Ferenc Gyurcsány: Angels or Demons

On August 27 Ferenc Gyurcsány published a lengthy article on Népszabadság‘s op/ed page that turned out to be a shortened version of the original, which was published the following day on Galamus.

The article, “Angels or Demons,” spawned the kind of upheaval that normally follows Gyurcsány’s writings or speeches. His political adversaries and antagonistic journalists in Index and HVG attacked the DK chairman as someone whose time has passed and who has no right to speak on behalf of the Hungarian left.

The most vehement criticism came from Viktor Szigetvári, once a close associate of Gyurcsány, who now as co-chairman of Együtt-PM sees Gyurcsány and his party as a threat to his own political aspirations. His feelings about his former boss became especially evident during an interview on ATV’s Egyenes beszéd. The reaction may have hurt Együtt-PM’s slim chances at the forthcoming municipal elections. After all, most anti-Fidesz voters would like to see a common front against the current regime and instead they see nothing but strife. 

The second criticism came from the old-time MSZP leadership, from Imre Szekeres, who made it clear that they do not need any advice from Ferenc Gyurcsány.

What was in Gyurcsány’s article that so upset the other two democratic parties? He declared that in the long run “the optimal goal is the creation of a unitary Democratic Party.” According to Szigetvári, what the opposition needs is not so much one large party as a “new kind of politics.” Szekeres answered that what Hungary needs today is a strong socialist party. If one can believe the latest public opinion poll, DK’s projected results in the elections (8%) are very close to those of MSZP (11%) while Együtt-PM is trailing with 4%. Szigetvári was especially upset about the timing of the article. There’s no question. Ferenc Gyurcsány was trying to bolster support for his own party, which couldn’t have pleased the other party leaders.

The English translation of this controversial article appeared in Free Hungary.

* * *

We politicians, just like most of our compatriots, are neither angels nor demons. Of course, there are some amongst us who are naive like angels, who are idealists and endlessly fair, just as some of us are clever as hell, and are flirting with sin – they are pure mercenaries.

The years of anxiety are coming. They are coming not because this is what we would like to happen, but because Hungary’s political community is split in two. Our motherland is virtually became separated into two countries when it comes to dreams, visions and the deepest-held beliefs. And there is nothing between those two countries. Or, if there is anything there, it is indecisiveness, indifference, apathy and resignation. The situation is indeed dramatic – many say it is hopeless. We have come to a crossroads now.

“Viktor Orbán’s Hungary is built upon the model of Vladimir Putin’s Russia” – Fareed Zakaria, a former editor of Newsweek and Time, and currently a columnist of the Washington Post and host on CNN has just written this in The Washington Post. In one of his essays dating to 1997, Zakaria indeed wrote about the threat of illiberal democracy, but he would have never thought that a leader of a European nation would ever use the word ‘illiberal’ as a decoration.

Orbán’s actions in the past years all show that the Hungarian Prime Minister introduced such a regime in Hungary which can be best be described as ‘Putinism’. The regime’s main elements are nationalism, religion, social conservatism, state capitalism and a firm hold over the media. Orbán is following into the footsteps of Putin in that he eliminates the independence of the judiciary, restricts the rights of individuals, talks about Hungary’s ethnic minorities in nationalist terms and muzzles the press – Zakaria notes, and then specifically highlights in his article the advertising tax aimed at making the private TV channel RTL Klub‘s functioning impossible.

“Zakaria believes Orbán is on the same path as France’s Marine Le Pen, the Netherlands’ Geert Wilders or Britain’s Nigel Farage, who all are Putin’s admirers” – 444.hu claimed in its report on Fareed Zakaria’s article. Since then the author has also shared his conclusions with the viewers of CNN.

Our Hungary – which is also my Hungary – is completely different: It is a liberal democracy. I know that many are already fed up with it, but I repeat it once again: We believe that we Hungarian citizens – as free and independent citizens – are the basis of the state. The state is a product of us, and not the other way round. We are independent, but not isolated; by our very nature, we create smaller or bigger communities, we have families, we are surrounded by friends companionships, we live in cities and in villages, we are Hungarians and patriots. We adapt to the rules created by us in our communities, we also make sacrifices for them if needed; however, we stay with our conviction that the individual is above all else, and that he/she shall not be compelled to submit neither to his/her family, nor to his/her nation, but that he/she is rather the creator of those entities.

