Considering that yesterday was Sunday, the Hungarian political scene was anything but quiet. First of all, there was the court decision mandating a repeat of the mayoral election in Fót, which was won by the candidate jointly supported by MSZP, Együtt 2014-PM, and DK. The reasons for the decision are flimsy and the alleged misconduct was committed in a district where it couldn’t possibly influence the outcome. But I guess the court figured that if an election won by Fidesz had to be repeated so should one won by the democratic opposition.
I don’t remember whether we discussed the decision of Gábor Fodor, who was the last chairman of SZDSZ and who established a new liberal party, to run a separate candidate in the Fót election. Fodor obviously picked a good candidate, someone who is well known and well liked in the town of 20,000 inhabitants. She received 500 votes, half of what the candidate of the other opposition parties received. Still she ended up last because, in addition to the front runner and herself, there were three other candidates: two independents, one of whom was supported by Fidesz, and a representative of Jobbik.
I was greatly surprised by the liberal candidate’s showing, especially since Fót is apparently a conservative town where I assume the word “liberal” is despised by the majority of the inhabitants. However, I wonder whether given this new turn of events, it wouldn’t be smart for the liberal candidate to support the candidate of MSZP-Együtt 2014-PM-DK in order to increase the chances of the joint candidate of the three parties. After all, Fodor wanted to test the strength of his party. He proved his point.
The other event of the day was the announcement of the main points of the Democratic Coalition’s campaign platform. Apparently, the final program that will cover about 70 or 80 topics will be ready by next February. Yesterday Ferenc Gyurcsány announced sixteen important points of DK’s program. Here I will briefly summarize these points.
1. European future: We want a European Hungary and we want to pay with euros. By 2018 we will prepare the way to be eligible for the introduction of the euro in Hungary in 2020.
2. Franchise for only those who live here: We will stop granting citizenship to those without an established residence in Hungary because it is unfair that people who don’t have to bear the consequences of their decision can determine the results of an election. Therefore only those will be able to vote who are either born Hungarian citizens or naturalized citizens who have a permanent residence in the country.
3. Separation of church and state: We will abrogate the Concordat with the Vatican and restore the complete separation of church and state in all its aspects. We will abolish the privileges of the churches and terminate subsidies for their strictly religious activities.
4. Elimination of usury: We will establish the Bank of Solidarity that will enable the truly poor to receive quick short-term loans at a reasonable interest rate.
5. Assistance to underdeveloped regions: We will create special economic zones in the most backward regions. We will stimulate the economy in these regions with tax breaks, with the expansion of public transportation, and with government investments.
6. Sustainable agrarian policy: We will re-examine the land leases hitherto granted. We will allow corporations to acquire agricultural land and emphasize animal husbandry, vegetable farming, and viticulture.
7. Tax breaks for small and medium-size companies: Depending on the number of employees, we will decrease the social security contributions of employers, which will considerably lower the burden of small and medium-size companies. It will also help to decrease the number of salaries paid under the table.
8. Fair child support: We will change the current system of tax breaks given to families with dependent children to cash support for every child. This way no children will be discriminated against. As it is now, the government gives more to those who are better off while it gives nothing to very poor families who have no taxable income.
9. New nursery schools and kindergartens: We will start a program aiming at building more nursery schools and kindergartens where payment will be a certain percentage of the family’s income.
10. English bilingual education: We will transform all elementary and high schools to bilingual institutions. From 2018 on more and more subjects will be taught in a foreign language in all schools.
11. Computers for all students: We will put a computer on every desk. Until 2018 in all schools at least part of all subjects will be taught digitally.
12. Open and accessible higher education: The first year of college or university will be open to all who pass their matriculation examination. We will give generous scholarships to those who do well and who come from financially disadvantaged families. However, everybody will pay reasonable tuition fees. The tuition fees will remain with the institution the student attends.
13. A pension system without coercion: We will abolish the compulsory retirement age and introduce a universal state pension plan based on individual accounts in which we will include the money taken away by the Orbán government from individual private pension plans. Anyone can theoretically retire after the age of 55, but naturally his/her pension will be low. Persons can retire when they think the amount of their pension reaches a point that would satisfy their needs. We will also redress the wrongdoings meted out to the disabled.
