Perhaps there is a ray of light: Unity has large reserves

About a week ago I read an interesting article about János Lázár campaigning in Algyő, a large village near Szeged. There seemed to be little interest in Lázár. The room was half empty. Lázár assumed that the older inhabitants of the village of 5,000 were attracted to social democracy and expressed his sorrow that the Hungarian left was unable to create a real social democratic party. Instead, he offered Fidesz as an alternative. He must have had his doubts about the intentions of his audience, however, because he said that they don’t have to vote for Fidesz as long as they vote for him. He even suggested that the people of Algyő might actually split their votes: they can vote for him and still cast their second ballot for the list of Unity. Then he talked about his visit to another village in the district where “when I was talking about Fidesz, people in the audience made faces and held their heads. I told them: I’m telling you straight, don’t vote for Fidesz, vote for me. I don’t like everything Fidesz does.” How low can you go? And why?

This scene, I think, says a lot about how some of the highest ranking members of Fidesz, like Lázár, actually think about their chances at the election. On the surface everything looks just fine. Fidesz leads in all the public opinion polls even as the opposition is languishing. Very few people are sanguine about the chances of Unity winning the election. A lot of readers of Hungarian Spectrum have already buried the opposition and are convinced of Fidesz victory. I agree that the data are for the most part depressing, but perhaps there is a ray of light.

Let me call attention to the more optimistic signals from the last Ipsos poll (February 13). This is the first time that the possible voters of the opposition parties–MSZP, DK, Együtt-2014-PM, and the Liberal Party–were asked whether they would vote for the united opposition. It is true that the numbers didn’t increase, but it did show that the voters followed their party leaders and lined up dutifully behind Unity. So, all the angst over Ferenc Gyurcsány’s presence on the ticket resulting in lost votes seems to have been misdirected.

On the other hand, people now complain that the new agreement among these parties didn’t immediately bring spectacular results. I am not surprised. Until that agreement the party leaders spoke with different voices. They campaigned under their own logos. In fact, there is still no common joint action and no joint campaign slogans. This is what Gábor Kuncze complained about yesterday on Egyenes beszéd. The campaign staff should hand out common campaign slogans to the politicians of Unity. Let’s hope that this will be done soon. In any case, even with better campaign tactics, one can’t expect immediate results. Or at least this is what Tibor Zavecz of Ipsos said in his interview.

Just looking at the numbers, Fidesz indeed leads the way with 30% as opposed to Unity’s 23% among the whole electorate. But, of course, we cannot forget about Jobbik, which has grown from 6% to 9% in a month. And of those who are certain that they will vote on April 6, Fidesz and Jobbik voters are much more gung-ho about voting for their favorite parties. While in the electorate as a whole Fidesz would get only 30% of the votes, among the active participants that number is 51% as opposed to 33% for Unity voters.

One could say that this is truly depressing, but then why did Tibor Zavecz say that “the opposition has tremendous reserves”? Well, 36% of the electorate still remains undecided. Among them are those who will not vote regardless, those who are secretive, and those who are truly undecided. This is a large crowd of about 1 million people and we know from other opinion polls that 52% of the people would like to see Viktor Orbán and Fidesz go. If Unity can inspire these 1 million people to go and vote, the election can be won.

Mind you, the present government is doing everything in its power to make sure that anti-Fidesz votes, especially from abroad, are reduced to practically nothing. Those with a domicile in Hungary have to register to vote at Hungarian embassies or consulates in the country of their current residence. I received several reports that the authorities are throwing back applications because, according to them, the information provided was not complete or was inaccurate. One person was denied registration because he wrote Balmazujváros instead of Balmazújváros as his birthplace. The fact is, believe it or not, that the electoral law specifies that the lack of an acute accent is grounds for a denial of registration. Then in the United States they sent out wrong information about the date of voting while in England the wrong address was specified.

On the other hand, new citizens from neighboring Romania and Serbia are being sought after. Already a sizable amount of money has been spent on government propaganda, including personalized letters sent by the prime minister urging them to vote. And then there is the pressure applied by local Fidesz bosses, which is especially successful with the vulnerable such as people on public work, to vote for Fidesz.