That is why we would like to create a state that lets us live free, a state that does not interfere with our religious, political, cultural or sexual preferences, and one that is actually not allowed to do so. We want the state’s power to be regulated and limited by the law. That is why we aim for a state under the rule of law, for a free press, for the free exercise of religion and for the separation of powers. We wish to have an independent judiciary and prosecutors who operate in accordance with the law. We stand up for the freedom and for the protection of property as well as for competition and a market economy. We do not believe in pure economic liberalism (we never had it before anyway), which only secures the power of the strong. We want a state that is efficient, that assumes social responsibility and one that can guarantee, regulate and monitor fair competition – so to say, what we want is a European-style republic. There are no compromises. It is either the one or the other. Either Orbán’s illiberal democracy or a European-style, civic liberal democracy. There is nothing in between.

We can see that most of our compatriots are not satisfied with their lives – they are fatigued and disappointed. The average Hungarian, if there is such, is tired of politics, has contempt for us politicians, and turns away from public affairs. The average Hungarian wants simple things: A safe, secure job, better pay, future for the children, free enterprise, a secure present and a predictable calculable future. And, of course, he/she would like to be part of a successful community, and that is why wants a strong Hungary, so that he/she could view him-/herself as a proud citizen and also his/her compatriots as proud citizens of such a country.

But we are far from that. And since many, in fact, a great many people became disillusioned by the new Hungary that was brought about by the regime change these people are now looking for new ways and new answers. Because the leading ideology of the regime change was liberal democracy, parliamentarianism and a state under the rule of law, and a market economy, and because until now we have been searching for the opportunities to improve living standards and ascend in conjunction with the European Union, now strikingly great numbers of people are turning their backs to all this in their state of disillusionment. They are already running counter to the past two and a half decades and would be willing to march on the side of Orbán in the opposite direction. We can see it, perceive it and we say it now: They are marching in a historical dead-end street.

I do not have any ideas capable of saving the world. In my Őszöd speech I promised “fucking good books” from the Left. Actually this is not what is going to happen now. I want to suggest very simple things only.

Please do not give in to the despotism, and do not make any explanations as to why Orbán is right! Orbán actually sees the majority of our problems; maybe he was even faster in spotting them than we were. In this regard, he is a capable politician indeed. Why should we deny it? His answers, however, stupefyingly derail our country from the path of success that we hope to achieve. One must simply realise that while our country is sinking deeper and deeper, Orbán and his subserviently obedient cronies are amassing never-before-seen fortunes, influence and power. A few are standing on the burden-laden shoulders of the many. That is the regime of Orbán like. Do not make any compromises! We must resist! Some must do it quietly, some loudly. Some with moderation, some with fury. Everyone in on the way he/she can. Just do not submit to it, do not accept it, and do not give it up. Because if we did that, it would mean giving up on ourselves and our homeland. Is this what you want to do?

Do not believe that the state is almighty! We the people are the solution and the secret. The fact that we want something new, that we want to have a better life, and that we are willing to work more and in a different way, and to pass many a night thinking, learning, and fighting against our own failings, fears, laziness and envy. Of course, do not yield to selfishness, to the circumvention of the law that applies to and obliges everyone. Dare to look ahead further than tomorrow, dare to search for everything that will also make also our children and grandchildren rise!

Because many are the tired, and indeed as it seems as though time is running out, there is great demand on both sides for politics’ magic wand, for revolutionary passion, for the “we will erase the past once and for all”-type radicalism, and for shock therapy. The polling booth revolution and the false system of national cooperation are also forms of shock therapy – a kind of a nationalist, despotic and anti-European shock therapy. Those on our side who demand liberal market reforms would also reposition Hungary by a big rush. But we simply would not survive another shock therapy. Do you see, now, that barely anyone believes by now that a weaker state, less social welfare and increased individual self-sufficiency could obtain a majority amongst voters? And not because all these would not be necessary, but simply because our spiritual power has vanished, because we had depleted our reserves, and because there are millions that are just vegetating and now they not only do not want to, but are actually no longer able to take on more responsibility for their lives. In this country, almost everybody is seeking for help. From the state, from local governments, parents, children, from anyone. Meanwhile – occupied with our own misery – we grow more selfish and more indifferent. The only way out is towards accepting and taking on greater social responsibility and towards a more responsible way of market-based competition. Yes, indeed, the ideal of a social Hungary and a social market economy must be resurrected. Well, I could also call it a European-style, democratic and social Hungary characterised by a market economy and the rule of law. Where people align and cooperate with each other, where the wealthy assume greater social responsibility, where jobs are safe for workers and employees, and where civic society is stronger. Let us create such a country!