14. Modernization of half a million dwellings: We will help with considerable subsidies to all those who would like to invest in heating systems fueled by sun or wind. In addition, we will help homeowners insulate their houses and change their windows and doors. In four years we plan to assist the owners of 500,000 dwellings to change to the most modern energy systems.
15. More opportunities for women: From 2016 on one-third of the top management of state companies and companies listed on the stock exchange must be women. From 2018 on one-third of those placed on the party lists both locally and nationally must be women.
16. Instead of public television, culture: We will stop public television broadcasting. From the billions spent right now on Magyar Televízió we will support good news and cultural programs on commercial stations. Some of that money can also be used for television movies and cultural programs.
I will not comment on the program because I’d rather hear what the readers of Hungarian Spectrum think of it. But I will tell you what the Hungarian right seems to object to most: getting rid of Magyar Televízió. Although there are sixteen points, the headlines in both Magyar Nemzet and Magyar Hírlap bemoaned the outrageous idea of getting rid of MTV. Perfectly understandable. It has been for at least ten years the foremost source of Fidesz propaganda. If the present opposition by some miracle wins the next election, MTV would still remain firmly in Fidesz hands. The loss of this propaganda machine would be a serious blow to Fidesz.
And finally, one or two words about the allegations of András Horváth, former tax official, of the massive VAT fraud with the assistance of the Hungarian Tax and Customs Office. As we discussed, LMP began to collect signatures for the creation of a parliamentary committee to investigate, but MSZP members refused to sign the petition because neo-Nazi Jobbik members also signed it. But without Jobbik members there will not be enough signatures to demand the establishment of such a committee.
Initially DK’s leadership shared MSZP’s view, but then it became evident that the party membership was divided on the issue. DK has about 10,000 active members and several thousands more supporters. It was decided that the membership should vote. The yeas were in the majority and therefore this morning Csaba Molnár, deputy chairman of DK, announced that the ten DK parliamentary members will join LMP and will sign the document. They have only one demand: József Balogh’s signature cannot be on the petition. He is the former Fidesz, now independent, member of parliament who beat his wife and claimed that Terike’s fall was due solely to her unfortunate encounter with a blind komondor. So, it seems that pragmatism triumphed. Anyone who would like to know more about the split within the party on the issue should look at some of the articles that appeared on Galamus in the last three days or so. Especially the two articles by Tamás Bauer, vice chairman of DK, and Mihály Andor’s two contributions. Andor was for joining LMP regardless of Jobbik signatures and Bauer dead against it.
“Until” should be “before”
I had to chuckle when I saw windows and doors mixed in with all the other high lofty goals. I don’t see how shutting down MTV is going to win any friends left, central or right.
If all Hungarians of all shades cease whining, a happy nation can arise.
We have to find the cure to stay away from the orban like leaders.
As I listened his (Gyurcsány) comments today of these points, I wished he’d explained the same way initially. In my opinion it wasn’t really user-friendly.
As the comment above and several others during the day illustrated it, people either has difficulties to comprehend, or the tendency to misinterpret.
Actually there wasn’t a word about “shutting down MTV”, he said the state shouldn’t sponsor party-propaganda and brain-washing but rather spend those 70 billions on impartial information, education and quality entertainment.
The same effect, mind you, – the Fidesz party-propaganda must go, – but for a totally different reason.
As I see it, many of the other points needs some supplementary comment and/or explanation in order to reach the wider audience on the right way.
I will only comment on the first 4:
1) Part of Europe–clearly correct and should be a cornerstone of opposition efforts to challenge Fidesz at every oppurtunity to declare their future plans for EU membership.
It should be clearly outlined that a future without the EU means a future with Russia.
2) I think the granting of citizenship and voting rights are two different issues. Citizenship should be by standardized rules. Voting rights should be by citizenship, residency, and the paying of taxes. Of course, this shouldn’t deprive poorer members who don’t pay taxes, but that can be determined by a voter’s commission on voter eligibility.
