on the MSZP election party list: immunity (which the Parliament can wave, but it is still a hurdle and subject to political negotiations).

  19. Johnny Boy :

    Andrei Stavilă :
    And this is, as usual, my photo report on the three rallies: http://stavilaandrei.wordpress.com/2013/10/24/my-budapest-38-the-three-rallies-2013-edition/

    Nicely not even one crowd picture of Békemenet, the pro-Fidesz march, with many times (at least tenfold) more people than at all other rallies combined.

    Hey, Johnny Boy!
    I saw the Bekemenet boys and girls, but not on the streets of Hungary.
    Here in Florida we went to see World War Z–you know, the Zombie movie–and damn if those rampant, wild-eyed zombies didn’t remind me of Hungarians!!

  20. Hi Eva, I appreciate the amount of time and coverage you devote to these electoral shenanigans but don’t you think that solving the problems of Hungarian society no longer lies with the political parties themselves (who, after all, are professional manipulators of the public), or is even possible within the current political system?

    What I’m trying to get at here is that I think that the problem is the political system itself. Isn’t arguing about which party will best represent the interests of Hungarian voters like arguing about whether the sinking boat we are standing on should be painted green or orange? And the more time we spend debating about about the colour, the less effort and energy will be made towards substantially reforming the rotten institution that modern politics has become? In a way, by devoting energy debating the merits of Orban Vs Gyurcsany (or whatever combination of modern politicians are on the scene right now) we legitimise them and their game. They win by defining the frame of debate.

    What is the alternative to participation in this circus? Occupy, Anarchism, decentralised policy-making, radically curtailing political salaries and influence, socially just de-growth strategies, re-energising an independent media, personal development, etc.

    I think you are performing a wonderful and absolutely critical public service with this blog, but I fear that by getting bogged down in the nuances of the political cat-fights one risks not seeing the forest for the trees. If the current mode of politics is the problem, then the solution is probably not more of the same political BS, whatever clothes/fllags/colours it is dressed up in.

  21. @thechurchmouse, the problem is that “anarchism” doesn’t solve differential equations. Why not simply posit armed revolt and have done with it?

    @Andrei stavila, your suggestion of János Kis is interesting. You mean the former SZDSZ politician who still can contribute long, learned and for 99% of the populace, incomprehensible philosophical articles to És and the like? I can believe Kis is an honest and honorable man. But Hungary needs people who understand economics, who have had real life experience in the real world, not another dilettante philosopher. Just think of the MDF government of 1990-94 which was government by historians and proved to be utterly ill equipped to the task at hand.

  22. @Templomegér ( had to laugh at this – btw in German you’d be the Kirchenmaus …):

    Are there really no young politicians in Hungary – or just decent people who could be persuaded to enter politics ?

    Everywhere you just see the “old guard” which has a lot of baggage …

    PS:

    What really disturbs me are the many young people in Jobbik – that’s a very bad sign for the Hungarian society. In other countries like Germany these people might be part of the Greens or the Pirate Party – though I have to admit we also have a right wing opposition, but it’s not as strong.

  23. Kirsten: I think some of the things that need to be done (education, affairs of the state, health care, etc.) are obvious despite the huge diversity in “philosophies”. But what are those differences really? One has to be extremely news savvy to pick up on that (at least in words) DK is a more or less radical liberal-libertarian party and Együtt is a center-left technocratic party (the closest one to me). On the other hand I have no idea what MSZP stands for other than being twice as good and half as bad as Orbán.

    Note that the speeches (Eva translated in the next post) talk nothing else but about having to grab power at all cost because Orbán is so bad!. This might be true, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s just an alliance to grab power, as it stands the opposition is asking for a blank check! They don’t understand democracy any better than Orbán does (actually, Orbán understands it very well, he just hates it), and that is very sad.

  24. Jano: “Note that the speeches (Eva translated in the next post)” Yes, and WordPress made a mess of them by eliminating of all the paragraphs. I just managed to correct the text. This way it should be more readable.

  25. Jano, I did not mean the issues that you wrote. In that regard, it might be relatively easier to agree on some points. Although even there, in the absence of some functioning mechanism of negotiating compromises it would turn out very quickly where differences are. Very concretely: how much money do you want to spend on health care or education…

    What I meant is how to achieve that people that are either already active in some democratic opposition group or that are passive but critical, so that these people learn to cooperate (and in the latter case to become more active). What I see is that the distrust that apparently is so typical of Hungary is dominating among the opposition also. Therefore I doubted that it could be so “obvious” what has to be done when no matter what is being done the first reaction is invariably: “they do it only for their personal gain, which is why I stay sceptical and distanced”. I read the speech of Ferenc Gyurcsany, but I write my comments on today’s thread.

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