Dare to respect the people, and do not think that we Hungarians are of a special mould, which would render us better than others! We are in fact not better than any other nation. We are different, but not better; however, we are not worse either. We are civic democrats. Everybody matters, regardless of which nation or ethnicity he/she belongs to. Of course, we protect our national heritage, our language, our history, and we do all this virtually across borders; however, Hungarian statehood – within the meaning of public law – solely extends to the dramatically decreased territory of post-Trianon Hungary. It is a painful fact, yet it is a fact. And rejecting this historical fact is not a patriotic act, but instead an act of adventurism.

Do not give in to clericalism! Belief in God is the essence and miracle of life for many people. Yet others believe in the People, and are doubtful of the existence of God or the Creator. Who knows who is right? It is not the state’s business to decide a polemic concerning the deepest sense of life, because it equally represents all those who believe in God, all those who are doubtful of God’s existence and all those who are atheists, i.e. all of its citizens. We demand a state and a government that considers as its mission – without intending to force any kind of religious belief upon us – the service of the universal good and the promotion of mutual understanding between citizens having various world views. Do not want to be missionaries, and especially not in the name of the state, as Pope Francis – a humanist currently sitting on the throne of Saint Peter – has so warned us!

Let our children be free! Let them see the thousands of colours and interpretations of this world, let them have their doubts and their – many times shaking – truths. Let them play and make mistakes, let them wander off, get lost and find their way home. Let them be doubtful, let them be pioneers, inventors, and discoverers of new ways. Dare to teach them about the past, and let them teach us about the future.

Do not fear the people that who are different, and do not fear strangers and foreigners! Show interest for their difference, look for the similarities with them, and be intrigued by their different way of thinking, culture and mentality, because those might make us better too. It is not enough to protect Hungarians, but they should also be improved, and oftentimes the greatest help may come right from non-Hungarians. Behold them, but do not bow before them just because they come from faraway lands!

Yes, be liberals! Or, if you like it that way, be humanists. Dare to behold the people who are just like us! They are fearful, they are glad, they are confident and they become disheartened. They are like us: They love, hate, hope and get helpless. They all are people. Hungarian, Romanian, Slovak, Serb, Šokci, Ruthenian, Russian, Austrian, French, German, English, American, but I do not wish to go on. Dare to be human in a universal sense and stay Hungarian with an open mind and with a readiness to understand!

And, as democrats, be capable of taking care of each other! Do not expect more from others than what you expect from yourselves! Demand as much change from others as you can change. More questions and less categorical statements. This is what might bring us closer to a better world, to a better Hungary. Is this too simple? Not at all. It is more difficult than you would think.

You might, of course, say that this is all fine, but how will this lead to a new, strong, and democratic Hungary? Now I have to give you a wake-up call: Slowly – and the road will be winding, with many errors, and in the beginning with only small – yet much hoped – successes. There is no magic pill.

The all-important question is whether we will be able to offer – in accordance with European and civic democratic values – a new political alternative in the coming years. The country is bleeding from a thousand cuts, so we will be confronted with a number of unresolved issues as regards health care, education and the pension system; there is really no way back to 2010 after the past four years. We have to say different things and in a different manner, and if we already learnt the word then also I dare to use it: From time to time and in some sectors we will need unorthodox solutions and political innovation. This, however, will not work in such a way that we sit down in a corner and someone will suddenly shout out loud “Eureka, I’ve found it”. No. We can only create the framework and the life of the new republic in free and open debates.

We, of course, respect our voters – they have the ultimate power. But if the majority of our democrat supporters just continue to be growl and grumble, saying that they cheer for us when they stop us on the street or in a Tesco store, adding that we should hold on, well, this way we will never make it. Even if it hurts many, I say it that if you do not organise, if you do not establish influential public forums and circles for your villages and towns, then we will simply never get ahead. Talking politics in coffee shops and quiet discontent will never get us anywhere. If you do not organise resistance and protests against the selfish mayors of the Orbánist right-wing regime, if there are no protests and petitions in the future either, then we will always stay the hopeful second. Do you want to fight or look for alibis? Make up your mind!

