As you know, I did not want to talk about the infamous Zuschlag case because I consider this man a pathological liar and a first-rate crook. But in light of new evidence, I changed my mind. It seems that János Zuschlag, a former socialist member of parliament, not only approached Fidesz and offered to write his “tell-all” book but was involved in other schemes as well.
Fidesz did everything to promote the forthcoming book and the dirt it contained. For instance, two well-known associates of Századvég, the think-tank with Fidesz roots, held a pre-publication interview with this crook in Napi Gazdaság, a publication recently purchased by Századvég. But Fidesz leaders should have been more circumspect. Zuschlag seems to be linked to a blossoming electoral fraud case involving bogus parties.
Let me explain. Zuschlag, it seems, wasn’t satisfied with profiting from book sales and the advance he most likely received from Fidesz. Since he is a born crook, he noticed sometime last year that there was an opportunity to get millions thanks to the Fidesz electoral law that allows newly created parties to compete in the forthcoming election. The law naturally was written with a view to weakening the opposition by taking votes away from the bona fide opposition parties.
Zuschlag has a long history of shady affairs. Already during his career in MSZP. In 2002-2203 Zuschlag was caught “enlarging” the county cells of MSZP and its youth organization, the Fiatal Baloldal–Ifjú Szocialisták (FIBISZ). He filled the county cells with bogus members. He started with his own district in Kiskunhalas and also enlisted like-minded friends in Vas County, near the Austrian border. When the MSZP leadership discovered the fraudulently enlarged cells, they closed them. One person who was involved in this fraud in Vas County was Péter Táncsics, whose real passion in life is to play cards.
Investigative journalists now suspect that the two most suspicious “business parties,” Új Dimenzió and Új Magyarország, are connected to János Zuschlag and Péter Táncsics. These two bogus parties are definitely linked to one another through the person of Péter Táncsics. Both parties are registered at Táncsics’s Kőszeg address. Originally Táncsics and his accomplices planned to organize three parties, but they had no luck with the third, Mindenki Pártja (Everybody’s Party). The other two parties, however, managed to get plenty of signatures, most of which are fraudulent. It is also clear that these two “parties” exchanged signatures and as a result they collected the necessary number of endorsements even before Fidesz did. Most importantly, these two “business parties” will receive 1.2 billion forints from taxpayer money.
The Fidesz leadership must have known about Zuschlag’s involvement with these “business parties” since Heti Válasz reported on it in its February 28 issue. But in that case why did they decide to promote Zuschlag’s book in Napi Gazdaság? Did they hope to accuse MSZP of being engaged in electoral fraud? That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. To my mind Zuschlag’s involvement with these two new parties only shows that he is a first-rate crook and that most likely his “confessions” are a pack of lies. And that certainly doesn’t reflect well on Fidesz.
As for the pack of lies. Although I had no opportunity to read Zuschlag’s book, the few details I gleaned from reviews simply don’t add up. For those who are not familiar with the story, Zuschlag claims that he received 50 million forints from Ildikó Lendvai, leader of the MSZP parliamentary delegation, to “persuade” him not to run as an MSZP candidate in the 2006 election. Lendvai rightly pointed out that one didn’t have to pay anything to Zuschlag or anyone else not to run. Parties can simply withhold endorsements. Period.
Zuschlag in his book also claims that Ferenc Gyurcsány “earlier offered him money” to resign his seat after he cracked a tasteless joke about the victims of the Holocaust which was overheard by the crew of HírTV. I do believe that Gyurcsány wanted to get rid of him, but much earlier than the 2004 incident that resulted in Zuschlag’s resignation. Gyurcsány, who headed the Ministry of Youth and Sports between May 2003 and September 2004, had a very low opinion of his undersecretary whom he inherited from his predecessor, György Jánosi (MSZP). Why didn’t he get rid of Zuschlag? I can only guess: most likely because Zuschlag had some patrons within the party who argued that he was an important asset in attracting young members to the party.
What is Fidesz doing with Zuschlag? It is hard to fathom. Perhaps someone was asleep at the switch. I don’t know. We always think that Fidesz’s communication and political strategy is faultless, but perhaps here Zuschlag got the better of them.
Here is the ballot sheet finalized today.
Notice that there are two fake parties with names that will likely confuse some opposition voters: #14 and #16.