Szalóczi G

All in all, Unity has to win big to counterbalance all the advantages of the government party. I saw a very funny picture of a Unity politician campaigning. Since the poor man has no possibility of putting out his campaign literature, he brought a ladder, climbed up on it, and held up a sign. He stayed there for a whole hour in 32 degree weather. Well, one must have imagination in Orbán’s Hungary to overcome obstacles.

52 comments

  1. “All in all, Unity has to win big to counterbalance all the advantages of the government party.”

    Tantamount to an admission that Fidesz-Jobbik has this ‘election’ sewn-up. We all know that there is no chance of Unity
    “winning big”.

  2. Actually, listening to Gyurcsany’s masterful speech, I can see Unity having a good chance.
    I believe that Orban, having seen that speech, was probably curled up in a corner popping his
    pills…

  3. Lumpy Lang :
    Sorry, a bit off topic but might be of interest to some readers here.
    http://www.thestar.com/yourtoronto/education/2013/10/06/parkdale_schools_mourn_deported_roma_students.html

    Dear Lumpy Lang,
    I am very familiar with this situation, and very saddened by it. The schools they are mentioning are not the only ones who lost their students. Further west in Etobicoke there are also some schools..
    I think who should really need to read this is not us, but the Orban government, and to be fair the head of past Hungarian governments. All the scepticism about how the Roma can integrate, and so forth, and the Jobbik’s created hysteria is just that, a hysteria. Put teachers in that do care about heir students, put extra efforts into education versus building stadiums, find the programs that can engage a community and everyone wins. One kid could not wait to go for boxing classes, and other girl was elected to Student Parliament, the other kids learned to read in English. In five years, a school board achieved more then a whole country in 25.

  4. Lumpy Lang, thanks for the link. It was a very depressing article, in the US Canada seems so tolerant in comparison to our immigration situation. It was sad to see that like the US, Canada is cracking down on immigration rules.

  5. Lumpy Lang :
    Sorry, a bit off topic but might be of interest to some readers here.
    http://www.thestar.com/yourtoronto/education/2013/10/06/parkdale_schools_mourn_deported_roma_students.html

    Very sad indeed.

    In Hungary nobody expects much from Roma children,and they are treated accordingly, which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. As we could see from the article, the potential in these kids is there.

    There is a classic study on this (called the Pygmalion effect) by Rosenthal and Jacobson who showed how teacher expectations can influence students achievement.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pygmalion_effect

  6. An, It is interesting that you brought that up (Pygmalion effect), as I was just thinking the same. In my younger daughter’s school there is a Principal Award at each report card period. The Principal Award is given to students who have no marks below 80%. At the first semester students were not aware of the award, and only two students from my daughter’s grade got the award. All the students were surprised when my daughter and an other child received the award, but by the next semester there were over fifteen students. At the same time I learned that some kids are totally stressed out about getting on the Principal List and so with other parents we asked that the award would be replaced with the Honorary Award (average 80%). It will be interesting to see by the end of the year how many students still achieve 80% minimum in every subject.

  7. Paul :
    “All in all, Unity has to win big to counterbalance all the advantages of the government party.”
    Tantamount to an admission that Fidesz-Jobbik has this ‘election’ sewn-up. We all know that there is no chance of Unity
    “winning big”.

    What is it that gets into the sinews of a large proportion of Hungarians to make them this depressingly defeatist? Does it make you happy dear Paul not only to feel this miserable, but spread it to all and sundry? I don’t know where you live or whether you are Hungarian at all, but have you never seen election results that have produced surprises? And not only in little, unimportant countries like Hungary. How about Canada’s federal elections some 20 or so years ago, when the until then government party was reduced to 2 MP’s? Nobody expected that either and April 6th can be similar. I wholeheartedly agree with Prof. Balogh the undecideds are too large to be sure of anything yet. Even if a big chunk of them will not get out to vote. Even if the playing field is mightily tilted towards the Fidesz.

