Viktor Orbán’s (temporary) retreat in his battle with Ferenc Gyurcsány?

Some of my readers and I don’t see eye-to-eye on the government’s decision to release two secret service documents that deal with Ferenc Gyurcsány’s controversial speech of 2006. They are convinced that this move is a fantastic coup against the opposition and that if the united opposition had any sense whatsoever it would drop the subject as soon as possible. Anything, they claim, that has to do with the speech is political poison.

I see it differently. Even if the two documents had substantiated the government’s claim that Gyurcsány was complicit in the leak, the political gain for Fidesz would have been minimal. But the documents didn’t support their claim. Moreover, since Gordon Bajnai and Ferenc Gyurcsány knew not only about the two released documents but about others that contradict Eduardo Rózsa-Flores’s assumptions, questions were bound to arise about a half forgotten story. And in that story Fidesz was very much involved.

The release of the documents raised the possibility that someone would slip up. And indeed Lajos Kósa did. Only half a year ago he denied that he knew anything about the tape prior to its publication. So did Tibor Navracsics and Viktor Orbán. And now here in black and white was a detailed description by Flores of how the tape ended up in his hands and went from him via an intermediary to Lajos Kósa. Confronted with the document and pressured by Antónia Mészáros, Kósa cracked. He admitted that they have been lying about their knowledge of the tape and their own role in making it public. Fidesz politicians who in the last eight years have talked incessantly about Ferenc Gyurcsány’s lies are found to be liars themselves. It was time for damage control.

I can only imagine what Lajos Kósa got from Viktor Orbán after that interview. He must have been ordered to correct his “mistake,” which he did this morning on Magyar Rádió. While yesterday he admitted that he got hold of the tape from a fellow from Miskolc which he then distributed to the press, by today his story had been substantially edited. He denied any knowledge of the tape’s content before it was read on Magyar Rádió.

Sándor Pintér was also asked to do his best to squelch the growing scandal. After all, only Magyar Nemzet and Magyar Hírlap were talking about the sins of Ferenc Gyurcsány;  other publications started probing into the revelations of Fidesz’s involvement. And that probing went beyond the leak itself. People kept asking about Fidesz’s role in the preparation and organization of the disturbances themselves.

Pintér’s line of reasoning at a late afternoon press conference was interesting. While two days ago the big news was the source of the leak, i.e. whether Gyurcsány initiated the leak of his own speech or not, today Pintér claimed that “the circumstances of the leak are unimportant” because the unauthorized removal of the tape is not a crime. The important part of the story is the content of the speech, he emphasized. But then why did they release these documents that centered on the circumstances of the leak, circumstances that two days later were deemed unimportant? There is no good answer here.

In addition to Pintér’s feeble explanation Magyar Nemzet came up with one of its ownThe argument goes something like this: Why the big fuss about the leak? Who really cares who was responsible? After all, we just heard from the former editor-in-chief of Népszabadság that J. Zoltán Gál, undersecretary in charge of the prime minister’s office, approached him to ask whether he would be interested in an edited version of a terrific speech his “boss” delivered. So, the argument goes, let’s not spend any more time on this trivial matter, especially when MSZP wanted to have it made public anyway. Another misguided argument. With this claim they only support Gyurcsány’s contention that his audience was enthralled and that he didn’t think there was anything in the speech one had to be ashamed of.

The most worrisome announcement that Sándor Pintér made at this press conference was that there is no other “final report” on Balatonőszöd. We are talking here about the report that both Gordon Bajnai and Ferenc Gyurcsány saw and that both claim contains some damaging material on Fidesz’s involvement in the affair that ended in violence on the streets of Budapest. That indicates that as things stand now the Orbán government is planning to eliminate in one way or another an important piece of evidence.  I’m sure that Bajnai cannot lay his hands on the document, but Gyurcsány may have a copy of it which, as he said, “landed on his desk.”

source: szabadeuropa.shp.hu

Source: szabadeuropa.shp.hu

Moreover, the Népszabadság article to which Magyar Nemzet referred also states that two days before the release of the tape Ferenc Gyurcsány sent an article to the paper entitled “Haladás vs. maradás” (Progress versus Backwardness) in which he pretty well told the reading public what he said in his Balatonőszöd speech. The editors asked him whether in light of the new developments he wanted to change anything in his text. His answer was “no.” Obviously even after the speech was released he saw no reason to change anything in the text.