3) Separation of Church and State should be a given in the 21st century.
4) Elimination of Usury? Is this the Middle Ages? This smacks of a hidden reference to jews. Usury is the profit on loans which is the province of all banks. If the central government wants to create an agency with easy terms in special circumstances for the poor, that’s one thing. However, they must get rid of the word, “usury” unless they wish to toddy to the anti-semitic sentiments of the majority….
But let me say this again, and not for the first time: If the opposition wants to upset the Fidiesz gravy train they must put their honour and dignity on the line: all members running
for office should sign a Probity Clause that would be backed by heavy financial penalties and jail time for ‘financial crimes against the state’. Corruption if the major danger to respectable government in Hungary.
Petofi, re usury. No, it is about Gypsies charge exorbitant 50-100% interest on a loan for a week or two.
Oh, now days we call those shylocking rates, and usually takes place in gambling circles.
By the way, modern rates are 10% per week.
The term ‘usury’ does allude to medieval times when only jews were allowed to practice money-lending. I’ve not seen that term (usury) used in modern times.
I am more or less positive on all items except #4. Without a corps of heavy handed enforcers the “Bank of Solidarity” will sink in two weeks.
Just a few weeks ago someone from Fidesz called Csany (boss of OTP) Hungary’s usurer No 1 – it was everywhere in the news …
Jews have been called lots of names in Hungary in the last three centuries , but “usurer” was not one of them, to the best of my knowledge.
Usury is a perfectly normal word in English – a little old-fashioned, perhaps, but understood by most. It has no anti-Semitic connotations at all here. Wasn’t it also a sin in Jesus’s time? He threw the money-lenders out of the Temple.
The MTV bit is weird and will sound very odd (and worrying) to outsiders. As a Brit who grew up with the BBC – Radio 4 is almost the definition of civilisation to me – I find the idea of a state without non-commercial broadcasting very unsettling. Surely it would be better to restructure MTV so that it wasn’t controlled by the state (as – theoretically – the BBC isn’t), and ensure that it presents balanced and accurate news, rather than just abolishing it because Fidesz have taken it over?
The other points are fine and would probably go down well with many non-DK/left voters, but they have shot themselves in both feet with the MTV bit, and handed Fidesz a gold-plated piece of stupidity with which to attack them. All my Fidesz-supporting family will know about this is the business of shutting down MTV.
How the man who made ‘that’ speech and paid the political price for it, apparently STILL hasn’t learnt to be more politically astute, is beyond me.
I am happy to report that the Fidesz law counter exceeded the number 800 today.
another 10 pages of changes in the electoral law 4 months before the election.
Is it the 15th rewriting since 2010? – I lost count. I expect more changes before the election, as the polls change, to ensure Fidesz victory.
Click to access 12912.pdf
If I am not mistaken, page 11, 32. § contains the extension of the retirement age of the [Fidesz-appointed] Constitutional Court judges over 70.
new concordat with the Vatican – more money to the Catholic Church
“Astuteness??” For HUNGARIANS?????
Are you kidding me or what?
All you need is to feed into the ‘worms’ in the mentality of most Magyars for electoral victory.
Re: Gyurcsany’s 16 points – good electioneering, I like them.
The only problem that Hungarian media will be almost silent about them.
Re: pettiness, Fidesz is your name –
Mr Horvath was watching the debate of the Parliament about his whistle-blowing from the balcony. He was expelled from the balcony twice.
Contra Paul. I think that getting rid of MTV is a capital idea. Hungary is not Great Britain. It doesn’t work there. Politics always played hard and fast with the public radio and television stations. .You have no idea what’s going on there.
In May 2013, Zuckenberg of Facebook said that he came to Budapest , “because of the Bitcoin”
I am reading that the person behind the Bitcoin is a certain Nick Szabo.
His grammatical peculiarisms, like “can be characterized” (jellemezhető)
indicate Hungarian mother tongue to me.
I am connecting the dots.
Was Bitcoin minted in Budapest?