    The key is now to get a program, some good, simple slogans and a very public show of real dynamic, positive campaigning to address those undecideds. Attract and enthuse them and anything can happen! If you and those like you cannot join in this enthusiasm, at least keep quiet not to detract from those that might try a better tactic between now and 6th April!

  8. Opinion polls can be wrong, especially those that are reported in the press, In some circles it’s probably more socially acceptable to admit to all kinds of sexual deviancies than say you’re going to vote for one of the Unity parties (one of our friends told us that, as a Christian, the only choices open to her were Fidesz or Jobbik – say whaaat?).
    There are all kinds of additional questions you can ask about respondents’ previous voting history to see how committed the “Undecideds” are likely to be to voting at all or to a party but I doubt if those questions are used in the public polls. Judging by their activities, I suspect that Fidesz reckon the results are likely to be a lot closer than their loyal supporters think, and Unity are getting upbeat, because of their own private, more insightful polls.

  9. petofi :

    Actually, listening to Gyurcsany’s masterful speech, I can see Unity having a good chance.
    I believe that Orban, having seen that speech, was probably curled up in a corner popping his
    pills…

    He is a great speaker. No doubt about it. Even those who are not exactly fond of him have to admit it. His timing is perfect which makes him so effective a speaker.

  10. lutra lutra :
    Opinion polls can be wrong, especially those that are reported in the press, In some circles it’s probably more socially acceptable to admit to all kinds of sexual deviancies than say you’re going to vote for one of the Unity parties (one of our friends told us that, as a Christian, the only choices open to her were Fidesz or Jobbik – say whaaat?).
    There are all kinds of additional questions you can ask about respondents’ previous voting history to see how committed the “Undecideds” are likely to be to voting at all or to a party but I doubt if those questions are used in the public polls. Judging by their activities, I suspect that Fidesz reckon the results are likely to be a lot closer than their loyal supporters think, and Unity are getting upbeat, because of their own private, more insightful polls.

    Lutra. Enjoyed that “Say whaaaat?” Absolutely correct. As one belongs to some form of religious group or prayer group out of some need, or dependence, this need to belong is met with acceptance at a price –one must also oppose others, usually along political lines. So although the election observers may see nothing irregular to report at the poles, if they went to the churches and houses of prayer, they will find things troublesome in lack of separation of church and state. I think it would be seen as disruptive in the West for exhortations on “give us this day our daily bread” from the pulpit to be accentuated by activists handing out political fliers to the congregation.

  11. Usually, I am not a big fan of the American Nepszava, as it is way to extreme to my liking, but I just loved this little article published today. (Since it is only available in Hungarian, I cannot just simply insert the link. I am providing the English translation.)

    I share the enthusiasm of JGrant, who above wrote “The key is now to get a program, some good, simple slogans and a very public show of real dynamic, positive campaigning to address those undecideds. Attract and enthuse them and anything can happen!”

    So here is part of the article:
    If after 24 years of sleep someone would wake-up in 2014 [in Hungary], s/he would come across the following:
    – Onetime members of the KISZ (Young Communists) and MSZP (Communist Party), young communists are controlling the country,
    – Our Party and our government are waging a victorious battle against the declining western imperialism,
    – Our Prime Minister travels to Moscow, and agree with the former KGB officer general secretary about the perpetual expansion of Paks,
    – The modern Patriotic Front organized a parade for the unbreakable Soviet-Hungarian friendship,
    – We are nationalizing and centralizing,
    – The Party Congress has decided to further overhead reduction, we’re just a thought away 3.60’s [forint] bread.
    – The candidates of the opposition are being filmed from black cars at the regional by-elections.

    http://nepszava.com/2014/02/magyarorszag/kis-sertett-jarja-be-magyarorszagot.html

  12. JGrant :

    Paul :
    “All in all, Unity has to win big to counterbalance all the advantages of the government party.”
    Tantamount to an admission that Fidesz-Jobbik has this ‘election’ sewn-up. We all know that there is no chance of Unity
    “winning big”.