As I said earlier, any party would have taken advantage of the opportunity the leaked tape offered Fidesz sometime in July-August of 2006. I don’t blame them. What on the other hand, a responsible democratic party cannot do is to systematically prepare a coup d’état. Unfortunately, it looks as if this is exactly what Viktor Orbán was doing. There are just too many signs pointing in this direction.

Finally, here is a new piece of information from Péter Zentai, today a journalist with HVG but at the time Magyar Rádió’s Berlin correspondent. Right after the Budapest siege one of the German television stations organized a round-table discussion on the Hungarian events. Zentai participated in this discussion, as did a British TV journalist. The British journalist insisted that the outbreak of violence couldn’t have been spontaneous because his television station and Sky TV had been approached by a Hungarian news station a week before the fateful weekend. They were invited to come to Budapest because “interesting things will happen.” Zentai was stunned and tried to air this story on Magyar Rádió. Even then, however, MR was partial to Fidesz, and one of the middle managers refused to report Zentai’s information from the British television journalist.

Bits and pieces of new information emerge day after day. Viktor Orbán seems far too eager to eliminate his arch-rival and thus keeps making mistakes.

63 comments

  1. I have a question to those who are more in the know of the EU legal proceedings. If there would be enough evidence to suggest that in deed Fidesz was behind the events of 2006, is there any legal ways to look for justice? WHat would justice be? Is there a civil lawsuit that can be launched? etc.

  2. Some1 :

    I have a question to those who are more in the know of the EU legal proceedings. If there would be enough evidence to suggest that in deed Fidesz was behind the events of 2006, is there any legal ways to look for justice? WHat would justice be? Is there a civil lawsuit that can be launched? etc.

    Most likely not.

  3. And what exactly is your point here? You write “What on the other hand, a responsible democratic party cannot do is to systematically prepare a coup d’état. Unfortunately, it looks as if this is exactly what Viktor Orbán was doing.” But as this is precisely what he has been doing for the last four years, I hope you are not trying to say you are surprised. No one else is. And that is why it is such a non issue.

  4. Beloved leader of our flock, Eva. “Bits and pieces of new information emerge day after day,” what stays with the masses now is ONLY that which is branded at deep brain. Where I sit they shout at the TV, /!%=/Who ever heard a Rime Minister'”!%)(=Whored down our nation, lied morning noon and night.
    Think DEEP brain, as in a lizard. The elegance of our poetry, what democracy is, human rights, are NOT at deep brain. They are at the level of the cortex. Deep brains yells, Stay alive X”+%=/ “And Gyurcsany said, “You can leave at any time!%+=)@@ How can we do that? asks the old woman cursing at Gy. “Why don’t you leave.” . .

  5. Sorry for the repost, but I meant to post this here, not under yesterday’s thread.
    ———————————————————————————————————

    Well, this shows that Fidesz’s disrespect for democracy started well before 2010. What we see happening since 2010 is just the gradual de-masking of their true (undemocratic) selves.

  6. HiBoM :

    And what exactly is your point here? You write “What on the other hand, a responsible democratic party cannot do is to systematically prepare a coup d’état. Unfortunately, it looks as if this is exactly what Viktor Orbán was doing.” But as this is precisely what he has been doing for the last four years, I hope you are not trying to say you are surprised. No one else is. And that is why it is such a non issue.

    Although I really dislike Viktor Orbán I don’t think that he is preparing a coup d’ètat at the moment if you take the word at its true meaning. But I think that using thugs and hoping that they would be joined by others in order to forcibly overthrow a democratically elected government is something else. And that as far as 2006 is concerned was never proven. It would be time to find out the truth.