The real opposition party is #17.
I’ll be accused of being a Fidesz troll for this but hey ho, I’ll press ahead anyway. This sentence raised my eyebrows somewhat: “Why didn’t he get rid of Zuschlag? I can only guess: most likely because Zuschlag had some patrons within the party who argued that he was an important asset in attracting young members to the party.” No, knowing the MSZP, it is rather more like that he had patrons in the party who were benefiting from his criminality and that what he was up to was just part of a much larger web of deceit that in part, made it hard to eject him. And I’ll repeat what I was told by someone with strong MSZP contacts back in 2005: Zuschlag was given a 50 million forints pay off to resign his seat following the Holocaust comments. Not exactly the story he is telling but a bit of a coincidence nonetheless (and I did go to Magyar Narancs with it who had heard similar).
I think Fidesz are pretty confident that people will focus on the Gyurcsány/MSZP aspects of Zuschlag and not care (or perhaps not even be informed) of his shady dealings with bogus parties.
Liberation of Hungary is our dream again.
Liberation from oppressing historians, lawyers, doctors, mayors, prime ministers.
It will be nice when the same people, after admitting their mistakes, will work on the liberation from oppression.
Orban may run the country again if he cleans up the street from soccer hooligans, and the ministries from crooked lawyers and industrialist.
A little refund from his fabulous wealth will be also appreciated.
Theoretically speaking, couldn’t he have threatened to run as an independent, possibly diverting votes from his former party? I don’t know about Hungary, but in other countries this is often dealt with at a certain cost (though fortunately seldom in cash).
Fidesz uses local government money and organization for its party campaign – a view from the ground level of district 11.
Your guess is as good as mine.
It is simpler than that.
Zuschlag is one of MSZP’s sub-brands. He is linked inexorably to MSZP.
As a result, the more Zuschlag is involved in any new shenanigans the better it is for Fidesz, because Zuschlag will still be associated with MSZP by most people.
People will just conclude that Zuschlag is out of prison and immediately he is involved in shady deals. Thanks, but we do not want any such MSZP people in the government again.
Well, this is the question. Will they believe or will they think that he just a real crook.
OT: Jobbik is coming up. There is a huge momentum. More and more mainstream articles write about it (like now origo.hu) in an admiring manner (about Jobbik’s calm but effective campaign), but even at a Kormanyvaltas campaign event Jobbik’s activists were there distributing flyers, according to an index article. Jobbik, like Republicans in rural US took over the working class/ poor white vote, which normally should have gone to the left. People just hear that jobbik is coming up, good, smart etc. all the time, really. These news articles both show and reinforce the momentum (in a way, this comment too).
Or in other words, Fidesz and Jobbik could together take in more than 2/3s of the party list votes, relegating the entire left field to a mere 30-35%. It does not matter that with 40% a party could get 2/3s if the other side is divided, it is very bad for a party which aspires to govern to languish in the 30-35% zone (ie. the left).
I am afraid that there will be a lot of soul searching after the elections, but what is sure Hungary will further move to the right.
There is no way Orban will now relent on the German occupation memorial and Veritas and the like.
@Borski: The Origo article also says that about half of the new Jobbik voters come from Fidesz. So many of these voters are coming from the right, not from the left. Another big group are those young people who will vote the first time.
So, the democratic opposition’s failure is that they couldn’t attract these voters who are now disappointed in Fidesz.
It’s pretty good article, worth the read.
An: yep, but the bottom line is that (a) young people simply do not vote for the left, they are done with it and (b) people with any real job outside Budapest do not vote for the left either (local elite votes Fidesz, working class Jobbik) and (c) white people in the most rural places who compete with the roma for the very few resources also vote for Jobbik or Fidesz.
The 64,000 dollar question then: who remains for the left?
If I am not mistaken there are certain people in Budapest and perhaps some of the retired people in mid-sized towns.
Not a big coalition. Yep a 30-35% nationally seems realistic for the left, with 40-45% in Budapest, 30-35% in bigger towns, and 20-25% everywhere else. Since rural districts make up most of the spots, that looks like a pretty hopeless proposition for the left.
Fidesz may have miscalculated this one. Their relentless “left-liberal” bashing helps Jobbik more than Fidesz.