    What is it that gets into the sinews of a large proportion of Hungarians to make them this depressingly defeatist? Does it make you happy dear Paul not only to feel this miserable, but spread it to all and sundry? I don’t know where you live or whether you are Hungarian at all, but have you never seen election results that have produced surprises? And not only in little, unimportant countries like Hungary. How about Canada’s federal elections some 20 or so years ago, when the until then government party was reduced to 2 MP’s? Nobody expected that either and April 6th can be similar. I wholeheartedly agree with Prof. Balogh the undecideds are too large to be sure of anything yet. Even if a big chunk of them will not get out to vote. Even if the playing field is mightily tilted towards the Fidesz.
    The key is now to get a program, some good, simple slogans and a very public show of real dynamic, positive campaigning to address those undecideds. Attract and enthuse them and anything can happen! If you and those like you cannot join in this enthusiasm, at least keep quiet not to detract from those that might try a better tactic between now and 6th April!

    HEAR HEAR: DOWN WITH DANUBIAN DEFEATISM!

    JGrant and Professor Balogh are so right! The only purpose served by the moans of dismal defeatism is to encourage passivity and fatalism.

    What Fidesz (and Jobbik) are perpetrating is an abomination, not just for Hungarians but the entire democratic and justice-seeking world.

    Those who have nothing more useful to say than “it’s hopeless” should just hold their peace, unless they are interested in becoming part of the problem rather than the solution.

    Of course Fidesz & Jobbik can be defeated: the truth about their vile machinations has to be told, with one voice, by the political opposition as well as all other decent voices in Hungary and abroad. Fidesz’s media control is far from absolute. Their FUD fog can be penetrated.

    (The influence of Hungarian Spectrum itself should not be underestimated; nor the intelligence, charisma and communicative power of Ferenc Gyurcsany, who, as Orban knows better than anyone, is the best equipped to expose and topple him — which is precisely why he is the focus of Fidesz’s foul relentless FUD-slinging.)

    I propose a moratorium on defeatism in Hungarian Spectrum until after the election. If you have something pessimistic to say, write it down for your self, date it, and post it after the election. Till then, let’s focus on a variant on Bambi’s dictum:

    “If you can’t say nothin’ nice to help topple Orban, don’t say nothin’ at all!”

  13. Alright, so let us not despair and mobilise for this one election. But given the huge scepticism on the part of the average voter, will some slogans suffice? What can people expect from a government of Unity? Has that been clarified already? So far I have read here that the average voter does not consider “political rights” important while he/she loves rezsicsökkentes. So what else than stirring speeches of Ferenc Gyurcsany and a continuation of the accusations between left and right can be expected should the opposition take over government?

  14. Stevan Harnad writes: “(The influence of Hungarian Spectrum itself should not be underestimated; nor the intelligence, charisma and communicative power of Ferenc Gyurcsany, who, as Orban knows better than anyone, is the best equipped to expose and topple him — which is precisely why he is the focus of Fidesz’s foul relentless FUD-slinging.)”

    Well, this is very true. Since I am reading it the Spectrum turned me against almost everything the blog markets. I was not very interested in Hungarian politics at the time I started reading this blog; but it made me look into the issues discussed and found that it is part of a (seemingly coordinated) attack against Hungary (at times, collectively against all Hungarians) and the collective moaning of those who were pushed away from the trough.

  15. Very good comment of Louis. Not because his comment were in any way correct but because he repeats so well what is the approach to politics that makes any change for the better in Hungary unlikely. Why is politics only about “troughs” and revenge for being “pushed away from the trough”? And what can the opposition offer to make people believe that it is ALSO about more general issues?

  16. Kirsten :

    Why is politics only about “troughs” and revenge for being “pushed away from the trough”? And what can the opposition offer to make people believe that it is ALSO about more general issues?

    General issue is not the word I would use. Vital issues would be perhaps better. The question before the Hungarian voters is whether they want to live in an autocratic state whose leaders rob the country blind and who destroy the small vestiges of democracy that have developed in the last twenty-five years or not. Four more years like that and we will be back in Horthy’s Hungary in more than one way.