  7. I wholly support the post’s arguments.

    It is also a common knowledge among the most popular internet sites that their editors were also warned by mysterious sources that “there were going to be serious events coming soon”, so they should better get prepared.

    I think this has not really been publicized so far.

    The 2006 events were planned by Orban and the secret service elements behind him, who apparently are still loyal to him, although that is no surprise. Elek Tokfalvi, the blogger, has further interesting theories about this too, which I found very plausible, he wrote about those on his now defunct blog.

    But the trick was not the 2006 TV siege, I contend.

    If one reads “V for vendetta”, and excuse me for referring to this comic book (there was also a movie made out of it), it has an interesting point. The protagonist “V” is trying to foment a mini-uprising, mini-chaos, mini-mayhem to provoke the dictatorial regime into a bloody counterattack on this mini-uprising. It is then the bloody counter-attack which would really provoke the really big uprising and change of system.

    Now, granted that second event did not happen in Hungary, but Orban successfully changed the narrative of the story. Ie. after the first day when the police did not act, the police duly became tougher and so the story was never really about the Fradi-supporter thugs burning down the TV HQ and terrorizing people on the streets, but about the “Gyurcsany’s police hurting and maiming the righteous demonstrators”.

    Orban pushed his narrative relentlessly, of course he had all the media and the naive goodwill of the foreign diplomats and he was successful in even having Civil Liberties Union (TASZ), people associated with Index, or now with Atlatszo.hu (people not usually branded as partisan fideszniks) supporting him which made his case all the more credible.

    Anyway, it is clear to me that Orban, together with what Tokfalvi calls the “Branch” was trying to execute a coup, which although did not succeed, contributed to his win in 2010 significantly.

  8. I have good news. Maybe just maybe some of the Fidesz fans are waking up! An acquaintance of mine from Hungary, who always voted Fidesz (and I think had a secret crush on Orban twenty years ago), told me that she would not vote for Orban again. I asked why not, and she told me that “Fidesz lied about Oszod, and likely they were behind all the mess in 2006!”
    There is hope! Maybe people are waking up after all.

  9. Do you remember when Janos Lazar (consigliere to Orban) told – among others – that Paks 2 had been settled with the EU?

    And all the media reprinted the statement without any checking of this (or other) fact?

    Well, it turns out that was – another – blatant lie by Janos Lazar.

    http://cink.hu/megsem-szolt-a-kormany-a-bizottsagnak-paksrol-bar-ezt-1530462037?fb_action_ids=10152218462402622&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map=%5B1407962076129000%5D&action_type_map=%5B%22og.likes%22%5D&action_ref_map=%5B%5D

    That said the EU people will – as usual – give a sh*t about the project, Lazar sees that correctly, so in the sense it is almost as if the EU had given its go ahead.

  10. Looks like we have a winning candidate for the post of the Chairman of the Academy of Sciences. Arch-Fidesznik, arch-conservative and at best a mediocre scholar.

    Funny story: when a student who was having an oral examination with Mr. Maroth was asked by the prof about where the student went to highschool answered that he went to AKG (an independent, famously liberal highschool) the prof answered: “nothing good ever came out of freedom”. True story.

    http://magyarnarancs.hu/konyv/a_tudos_hatalom_-_maroth_miklos_klasszika-filologus_orientalista_palyakepe-64872

  11. @ Lazarus

    People at cink.hu have famously horrible reading comprehension. They take a sentence “this investment project has not yet been notified to the Commission under article 41 of the Euratom treaty”
    and do not stop to think: is this sentence true if it was notified under article 42 c? Or was simply notified period. Then yes it is true it was not notified under 41. They try to sell the idea that the Commission has still no idea about Paks as of February 21. And they didn’t complain about this publicly? How come? Maybe the Commission really doesn’t know but as soon as they learn about it… CINK may be right but the “evidence” they present does not prove their claims. It is about the level of Rózsa Flores’s ideas that Gyurcsany leaked the Öszöd speech for sure. It may be true but not because of the “evidence”.