Now, I know some think that Jobbik is just a subsidiary of Fidesz, but I think they have outgrown that status. I’m sure Fidesz doesn’t mind forming a coalition with Jobbik if it needs a couple of seats for 2/3… but only if Jobbik is not too strong. I don’t think that Fidesz is actually expecting to having to deal with a strong coalition partner. Such a situation may take them by surprise.
In any case, Jobbik’s coming up is bad news for the country, I’m not arguing that.
Zuschlag was a criminal in the MSZP leadership just like Gábor Simon is NOW.
Zuschlag was stealing for the MSZP Party, not for himself, he was simply following orders. Yet he got 6 years in jail no wonder he is pissed. It is easy to look up the bosses in the sports ministry during the time of Zuschlag criminal activity. The sports minister was Ferenc Gyurcsany, and the undersecretary was Attila Mesterházy. The chief of staff and main political adviser was Viktor Szigetvári. These people found themselves a new fall guy, a new patsy this time Gábor Simon who will go to jail for crimes he committed on behalf of MSZP. The MSZP crime bosses will pretend they knew nothing just as in the case of Zuschlag.
Normal people by now are disgusted by the MSZP various criminal activities. They will vote for LMP or Jobbik. At this point people who vote for MSZP can almost be considered crooks themselves. At the very least they do not care about mega-corruption, criminal activity and stealing. They will vote for thieves just like Gábor Simon.
and a good morning to you too! Please send my regards to Mr. Paul, and kindly note that he is checking your work here, so please do take it seriously, otherwise your promotion at the Ministry of Interior will be off the table for a while.
Now let’s correct your lies.
1. Janos Zuschlag was never in the leadership of MSZP, he was a member of parliament between 1998-2004 and the highest position he held within MSZP was that he was a member of the 120-member national electorate body of MSZP, otherwise he was head of the town party chapter in Kiskunhalas.
In any case, however, the last time he had anything to do with MSZP was exactly 10 years ago in 2004 when he resigned from his position as member of parliament after making comments which were deemed antisemitic.
2. Zuschlag’s intercepted/wiretapped phone calls clearly show that he considered Gyurcsany as not corrupt and that he (Zuschlag) felt that Gyurcsany was after him for his (Zuschlag’s) shady practices. If anything, evidence submitted by the prosecution clearly show that neither Gyurcsány nor Mesterhzy was involved in the deals Zuschlag committed 10 years ago.
3. Simon may be a crook and a crazy person but he is no longer with MSZP — he was fired immediately after information was revealed about his secret account. As a result, his case is not relevant to MSZP, however much you would like to believe or hope it is.
4. Mega-corruption does indeed exist at Fidesz. Dude, how can it even exist at MSZP when MSZP could not even participate in public procurements in the last 4 years (as even the municipalites are under Fidesz rule)? If it’s corruption, then it is Fidesz, which is widely known as the most corrupt party in Hungary — people will vote for Fidesz despite its corrupt nature, not because anybody believes fideszniks are snow white. Even the most die-hard fideszniks I know (I guess I talk about mutual friends) admit openly that Fidesz is corrupt, only they do not care and, I assume, they get their share too, which helps.
PS: in your comment you are careful not to support Fidesz overtly, in order for readers to assume that you are a Jobbik supporter or just a simple MSZP-hater. However, your style and the timing of your comment reveal that you are a regular, most probably part of Mr. Paul’s stable. Since you are being paid from taxpayers’ money, please be more objective in the future.
OT: in Hungarian, a nice recap of the real statistics about the Hungarian economy.
There is now less capital investment than there was in 2001 (although there was a minimal increase in 2013, due to EU-funded projects, the rate was still the smallest in the region). The private investment is especially catastrophic (translate: nobody who has money trusts the government or trusts that there could be sustained growth). All in all investments stand at 16-17% of the GDP which ratio is barely enough to cover depreciation, there sure will not be any sustained gdp-growth in the coming years.
Market-based jobs actually decreased by about 10,000 from 2010 to 2013 (ie. any growth in the figures came entirely from GDP-consuming public jobs and from massaging the numbers).
The actual debt / gdp has been stagnating in the 80-81% range and no sign of any improvement and the structural budget deficit is actually 4% after adjusting for the statistical tricks like the nationalization of the private pension funds.