  17. Louis, you never cease to amuse me:
    “part of a (seemingly coordinated) attack against Hungary”

    Coordinated by – don’t tell me, I’m sure you mean those Elders of Zion, or was it the Bilderbergers? or?

    Typical for you right-wing loonies is : against Fidesz = against Hungary (and all Hungarians – especially my lovely wife …)

    Why does that remind me of McCarthy’s “Unamerican …”?

    Some1 madde a list of things going on in post 13 – hey, that’s an unlucky number!

    Any comment on those?
    Are you also a big fan of Putin and hate the EU and the USA?

    Questions, questions …

    PS: I just read
    ” people who engage in trolling are characterized by personality traits that fall in the so-called Dark Tetrad: Machiavellianism (willingness to manipulate and deceive others), narcissism (egotism and self-obsession), psychopathy (the lack of remorse and empathy), and sadism (pleasure in the suffering of others).”
    Sounds familiar?
    http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/climate_desk/2014/02/internet_troll_personality_study_machiavellianism_narcissism_psychopathy.html

  18. Eva S. Balogh :

    petofi :
    Actually, listening to Gyurcsany’s masterful speech, I can see Unity having a good chance.
    I believe that Orban, having seen that speech, was probably curled up in a corner popping his
    pills…

    He is a great speaker. No doubt about it. Even those who are not exactly fond of him have to admit it. His timing is perfect which makes him so effective a speaker.

    Not to forget, that being able to think parallel while speaking, concentrating on more than one thing at the same time needs some serious brain-power too.
    As opposed to his present day counterpart, who is – in better days – able to read nearly flawlessly. This isn’t that bad, considering, that not everyone has the same possibility, but still way to go, Viktor!

  19. What Louis “fights against” is really Fidesz. He just does not know it or more so he is in denial. Louis represents on this blog the general Fidesz fan mentality, and their unwavering confusion with he facts.
    – He is dreading the communists, who are lurking in all shapes an forms. -> Most ex-communists are in Fidesz.
    – There is a conspiracy against Hungary to bring it down economically. -> Orban’s Fidesz friends are getting richer by the minute at the expense of Hungarians.
    – Communists or their successors are the enemies. ->No head of states cosied up so much to the Chinese and Putin as Orban.
    – Socialists will take over the country at the expense of Hungarians. -> Orban took away private retirement savings (and very much it is gone), nationalized the land ( then gave it to his buddies), took away private businesses without paying a penny (Trafikmutyi) then distributed to his friends, and the list goes on.
    – The education system will suffer. -> Well, as we know, the Hungarian government screwed up the value of Hungarian education so much that the government has two year to shape up our higher education or Hungarians could flash down their degrees in the toilet.

    The lists remind me of a poem by Tamko Sirato Karoly, we had to learn as kids. Sorry it is in Hungarian, but the title says it all: Should I continue?

    Tamkó Sirató Károly: Mondjam még?

    Volt egy dongó,
    meg egy légy,
    tovább is van,
    mondjam még?
    – Mondjad!

    Volt egy molnár,
    meg egy pék,
    tovább is van,
    mondjam még?
    – Mondjad!

    Volt egy asztal,
    meg egy szék,
    tovább is van,
    mondjam még?
    – Mondjad!

    Volt egy kantár,
    meg egy fék,
    tovább is van,
    mondjam még?
    – Mondjad!

    Ha neked ez
    nem elég,
    öleld meg a
    kemencét!
    Bumm!

  20. Louis, I really appreciate your comment, regarding your awakened interest by the HungarianSpectrum about Hungarian politics. I really do.
    I’d like to recommend a test, though, try to read it at least once without preconceptions, and see, what happens!
    I was also considering to recommend to you, that try to figure out one viable reason, why would a couple of dozen people with different cultural- national- ethnic- and political background, scattered all around the globe conspire against Orbán, but I decided against it.
    Why should I disturb the equilibrium of your mind with such question, wouldn’t you agree?
    After all, you made up your mind about “the truth and only the truth” so the facts has no relevance anymore.
    And anyway, even the Bible states, that “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”(Matthew – chapter 5 – verse 3)
    So be it, Louis.