    “we just heard from the former editor-in-chief of Népszabadság that J. Zoltán Gál, undersecretary in charge of the prime minister’s office, approached him to ask whether he would be interested in an edited version of a terrific speech his “boss” delivered.”

    Anyone have an idea why the former editor-in-chief waited 8 years to share this information? Well that’s the wrong question, what is really interesting is why he wanted to share this new info at all? What is he trying to imply by revealing that Gyurcsany’s inner circle thought the speech was great and wanted to make it public as soon as it was delivered?

  12. Dear Eva,

    If Hungarian society were filled with intelligent people such as yourself, then Orban’s decision to release the “scandalous” documents would indeed backfire. However, the nation is populated with people whose critical-thinking capacity does not reach that of the average Fox News watcher in the US.

    I recently told my Fidesz-voting fitness center manager that Orban was not a conservative in the Western European sense of the word. Rather, his policies frequently resemble Janos Kadar’s. I presented the evidence (nationalization, centralization, coercion). He agreed with everything I said, and then he looked at me like a Christian who had just been convinced that Jesus never died on the cross. “I think I need some different perspectives before I believe you,” he said.

    In a system where schools discourage critical thinking and universities wink at plagiarists, people don’t like to make up their own minds. They are going to glance at the recently released documents and say “Gyurcsany is a liar and Bajnai is thief.” Then they will move on to other, more sedentary topics like ValoVilag.

  13. Victory report: “Employment has continued to rise”

    Click to access fog21401.pdf

    Behind the data:

    December 2013 – December 2012,
    they show a 121.7 thousand increase.

    But of the increase, exactly 91.7 thousand are “fostered” workers (recipients of poor aid on forced labor).

    The number of workers abroad who are counted to improve the Hungarian statistics
    have increased by 8 thousand from the October-December average in 2012 to 2013.

    So domestic real employment have increased at MOST by 22 thousand (0.56%).
    Most of the increase is in the state sector.

  14. Correction:

    Change in employment – change in “fostered” workers – change in counted workers abroad.=

    106.7* – 91.7* – 8** = 7.0

    * Oct-Dec average ** Dec

  15. Orban’s only promise in 2010 was the 1 million new workplace in 10 years.

    The net increase without the “fostered” workers was about 100,000 instead of the pro-rated 400,000 in the last 4 years.

    If you subtract the workers abroad that are included in the Hungarian statistics, the net increase domestically was zero or negative.

  16. @Seal Driver

    “In a system where schools discourage critical thinking and universities wink at plagiarists, people don’t like to make up their own minds. They are going to glance at the recently released documents and say “Gyurcsany is a liar and Bajnai is thief.” Then they will move on to other, more sedentary topics like ValoVilag.”

    Of course, you couldn’t be more right.

    In Hungary, a system has been set up where coercion works–it frightens the sheep-like hordes–and moreover, if need be, the blessings of the church and its own vast coercive powers back up the Orban/Fidesz line.

    To expect the hapless, meek, mentally-challenged, hog-tied, average, Hungarian to oppose
    that union is well beyond the possible. In fact, the basis of Kafka’s world (in his writings) has
    been achieved in Hungary. Who originated that success–in my opinion the Russians had a lot to do with it–is yet to be conclusively established. But that’s what we have now.

    To put this in perspective, any reasonable society would have had plenty–Paks, the Azeri
    axe-murderer, the theft of pension moneys, the nature of parliamentary activity–to know that
    the present state of affairs could only lead to disaster; and requires the immediate cessation
    of a government that hasn’t the remotest intent to act democratically, or to act in the long term
    interest of its own citizens.