75% of all the costs of the flat rate personal income tax accrued with the top 15% earners, who, as could be expected by reading any economic textbook, did not spend more, but rather saved the extra income (and repaid their own forex debts).
And so on.
Zuschlag is a nobody. Anything he did, was over 10 years ago. He has zero influence on the election. Not a threat to us. The Zuschlag case (in the courts not the farce now), only proved that Gyurcsany is against corruption and hates Zuschlag.
The problem is Gabor Simon. His case is all over even the independent media. There is something new every day. How he had fake passports from Africa, how the money is not his. Every day this continues is a problem. Something must be done to avoid the damage or the election will not be only lost it, will be a catastrophe. I don’t know what to do but the opposition needs to attack somehow. And keep attacking instead of trying to defend.
“The Origo article also says that about half of the new Jobbik voters come from Fidesz”
I have mentioned before about my own observations from one of the more gritty w/c areas in District 7- Fidesz won the seat last time from the MSZP.
There are Jobbik young (and that “young” is important) activists everywhere in the area giving out leaflets, manning stands at the market.
Fidesz, the MP of whom looks like a dolled-up, mutton dressed up as lamb, bourgeouise helicoptered in from Roszadomb, are nowhere to be seen. The democratic opposition have very few people out and about and those that are seem to be belong to another pre-regime change era. in our area Jobbik are Fidesz’s main danger not the democratic parties, unfortunately.
I agree regarding the VII., where Jobbik has been active long before the present campaign. In the VIII., it’s mostly Fidesz booths – I remember one the other day, fifty meters away from the DK headquarters…
The Constitutional Court just approved Orban’s January decree banning campaign ads on public places like electricity pylons. The decision came by a 8-7 margin.
@Ulbrich and KalSan for reacting promptly to “bob” and clearing things up!
And now back to real life:
I just exchanged some €s into HUF and got exactly 310 HUF per € – that clearly shows the efficiency of Fidesz’ economics policy, but still they’ll win the elections overwhelmingly …
What a sad state (of affairs) – something’s deeply rotten in the state of Whorbanistan (copyright Viking at pol.hu) …
Mega – corruption, mega – connections to uncivilized Russia, mega-anti EU, mega – pro-Horthysm, mega – dilettanti economical management. mega-success in demolishing liberal legal structures. mega rightwing press, mega rightwing media.
Who enjoys it?
In reference to the Origo article that An linked to I found it interesting that the Jobbik leadership found anti-EU sentiment so universal among potential Jobbik and Fidesz voters that it hardly needs to discussed in their electoral campaign. This indicates that the left’s general self portrayal as being pro-EU will not cut into that voting block. A much more critical approach to the EU needs to be taken, but I suspect that there is fear of losing to core pro-EU copter base if that is done and the fact that some MSZP people are effectively EU bureaucrats themselves also makes such a shift difficult.
A blogger is astounded that Matolcsy and Orban got their crazy ideas from a book of the tabloid writer Tamas Frei, as the blogger wrote as a joke two years ago.
The applauding extras are paid 800 HUF an hour on Orban’s official March 15 celebrations.
A grand welcome to Ulbrich and KalSan: it’s nice to know that genuine ‘minds’ join us as well as an increasing number of Orbanistan Trolls-
An old article and video from 2010 about the connection between Szijjártó and Zuschlag.
like it or not, EU is disliked by most people in Hungary. Fact. But people will not even vote based on issues like EU, Paks 2, flat tax rates or anything else. There is no reason for the left to campaign with issues, because people do not care about those anymore.
People either want to protest or they want to express their loyalty. That’s it.
If people want to protest a lot will go with Jobbik now that everybody hypes them up for their “professional campaign”, but hopefully still more with the Left, and those who are OK with their lives and want to be part of a winning community will vote for Fidesz, so at least they can be winners once in a life-time. It’s a substitute for a religion, and many actually do understand the situation but they want to believe regardless and consciously do not want to exit the matrix.
Anything beyond these is irrelevant. People do not react to issues. The only “issue” they reacted in four years was the idea of “rezsicsökentés”, but like it was said not necessarily because of the money but perhaps as people took it finally as a sign that the government really cares about them.