  21. Previously someone wrote about conspiracy theories and trolling: Both are very heavily featured in the news today. Not unrelated to the topic we talked about yesterday.

    http://comment.blog.hu/2014/02/16/nekiestek_az_atv-nek_a_dk-s_trollok_beduzzogott_a_musorvezeto

    http://media.mandiner.hu/cikk/20140216_somogyi_zoltan_nem_kritizalom_a_kormanyt_amig_a_dk_nem_ker_bocsanatot_az_atv_tol

    http://varanus.blog.hu/2014/02/16/feribeszed_ferista_forradalom

    http://cink.hu/somogyi-zoltant-betamadtak-a-gyurcsanyista-trollok-1523846738

    http://444.hu/2014/02/16/somogyi-zoltan-megijedt-a-gyurcsanyistaktol-es-inkabb-nem-kritizalja-tovabb-aktivan-a-kormanyt/

    For those not willing to read the several hundred comments on this topic, it is about yesterday’s Gyurcsany speech, broadcast on ATV and the conspiracy theories surrounding it. An ATV anchor, Zoltan Somogyi was trolled so hard on air, that he decided to announce some type of boycott until he gets an apology from DK.

  22. wolfi :

    A bit OT – on the series of murders of Roma and what the Hungarian government has done to help the survivors – nothing, no help, none of the promised money …
    http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/roma-morde-in-ungarn-das-elend-der-opfer-a-952505.html

    Sorry, it’s in German – but there’s also a video.

    I am very glad that you call attention to German articles because I try to read something in German every day in order to keep up my not so swift German.

  23. @Mr. Paul.I understand that Somogyi is unhappy but I don’t see why DK should apologize. Surely, it wasn’t the party leadership that sent people to phone ATV and complain.

  24. Eva S. Balogh :
    @Mr. Paul.I understand that Somogyi is unhappy but I don’t see why DK should apologize. Surely, it wasn’t the party leadership that sent people to phone ATV and complain.

    Yes that seemed odd to me too. I think Somogyi lost his cool, due to the amount of abuse he had to take. So he demands something that is unreasonable just to show he is really upset. He was very staunchly anti-Fidesz in the past. So accusations to the contrary probably hurt his feelings I would guess.

  25. I guess this would come as a relief – I mean if Somogyi will boycott the phone-in program – he shouldn’t ever participate in it in my opinion. I really sorry, but I have to say that it isn’t his field of expertise. Why don’t he just do what he actually can instead?
    So, boycott me, dear you’re welcome!

  26. For all fans of Rogers & Hammerstein: Happy, happy, happy talk!

    But I’m afraid I don’t buy into the concept of this election being up for grabs *before* all the other factors relating to suffrage. And the eventual result will, of course, be inseparable from the media and advertising barrage of the last three years. We’ll never know the true extent of the ‘fix.’ But put it this way, Fidesz did enough in 2002 to give them an extra 4% or so, I’d guess… and they still lost.

    What are the realistic positives which we may expect to see on the morning of April 7th?

    Firstly, I really think there is a chance that Fidesz could be practically eliminated from most of the Pest side of Budapest. OK, they are really squatters in these places, but still, this will give some heart. The Fidesz vote in much of Buda will remain strong, so I wouldn’t bet on the result for Budapest overall, but there’s a distinct possibility that the opposition will top both Fidesz and Jobbik in Budapest itself. I can’t actually imagine District XIV or VIII turning out to vote for Fidesz this time. I may be wrong, but…

    Secondly, on a related subject, Jobbik is set to stagnate or decline as a result of its proximity/co-dependence on Fidesz, which has neutered a lot of the aggression from which it thrived back in 2010. This has got to be good news.

    Thirdly, the results in Budapest should place the opposition on a good footing to find a decent candidate (NOT the losers from 2010) who can start to show what an alternative administration to Fidesz might look like, and show that real progress has been made since the mediocre tenure of Gabor Demszky.