Note – pecurialism is my peculiarity
The program probably sounds very good to some voters. What is missing to an analyst is the way to finance those items that need large amounts of money.
“15. More opportunities for women: From 2016 on one-third of the top management of state companies and companies listed on the stock exchange must be women. From 2018 on one-third of those placed on the party lists both locally and nationally must be women.”
also brings up a few questions:
How does a government impose who should be in the top management of a private company listed on the stock exchange? In my mind this does not make sense. I also assume that he is talking about DK’s party lists and even then, if people are to get on party lists via primary elections, how can this be implemented? And why limit it to one third?
I am a (male) feminist but I doubt that this kind of quotas can be achieved by fiat.
English bilingual education? And where would the qualified teachers come from? This would mean a REALLY major investment in teacher education, and not just language teachers, if the system is going to include the teaching of other subjects in other languages as well. And it’s not just about language skills, the whole philosophy of teaching should be reformed.
Moreover – I have been engaged in more than one debate about this, and I certainly don’t defend the stupid and scientifically totally unfounded anti-English policies (“French first”, “German first”) of Rózsa Hoffmann & Co. But this “English bilingual” ideology makes me a little worried. In many European countries teaching professionals are seriously concerned about the dominance of English threatening the diversity: in the Nordic countries, for instance, English is “The Foreign Language” and nobody knows German or French any more. (But perhaps it’s too early to worry about that as long as two thirds of the Hungarians are not able to speak any foreign language at all.)
It would be nice to hear whether any language (teaching) professionals were consulted for this plan.
If the person behind Bitcoin revealed his true identity he might end up as a Nobel laureate in economics imprisoned for tax evasion.
“Astuteness??” For HUNGARIANS?????
Are you kidding me or what?
All you need is to feed into the ‘worms’ in the mentality of most Magyars for electoral victory.
You are unfortunate, frustrated and primitive racist idiot. Go ahead! You are funny in a way.
Just question: what does it tell about this site than racists, generalizing and obviously wrong statements about large groups of people can appear and do not trigger any critical comments or even moderation. Is this kuruc.info as Soros would have made it?
Please tell me.
I am leaving this place for the brain dead. You will get nowhere. While you keep complaining and are leaving a clearly completely empty life with an empty head, others in Hungary live well because they think on something else than hatred, fanatism and finding reasons why they are better than others.The information content of this site is zero.
gdfxx: “How does a government impose who should be in the top management of a private company listed on the stock exchange?”
I think it was introduced in Sweden or Denmark. I should check.
“English bilingual education? And where would the qualified teachers come from?”
That made me pause too. Unless they encourage native speakers to come to Hungary to teach varied subjects.
There are some attractive points. I think bilingual education in English is a very good idea, for the prosaic reason that English, love it or loathe it, is the international second language of the world. And I think the world is a better place now that there is no dispute over this. Getting rid of MTV would also mean removing the only channel for cultural broadcasts. I can’t see RTL or TV2 could be expected to broadcast operas or orchestral performances, for example and I think Hungary would be a lot poorer without the options that MTV provides. But it would require proper management (from outside Hungary) and it is hard to see how it could be turned around. But from a PR point of view, I think it will dismay a lot of people. The commitment to join the Euro is idiotic and even if it was a good idea (and it currently isn’t), it would need a total transformation of Hungary’s economy which will take more than 5 years. The
The problem with list is that it is well intentioned and sends out a message to other well intentioned people whose votes are assured. It doesn’t really sell the DK as a political force, other than to people who would naturally vote for it (or a party similar in spirit.) But perhaps that is not the purpose of this list.
Regarding the VAT fraud committee, DK and MSZP have done nothing to dispel the suspicion that they are dragging their feet because these abuses were perhaps going on under their own stewardship. That may or may not be true, but that is the impression they are creating in front of a population who expect the worst from their politicians.
Germany will introduce a 30% quota next year, as the CDU and SPD finally agreed last month.
And France voted in 2011 a 40% women quota for boards (of companies either publicly listed or exceding 500 employees/50 M€ assets) by 2017. Belgium, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands also have such dispositions – which will most likely become EU law next year.