  17. Seal Driver :

    In a system where schools discourage critical thinking and universities wink at plagiarists, people don’t like to make up their own minds. They are going to glance at the recently released documents and say “Gyurcsany is a liar and Bajnai is thief.” Then they will move on to other, more sedentary topics like ValoVilag.

    I agree with you very much.

    Mr. Paul :
    @ Lazarus
    People at cink.hu have famously horrible reading comprehension. They take a sentence “this investment project has not yet been notified to the Commission under article 41 of the Euratom treaty”
    and do not stop to think: is this sentence true if it was notified under article 42 c? Or was simply notified period. Then yes it is true it was not notified under 41. They try to sell the idea that the Commission has still no idea about Paks as of February 21. And they didn’t complain about this publicly? How come? Maybe the Commission really doesn’t know but as soon as they learn about it… CINK may be right but the “evidence” they present does not prove their claims. It is about the level of Rózsa Flores’s ideas that Gyurcsany leaked the Öszöd speech for sure. It may be true but not because of the “evidence”.

    So essentially what you are saying is that the Hungarian Government (including all of the well paid advisors) does not have the slightest clue on the procedures of the official dealings with the EU, and we should forgive Lazar. I would like to remind everyone of the hundreds of diplomats, officers, advisors that are receiving millions of forints from taxpayers money just for the purpose of doing their job. That job includes the complying with various treaties, filing the proper documentation.
    I mean Lazar did not send down his secretary to buy a loaf of bread, and it is hard for me to believe that the issue of Paks just came up at breakfast between Orban and Putin, so if Mr. Lazar’s group thinks that there is nothing wrong to go on the official route to let the EU know about how things are unfolding, maybe it is truly time for a different government, wouldn’t you say so? Let’s put this way, each year I have to file my tax return in two countries, in Hungary and in Canada, how about if next time I will call the tax office in Budapest and let them know that I made some money in Hungary? Would that be sufficient for Lazar?
    So either Lazar does not tell the truth or the Hungarian government is more incompetent than previously thought.

  18. Some1 :
    I have good news. Maybe just maybe some of the Fidesz fans are waking up! An acquaintance of mine from Hungary, who always voted Fidesz (and I think had a secret crush on Orban twenty years ago), told me that she would not vote for Orban again. I asked why not, and she told me that “Fidesz lied about Oszod, and likely they were behind all the mess in 2006!”
    There is hope! Maybe people are waking up after all.

    Well, that’s one point of light. Only 9,999,999 to go.

  19. buddy :
    If anyone finds Felcsút Mayor Mészáros’ pigs, please contact HVG. They appear to be missing :((
    http://hvg.hu/itthon/20140226_Meszaros_Lorinc_disznok
    I hope they find them soon!

    Some journalists are looking for the pigs after Meszaros (Orban’s Felcsut buddy) received a 7.4 million forint state subsidy for raising pigs . The journalists don’t seem to find the pigs… even if they had already been slaughtered, there is no paper trail showing that they ever existed.

  20. It is fun to playing around with the seat calculator at

    http://www.valasztasirendszer.hu/mandatum/

    My estimate was the following

    Domestic participation: 5.79 million
    Foreign participation 0.23 million

    Domestic vote for party:

    Democratic opposition: 42%
    Fidesz: 39%
    Jobbik: 18%
    LMP: 1%

    Foreign vote:
    Fidesz 79%
    Jobbik: 18%
    Democratic opposition: 3%

    Result:
    Democratic opposition: 93 seats
    Fidesz: 86 seats
    Jobbik: 20 seats

    I have no doubt that in a situation like this there will be
    a Fidesz-Jobbik coalition.

  21. TARKI has different poll results:

    Fidesz 38%
    Democratic opposition: 21%
    Jobbik: 15%
    LMP: 4%

    uncertain: 22%

    If the uncertain voters do not go to vote,

    the calculator above gives the following seat distribution in the parliament:

    Fidesz: 105 seats (more than 2/3 again)
    Democratic opposition: 32
    Jobbik: 22

    If the opposition cannot mobilize the uncertain voters in the remaining 1 month, the results will be devastating.