This election is the best example, if we needed one, that there are no rational, deliberative voters. It is a liberal myth (btw Bryan Caplan wrote a good book about it, at least as economics was concerned). People like us who debate and try to have a conversation do not understand that people gave up caring long ago. They are in a lethargy and are only capable of exhibiting the most basic reactions, fear, hatred, envy, winning-losing etc. Fidesz always understood this better: debates and rational arguments lead nowhere in this reality.
The left does not seem to get it (or rather they are similar to the religious fideszniks who actually see the reality but just want to be part of the dream) as it desperately wants to believe that its “ideology” (or rather world view, rational, pragmatic, approach to democracy, human dignity — as there is no coherent ideology) works. Well, it doesn’t.
Zuschlag is not just a first rate crook, he’s a complete sociopath. Probably some of what he’s been saying is true, and I don’t buy the the poor innocent MSZP didn’t realize it story either, but his most recent stories have more and more ludicrous elements. He claims to have received death threats, that he was ‘too smart for the party leadership’. It’s impossible to tell anymore what’s reality and what’s made up in his head.
@oc, this is not what the latest poll indicates. Support for the EU is higher than the Union average.
@Jano, Indeed, it is impossible to tell anymore that’s reality and what’s made up. He contradicts himself constantly. For example in the same chapter he claims that he was given 50 million but it turns out that he didn’t ask for money and in fact he didn’t get anything.
Here is the article I found on the subject:
Re support for the EU:
There was a Tarki poll last summer whose results were shown on pol.hu:
“32% said the EU was good, 22% said it was bad, and 39% a little bit of both”
I don’t know if there are any later results, but I seem to remember something about support for the EU having risen last year – just can’t find the info.
I could not resists to (edit) repost the most important parts. Perfectly said. It should be on the top of this thread!!!!
@Istvan: It is not the anti-EU feelings that make people support Jobbik. It is the fact that they managed to portray themselves less aggressive, focus on “practical problems,” project a “can do” attitude, and that they are untainted by scandals, so they come out as champions of honesty in a corrupt political world.
Some of the hard-core Jobbik fans are very dissatisfied with the party’s turn to what they see as a less radical stance. But it seems to work with the voters. The problem is that I don’t think Jobbik is turning less radical; they are just trying to dress up the wolf into sheep’s clothes.
A good example is one of the “practical idea” I heard about that seem to be popular with people worried crime. They suggest leasing out Hungarian prisoners to Eastern countries, where taking care of them would be the fraction of what it cost in Hungary, even including a fee paid to the host country. They argue that so much money would be saved by such a move.
So this is totally a practical suggestion, right? The idea makes sense to the simple folks… why spend so much money on keeping criminals in prison, when we can spend less?
The beauty of this practical suggestion is that if you are a racist, you can easily translate this to “let’s export the gypsy criminals abroad so we don’t have to bother with them anymore.” Jobbik doesn’t have to say the word Gypsy… it is understood by many of their racist fans. But at the same time, Jobbik can claim that they are not racists… they are talking about criminals in general. It also gives the opportunity to some who’d have a problem supporting an openly racist party to quiet their qualms.
Was it Kover or Orban who hinted last year that there is no need for parliament as they have their authority to decide on every issue. I guess if some more last minute laws could be passed thy will be able to catch up to the East that they are trying to open up to:
North Korea holds its first parliamentary election under leader Kim Jong-un, with the 100% vote in his favour.
“All the voters of the constituency took part in voting and 100 per cent of them voted for Kim Jong-un,” North Korea’s official KCNA news agency said. “This is an expression of … people’s absolute support and profound trust in supreme leader Kim Jong-un as they single-mindedly remain loyal to him, holding him in high esteem.”
Each of the nearly 700 constituencies had only one state-sanctioned candidate, ensuring a foregone conclusion in every case. Voting was mandatory and state media said all registered voters across the country – except for those based overseas – took part.
“Each of the nearly 700 constituencies had only one state-sanctioned candidate, ensuring a foregone conclusion in every case. Voting was mandatory and state media said all registered voters across the country – except for those based overseas – took part.”
Ok! Viktor can win another one: out of a Hungarian population of 10 million, he can win a popular vote of 11million (counting other countries’ Hungarian voters…) thereby scoring up
a 110% vote. We’re the greatest!! Viktor’s the best!!! Hungary outdoes again!!!!!!
Former MSZP vice-president Gabor Simon is now behind bars. He is sitting in a cell after a judge ordered to detain him. His case will be reviewed in 30 days, so after the election.