About women’s quota. I very much doubt that in Hungary one could raise the number of women in political life without quotas.
This might be harder to achieve in politics… Board appointments tend to be steadier than candidate nominations for elections.
There’s also the question of sanctions. While there’s no evidence that more women on company boards decrease profit, a political party may deem more effective financially to secure its male candidates, and pay the fines for non-compliance…
The German Green party has a simple rule:
Whenever there’s an election or a proposal for a list of candidates somewhere, the first person on that list must be a woman, then appears a man, a woman again and so on …
However among us Schwabs we have election where you can delete someone from that list and give the vote to another person (up to 3 votes are possible) and with some elections you can even add a person from another list – that gets very complicated, so most people don’t change the list at all.
So in general that guarantees almost 50 % female representatives from the Greens at least …
To Steven #20
The DK program is good, and the message must be a knock out for Orban. The slogans must deflate this monster.
The Stevens #20 of Hungary believe that Petofi’s words are not only magyarellenes, but an insults against his noble race, the good and decent Hungarians.
The Stevens of Hungary are mostly decent people, who see another few decent people around them in Hungary, and therefore assign a perfect mark to Hungary based on a narrow survey.
The same Stevens read a few ugly stories about the oppositions, and suddenly there is a deplorable group of Hungarians, but they are outside of the decent society, and will not count as the pure race of Hungarians.
It is too hard to wake up these Stevens.
It is not easy to mobilize these Stevens against a kurucinfo, orban, horthy or other crooks.
Meanwhile on Planet Hungary …
And Now for Something Completely Different! – Monty Phyton
Yet another stadium! Whoohoo! At this time in Szeged! Lobbied by the Catholic bishop Laszlo Kiss-Rigo. Estimated 3 billion HUF. The Hungarian Soccer association has already contributed 700 million.
Ah, my poor boy. You may hate me, after all my submissions are heavily laden with irony and mockery, but you betray your lack of perspicacity by damning the whole site.
For myself, I do my share of “holding the mirror up to Nature” (Shakespeare); but there are many other intelligent, straightforward, fact-laden submissions that a normal person ought to appreciate.
So my advice to you is: shed that armour of ‘Hungarian dignity’ and see the situation for what it is. Hungarian society is now paying the price for many years of self-delusion, and mis-education. The way back is hazardous and certainly does not lie in the direction of Hungarian Pride and superciliousness.
My suggestion to you, Sir Steven, is that you continue reading this blog and try on a new coat of humility….
Equal opportunity in the Orban dictatorship.
Since 18??, judges retired in Hungary at the age 70. This was the rule under emperor Franz Joseph, under Horthy, Rakosi, Kadar, and also in the Hungarian Republic (1990-2010)
Orban forced 200+ judges to retire at 62.
From yesterday, a Fidesz appointed 69-year old judge can serve in the Constitutional Court until 81.
The EU is satisfied.
Like Petofi, Steven over-generalizes about a group of people.
I have Hungarian friends, family, and I deeply identify as Hungarian even though I was raised in the US. My views tend towards the left and I am highly critical of the current Hungarian government.
Petofi’s broad anti-Hungarian statements do bother me and the same types of statements made towards other ethnic group are not tolerated on this forum. He sometimes makes interesting observations, but since he too often peppers them with insults, I have stopped reading his comments.
I would also like to see some push-back against his prejudicial comments. His style distracts from the overall high quality of discourse on this blog. I also believe it turns away some people who would otherwise benefit from the information shared on this blog. But Steven is complete BS when he claims this is the Soros equivalent of Kuruc.
@petofi – I guess, the issue you mentioned last time came up in the “The Merchant of Venice”, In my opinion its totally irrelevant regarding the program of DK.
What I know is, that there are people – particularly in the North-Western part of Hungary – who lend out money on exponentially increasing interest to the ones in desperate need, indebting them for ages without the chance to ever come out of it – this is the reason of this point, since this is effecting whole villages, thousands – or more – of people.
Generally, I think the program need some more polish, needs to be formulated in simpler terms in order to be digestible to the general public.