  22. If LMP reaches the the threshold (Tarki thinks so, I doubt it), then the # of seats will be

    Fidesz 143
    Democratic opposition: 30
    Jobbik: 21
    LMP: 5

  23. This is despite the fact that
    40% of the voters still want a change of government and
    39% would like to see Orban stay in power.

  24. tappanch, if the majority of non-Fidesz voters stay at home, then yes, 38% of the electorate will give Fidesz a 2/3rds majority. But it will also mean that 62% of the population either couldn’t care less who governs them or at least, aren’t exactly anti-Fidesz, so that would not be an unfair result.

    It utterly defies common sense that the non Fidesz supporting electorate will stay at home, so let’s hope this does not happen. But if it does, frankly, it will deserve what it gets.

  25. @HiBoM

    “…it will deserve what it gets.”

    I have fumed and fretted to no result–the somnambulant mob will remain adamantly so.

    Thus, I have, for quite a while now, come to the conclusion that these people–the population as a whole–deserve what will be coming to them.

  26. tappanch :
    TARKI has different poll results:
    Fidesz 38%
    Democratic opposition: 21%
    Jobbik: 15%
    LMP: 4%
    uncertain: 22%
    If the uncertain voters do not go to vote,
    the calculator above gives the following seat distribution in the parliament:
    Fidesz: 105 seats (more than 2/3 again)
    Democratic opposition: 32
    Jobbik: 22
    If the opposition cannot mobilize the uncertain voters in the remaining 1 month, the results will be devastating.

    I followed the link that you posted.

    http://www.tarki.hu/hu/news/2014/kitekint/20140226_valasztas.html

    And to me the most interesting number was that the number of undecideds went from 40% to 22%. Meaning the number of committed voters went to 78% from 60%. This is such a large swing that it makes me pause as far as this poll is concerned.

    Among committed voters the democratic opposition went from 35% to 27% right before election this data can be easily interpreted as their support being absolutely decimated and collapsed. I mean 8 points fall within a month, that is a bit much isn’t it? This may only be the effect of the Gabor Simon money scandal, because I don’t see any other big issues that might have caused this. Another possibility is that there was manipulation done on this poll. It will be interesting to see the newer polls from all the other pollsters as well if they show similar effects of the Simon scandal.

  27. tappanch, HiBoM, petofi: What do you expect from a “well-informed” populace receiving Fidesz propaganda 24/7 through all possible channels (financed from state money)?

  28. @Some1 it seems that Cink.hu and others who said that Hungary did not notify the Commission about PAKS were simply lying in a rather blatant way. The Commission was notified under EURATOM just under a different article, not 41. So the Cink lie was exactly what I suspected, they pretended the “not under 41” was equal to “not at all”.

    Not only was the Commission notified long ago, they already examined some parts and did not “raise objections” as of yet regarding those. Though they stressed the examination is far from over and other aspects of the Paks deal will be also examined.

    http://www.atv.hu/belfold/20140226-paks-brusszel-nem-emelt-elvi-kifogast/

    This is a similar case as Éva talked about earlier and shows the low quality of some of these sites in the Hungarian press. Printing blatant lies without any “going after the story”, fact-checking or generally any attention to detail.

  29. The poll data means that 20% of the voters of the opposition have disappeared in the last month, thanks to the Gabor Simon scandal.

    —> Most people in the world, myself included, have a number blindness. <—–

    EMOTIONALLY, one cannot distinguish between the potential stealing of 240 million HUF (Gabor Simon) and 240 billion (Fidesz).

    One KNOWS that the numbers are 1:1000, but does not FEEL the ratio.

    If the opposition is as corrupt as Fidesz, why should one vote for the opposition?