What opposition party can’t protect its own from prison in the middle of election. Do they really want to win? They could have kept his immunity up at least, to protect him until the election.
With this they are lucky if they can get 20% of votes.
Slightly OT but HS readers might enjoy reading this from the BBC-
“Any election win with more than two-thirds of the votes should raise suspicions, because it is so unusual in a free and fair election, he says”
If that happens (and with the regime’s jiggery pokery and the democrats’ general all-round uselessness it could) it will be interesting to see how Viktor’s poodle at the Beeb, Nick Thorpe, explains it to the civilized world.
“I agree regarding the VII., where Jobbik has been active long before the present campaign. In the VIII., it’s mostly Fidesz booths – I remember one the other day, fifty meters away from the DK headquarters…”
And the average age of the apparachiks manning them? 50? 60? Higher?
Why would MSZP protect this criminal from bars? THey are not the Fidesz! They do not sell their soul for popularity. Can you imagine what would happen if Fidesz’ friends, buddies and beneficiaries who are accused with cheating, fraud and lying would be arrested? Imagine Schmitt who Orban protected until the very end would be arrested? WHere is the money from sale of the Fidesz buildings? Imagine all the illegal land deals that was happening for Fidesz beneficiaries and are well recorded would put someone to jail? If you pile it up, there would be no room left at the jail. At the same time many Hungarians will be happily go to the voting booths so they can pay more taxes, they can experience more land fiasco, tobacco deals, anti-semitism, no tender deals, friendship with Putyin and so forth. Fidesz and their buddies in a nutshell!
So does that mean that we should be suspicious of the North Korean 100%?
“So does that mean that we should be suspicious of the North Korean 100%?”
No, it’s a dictatorship and you only get those kind of figures in a dictatorship.
I would be more suspicious of an EU *democracy* where the winner pulls in, say, over 80* of the vote or…alternatively , say, 67+% of the seats in parliament on less than, say, 30% of the total electorate. Talking purely theoretically of course;)
50/60 perhaps, to tell the truth nothing struck me as odd, except for the government arrow logo. Anyway, the left-wing militants are nowhere to be seen.
As much as I understand from what I read here the media issues caused by the new electoral regulations, my guess is the democratic opposition doesn’t feel the need for grass-roots campaigning, which seems a bit awkward. Since I wasn’t here four years ago I certainly lack perspective, however I don’t regret making the decision to vote in France, and not in Hungary, for the upcoming EP election. The turnout may not be better, but at least it’s more lively.
My question was simple sarcasm. I think most of us understand the difference. At the same time I must say that the multiple party system is a farce at current Hungary, and only exist to show that Hungary is a “true democracy”. I stated in a previous quote that Kover or Orban (I cannot recall) already questioned if there is any importance of the parliament, so being sarcastic with 100% vote is just half of a joke.
I found it! I mean the link to Kover’s speech where he wants to limit the power of the parliament.
“According to Kover, there is no need to current way of governing, as the current system was established from fear of dictatorship after the changes, and at the time until 1998. However, the danger is past.
According to the speaker of the house [Kover], the parliament should give more leeway to the government to should give more leeway to regulate directly. The parliament “should spend its energy to account the executive power.”
Plainly, according to Kover the parliament’s role should be the “bookkeepers” of the Fidesz Government.
“[Gyurcsány] had a very low opinion of his undersecretary whom he inherited from his predecessor, György Jánosi (MSZP). Why didn’t he get rid of Zuschlag?”
That is suspicious indeed, but I would turn to the most simple explanation: Because Zuschlag wasn’t his undersecretary. To the best of my knowledge Zuschlag never served in a government position.
The sad thing is that even though I absolutely agree with your assessment of Zuschlag’s personality – and naturally his “revelations” are timed to boost Fidesz by hurting MSZP -, it is conceivable that some of the details he has provided are true. At least they don’t sound unrealistic.
If MSZP did indeed pay him not to run for Parliament, that money was well invested. Does Zuschlag ever wonder what kind of a man he is if his own party pays him a fortune not to be active in politics? That question was rhetorical, of course.
@Some1: it shouldn’t be a surprise that the next move will be towards a presidential regime. Two terms with OV as PM to be followed by two terms of the same as POH. How do ya like them apples?
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