    There will, no doubt, be more things that turn up, both good and bad, but these are some of the more likely IMO.

  27. wolfi writes: “Coordinated by – don’t tell me, I’m sure you mean those Elders of Zion, or was it the Bilderbergers? or?

    Typical for you right-wing loonies is : against Fidesz = against Hungary (and all Hungarians – especially my lovely wife …)

    Why does that remind me of McCarthy’s “Unamerican …”?”

    Re the first part, I have stated that the coordination is by those who were pushed away from the trough regardless of religious or ethnic backgrounds.

    On the second, I advise you to read up on McCarthy….he was more right than wrong.

  28. Louis, most of us, the commenters of this blog, have been living abroad for at least 20 years. How on earth are we benefiting financially from criticizing the Orban government? What pork barrel? Has it ever crossed your mind that we really worry about the democracy in Hungary? Or that’s impossible because there is nothing wrong with the democracy … ? OK, If I’m in for the money then why aren’t you?

  29. “If you can’t say nothin’ nice to help topple Orban, don’t say nothin’ at all!””

    Hmmm…well, Ok, then.

    “Firstly, I really think there is a chance that Fidesz could be practically eliminated from most of the Pest side of Budapest.”

    I live in the one of the more “gritty” parts of District 7 and I have to say that our Fidesz MP has been conspicuous in her absence from the streets compared to the campaign last time.

    “Unity” and more ominously Jobbik have had numerous activists out at the Garay Piac and round Keleti for the last four weekends or so.

    In contrast, plenty of tax-payer funded posters for the regime but not one Fidesznik in sight actually on the streets or popping round the doors. Again, a big change on last time and not one caused, I believe, by overconfidence. At this stage unless the regime’s apparachiks and locally get their act together,

    So, I would cautiously predict a Fidesz defeat due to an increased Jobbik vote and a narrow victory for democracy at least in District 7. In the rest of the city I haven’t got a clue but as far as I can see, Tarlos is uniformly despised by anyone with at least one fully functioning brain cell. The mayoral election later on will be very interesting.

    Re the opinion polls, the under-current of fear engendered by Orban and his bully-boys should not be underestimated. If you work in the public sector you are not going to admit voting against the regime- what kind of hidden democrats are we talking about there 5? 10%?

  30. Yesterday I mentioned that János Lázár urged voters to vote for him. They can split their votes. They don’t have to vote for Fidesz. And now, Orbán in his speech today didn’t mention Fidesz once. What can that possibly mean?

  31. It means that in the Hungarian election system there are two votes. One for a party and one for an individual candidate. In many cases these votes will be split. Let’s say that we have an LMP voter called Anikó. Anikó wants LMP to beat the 5% treshold so she is committed to giving the party vote to them. But in terms of the individual district, Anikó is not delusional. She does not think that LMP will win the district. Based on polls she already knows that either Unity or Fidesz will carry this district so she needs to pick between them if she does not want to waste her vote completely. So in the individual district, she will vote for the Unity candidate or the Fidesz candidate regardless of her party vote (LMP).

  32. Eva S. Balogh :
    Yesterday I mentioned that János Lázár urged voters to vote for him. They can split their votes. They don’t have to vote for Fidesz. And now, Orbán in his speech today didn’t mention Fidesz once. What can that possibly mean?

    So, they think that there are people who may not vote for Fidesz, but would vote for their person? Seriously? Are they that delusional in their grand self-love? Weird.

  33. Though Orban is only running on a party least, right… I guess they are trying to get the sympathies for Fidesz’s individual candidates as much as possible. Maybe they are not sure Fidesz is all that popular as a party.

  34. On Orban not mentioning Fidesz… maybe he just didn’t want to make it so obvious that his annual speech as Prime Minister is part of the campaign. But that doesn’t explain Lazar’s strange comments the other day.

  35. An :
    On Orban not mentioning Fidesz… maybe he just didn’t want to make it so obvious that his annual speech as Prime Minister is part of the campaign. But that doesn’t explain Lazar’s strange comments the other day.