  30. @MrPaul: Hungary notified the EU under Euroatom 103, but not under 41. Notification under 103 was an indication that they are planning to involve Rosatom and that was acknowledged by the EU. This was only a general OK to involve Rosatom in the project, but it was not an approval of a specific project (which would include the approval of the specific technical and financing details on how Rosatom will be involved in the deal). To get the specific deal approved, Hungary should have submitted the detailed documentations of the plan under article 41. Hungary did not submit the required detailed documentation under article 41, which would have been needed for an EU approval.

    “Az uniós tagállamok nukleáris együttműködését és az atomenergia békés felhasználását szabályozó Euratom-szerződés alapján egy nukleáris beruházásba fogó tagországnak többféle uniós kötelezettsége is van. Amennyiben olyan szerződést köt, amelynek az EU-n kívüli ország is részese, akkor erről a tényről, illetve a megállapodás tartalmáról az Euratom 103-as cikkelye alapján előzetesen tájékoztatnia kell a bizottságot. Ez a tájékoztatás megtörtént, és Jávor tudomása szerint Brüsszelből valóban nem érkezett kifogás azzal kapcsolatban, hogy a Roszatomot – amellyel az európai nukleáris nagyvállalatok többségének stratégiai együttműködése van – a magyar fél bevonja a paksi projektbe.

    Minden atomerőmű-építésre vonatkozik ugyanakkor, hogy a konkrét beruházási paramétereket – technológia, finanszírozás, az energiapiacra gyakorolt hatás – az Euratom Szerződés 41. cikkelye alapján, egy erre a célra rendszeresített formanyomtatványon be kell jelentenie a EB-nek, és Brüsszel adott esetben változtatásokat kérhet, kifogásokat illetve tilalmakat fogalmazhat meg a beruházási elképzeléssel kapcsolatban. Ez utóbbi procedúra tekinthető a beruházási projekt európai engedélyezési eljárásának, és tény, hogy a magyar kormány anélkül állapodott meg minden fontos részletről az oroszokkal, hogy ennek a bejelentési és jóváhagyáskérési kötelezettségének eleget tett volna.”

    http://www.napi.hu/magyar_gazdasag/orban_levelet_irt_barrosonak.577377.html

  31. @An, it is undoubtedly true that people are being inundated with state propaganda. But the same way true in 2002 and it was generally expected that Fidesz would win that election at a canter. Everyone on the trams were wearing kokárdas and Fidesz had a 20% lead in the polls and Medgyessy seemed out of his depth. And yet come election day, there was a massive turn out and Fidesz got soundly thumped (which they reversed in the 2nd round). I remember getting on the 49 tram next day to find the Kokárdas had gone and everyone was reading Népszabadság!

    My point is that surely, there will be some similar phenomenon this year. People in the countryside are living in abject poverty, there are few families in the country who aren’t worse off and surely that is going to be reflected in the ballot. Sadly, all the indications are that people are quite happy with how things are going but deep down, I can’t beileve that, and so the 2002 election is proof that the unexpected can happen when people vote in private.

    But if 38% of the electorate do give Fidesz 72% of the seats, which will only happen because of indifference from the 62%, then they will deserve Orbán.

  32. @Mr. Paul

    “…“going after the story”..”

    Here’s a story to go after: Why did Orban act alone in the Azeri case; and what compensation did he receive from the Azeris?

  33. @HiBoM: I hope you are right, but Fidesz’s grip on the media and the level of intimidation in general was nowhere close in 2002 to what it is now. I was there for those elections… you could feel that the opposition had momentum and had its reliable media outlets (and wasn’t cornered as it is now).

  34. tappanch :
    The poll data means that 20% of the voters of the opposition have disappeared in the last month, thanks to the Gabor Simon scandal.
    —> Most people in the world, myself included, have a number blindness. <—–
    EMOTIONALLY, one cannot distinguish between the potential stealing of 240 million HUF (Gabor Simon) and 240 billion (Fidesz).
    One KNOWS that the numbers are 1:1000, but does not FEEL the ratio.
    If the opposition is as corrupt as Fidesz, why should one vote for the opposition?

    I would guess that you are 100% right, tappanch.

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