By the way, have anybody seen anything about it on one of the public television channels, what the DK will abolish in its present form?
Just wondering about how the duty of informing the society fulfilled.
Your assumption is correct – to a point. While “nobody knows German or French” – those Germans and French speaks English too nowadays, so there is a “common” platform of understanding – in my experience, that is.
Otherwise you’d be surprised to learn, that how many people in those Nordic countries speaks a passable third language, mostly Spanish and German, but many French and Italian too, and they get around quite well with it.
However, the dominance of English isn’t something what entirely positive, after all language-hegemony never helped to cultural diversity, but what the alternatives are in the computer-age?
If we are at it, let me tell you, that the computer terminology in Hungarian sounds completely preposterous to me, since I’ve learned the whole thing in English about twenty years ago, and honestly, I have no idea most of the time, what are they talking about, whenever I meet someone and speak about computer stuff. Life is hard, you see.
spectator: If we are at it, let me tell you, that the computer terminology in Hungarian sounds completely preposterous to me, since I’ve learned the whole thing in English about twenty years ago, and honestly, I have no idea most of the time, what are they talking about, whenever I meet someone and speak about computer stuff.
Same here. Just this morning I was trying to explain things to my totally computer illiterate cousin. I didn’t succeed but when she informed me what three possibilities she could choose from I had no idea what those terms could possibly mean.
Bravo! (really) – regarding the the Democratik Koalicio’s new 16 point proposed action plan.
I LIKE IT very much first and foremost because its BRIEF and TO THE POINT.
Til now only Fidesz speaks in everyday common cenceptual terms.
Finally we have BRIEF and SIMPLE stuff to go for. At long last.
A minor quibble is the silly two-language educational system. Inappropriate and unfeasible. Easier to eliminate half of the translation of movies on TV. And more effective for the youngsters.
As far as Gyurcsány’s quirky personality…:
Gyurcsany would be wise to hand over the leadership role to Vadai Ágens who is the only colorful and effective personality and wise personality in the Hungarian political sphere. Automatically she could garner a win by getting the female vote!!!
Gyurcsány then could operate as a wiser ’eminence grise’ from the background as strategist and let Vadai Ágnes take the reins.
—- In the above case I would see the DK as the only viable alternative to Fidesz – and they just might get a fighting chance.
Re the discussion about computerese in comments no 35 and 36 – the latter by Eva – you think you got it tough, eh?! Well I began the stuff 35+ years ago in the US with the British Sinclair, a-do-it-yourself kit with British-English instructions, a computer I won at an early computer fair in Boston. The operating system and the programs were American-English run off of my portable sound cassette-tape-recorder containing no sound of music but stuffed chock-full-o-hushed-bits and bytes. ‘The monitor’ then was my then 20 year-old b/w CRT television-set that had a bad case of mis-alignment déjá-vu to start with. If you were lucky, you could crunch a few simple numbers or write a bit of text and save that on some hard-to find-again spot on some cassette lying around somewhere..
A few years later around the mid-80s I found myself in French-speaking Geneva, Switzerland… where for the Macintosh 64 Kbyte machine if you wanted one with an English Querty keyboard, you had to have it flown in from the USA.
We were a small group of stalwarts at the CERN micro-club (that’s the nuclear research sincro-cyclotron establishment where the Internet was conceived ten years later) and we mixed and matched bilingual systems and applications (no hard disk just then) in dual laguages: English and French… with the talk being bilinugal in the technical sense as well. In addition we were tasked with beta-testing the then v 0.31 of Mac-Draw and other programs, using bare-bones instruction manuals in pre-editorial hand-annotated stages flown in from Cupertino, California.
As personal computing advanced we were using materials printed and talked about in German, Italian as well as the French and English of course. And then comes Hungary. Years later. And Ms Windows and systems and applications mixed in English and HUNGARIAN techie language.
Have you ever tried to speak with a Hungarian Systems Administrator?
You think the aloofness of Fidesz is discriminatory?…
You aint tried nothin’ til you’ve attempted to get some sense out of a Hungarian Techie!!!!
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