    If you look at the latest Median poll

    http://index.hu/belfold/2014/02/04/a_legtobben_kormanyt_valtanank_megis_a_fidesz_vezet/

    Unity has 30% of the votes. Fidesz has 50%. That leaves 20% that is neither. This 20% can still split their votes as far as individual districts, just as I explained earlier. Lazar is simply asking them to split it in favour of him and not Unity.

  36. (data was for likely voters) But even in the “total voters” there is still 13% polled that were neither Fidesz nor Unity so the concept would be the same.

  37. @MrPaul: So, Lazar essentially thinks that among the undecided he could be more popular than Fidesz… I hope he stays in that delusional state.

  38. A lot might depend on how many of those “undecided voters” go to the election booths – and of course how many of those dedicated voters stay at home, maybe because of bad weather or maybe because their favourite Fidesz will win anyway – or because they see no chance for the left.

    As I remember (Eva has remarked on that several times I believe …) the voter turnout has varied strongly in Hungary – and also was a factor in deciding the winner!

  39. I just finished watching Gyurcsány’s speech of yesterday. I feel sorry for those who don’t know Hungarian because one really cannot understand his popularity among his followers until one hears him speak. He is a brilliant orator. At the end, the leading members of the Unity crew got on the podium and they together with the audience sang the national anthem. It was outright moving. This man can move mountains with his speeches.

    Here is the link:

    http://www.atv.hu/videok/video-20140216-gyurcsany-ferenc-evertekelo-2014

  40. why is not there a transcript of the speeches? All major US speeches appear on the internet in readable format. Would it be such a big effort in a campaign?

  41. “While the mission would visit a limited number of polling stations on the day of the election, systematic observation of election day proceedings is not envisaged, OSCE said.”

  42. tappanch:

    exactly.

    It has been said a number of times that the election day will be fantastic. No irregularity will ever be found.

    I can even imagine that Orban will especially be praised for hosting such an orderly election. He will be praised all over the international media (and then in the Hungarian media) by foreign “observers”.

    No “observer” will care about the rigged election system, the media, the financing issues, the advertizing restrictions which do not apply to Fidesz and so on. These are too complicated issues which would need a lot of research and work.

    The OSCE election “observers” meanwhile want to have a fun 3-day trip to Budapest, staying at Kempinski at corporate rates (but not at Four Seasons, mind you, they are cost conscious, you know), get around to see the famous party scene, pick up some chicks if possible. Great fun.

    And It is surprising that locals rarely trust people from international organizations.

  43. Klikko, tappanch, it’s unlikely that the issues with this election will manifest themselves during the day itself. Please note that there are a number of staff who will be monitoring the media as part of this mission. The observers will also be told of the numerous complaints. Better than nothing, in other words.

  44. Kikko :

    The OSCE election “observers” meanwhile want to have a fun 3-day trip to Budapest, staying at Kempinski at corporate rates (but not at Four Seasons, mind you, they are cost conscious, you know), get around to see the famous party scene, pick up some chicks if possible. Great fun.
    And It is surprising that locals rarely trust people from international organizations.

    Can you please be specific about this? OSCE does not have their own observers. It is seconded to other organizations. These observers work under very strict operational guidelines. Most Short Term Observers work for no compensation, and although in some countries the level of comfort and safety can be assured, in some other countries their lodging are very bad, and their safety is questionable. Observers arrive invited by the “host” government, and it is the government that puts them up. After their assignment is complete they can remain longer for their own expense, and they must still act according to the “mission rules”. Long Term Observers have more knowledge what happens prior to the election, but they are also invited. Short Term Observers can only report on why they see, not on what the media or blogs report.
    I share the concern about the Hungarian Elections, but whatever happens it likely will not come down to the day of election. It all has to do with how the election law has been set-up. If the ever evolving Hungarian Basic Law (Constitution), and status of media freedom is aligned with the EU requirements, then there is nothing that an Observer can report on. This has very little to do which hotel they will be staying at. Let’s not shoot the messenger. THe real problem is that the EU is very quite about the Constitution, and Fidesz leaves very little time for the EU to act on anything.

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