If we are right and Orbán’s regime is unsustainable, then the regime will sooner or later go away, and so will its leader. Whether it will be a noisy collapse or a slow downfall with a gradual retreat into minority status, I do not know. There is one thing, however, which would surely not serve our interests: Upheaval, rebellion, or any kind of violence. We must resist, fight and prepare for Orbán’s downfall. But, do you not also see that we are not yet ready to handle the post-Orbán situation? Our present weakness is Orbán’s single best trump card. Because back in spring, too, it was not him winning, but it was us losing. Because we are divided, old-fashioned, lacking in ideas and weak. Hungary deserves not only a better government, but a better opposition as well. We, too, need to become better. That is what I am working for.

The current election system forces a situation whereby the democratic parties must unite or face extinction. Either uniting or ‘political death’ – it is that simple. We will have to join forces for the 2018 general election, too, unless the election system changes – but since that would run counter to the interests of Fidesz, I would be surprised to see the pressure that was put on us (and that is binding us together) being loosened. The optimal ultimate goal is clear: Establishing a uniform Democratic Party. But in view of the stumbling preparatory negotiations for the local government elections, and the alarmingly low level of willingness to compromise, I think that we are still very far from this – which is really sad, but this is how it is. There are, of course, intermediate solutions as well. We could form a party union with a joint board while preserving the partial autonomy of the democratic parties, or we could set up even looser forms of cooperation with permanent inter-party consultations, and with forums and institutions to that end. In such a way and with such a speed as the political, personal and cultural conditions allow all or any of them.

Making alliances, resisting, developing programmes and primarily taking care of one another – that is the task. The Hungary of the future awaits us. We should tarry not!

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31 comments

  1. London Calling!

    The essence of what required is there – a good analysis.
    I particularly like the recognition that Hungarians are neither superior – or inferior – to other nations. It needs saying to Hungarians.

    And the realisation that Post-Trianon has to be an accepted fact of life.

    However I doubt Hungarians are going to like it.

    Fine words butter no parsnips.

    And the municipals will be a walkover just as the rigged elections turned out to be.

    Divided opposition (downright stupid opposition), divided country, divided society.

    Too many divisions.

    And, as I said, fine words butter no parsnips.

    Regards

    Charlie

  2. Stirring, and relatively succinct. Importantly, he states that we need to wait for Orbán to fail, and be ready to occupy the vacuum. Depressing, but probably correct. If Orbán is overthrown in any way, he and his followers can always say that his way was the correct way, but it wasn’t given a chance to succeed. Thus are dead political movements brought back to life, to hinder and hobble the political system. The only problem with this thinking is that 20 years of Orbánism may well permanently cripple Hungary. it would be difficult to rebel against the Russian empire, once we are sucked into it – ask Chechnya, or Ukraine, or even Belarus.

  3. First off thanks to Eva for posting the full essay by Fervency Gyurcsány, I read the shorter version in Népszabadság and the full version is actually much more interesting. While Gyurcsány supposedly has a degree in economics, whether or not he actually completed a thesis or submitted a plagiarized thesis remains an issue apparently. None the less clearly his thinking on economics seems somewhat confused.

    An example of that confusion is his abstract thinking on “European-style, democratic and social Hungary characterized by a market economy” that never situates the Hungarian economy within the world market or even the EU. It’s all a lovely abstraction. A market economy driven by its low wage advantage relative to France, Germany, Austria and many other EU nations is a totally different reality than those nations with stronger social welfare systems and higher overall incomes.

    I think his essay in no way will create a basis for merging political formations to the left of Fidesz. The European social welfare states are built on totally different economic foundations than what Hungary has today and replicating them may in the current world economy not be a simple thing. So what is Gyurcsány’s plan B? What mix of public and private property in an economy like Hungary’s might generate the basis for a European style social welfare state?

    EU cohesion funds will not do the trick either and at some point in the future they will stop. As Gyurcsány correctly states a “great many people became disillusioned by the new Hungary,” Unless there is at least some idea on how to improve living standards for Hungarians all the discussion of civic liberal democracy vs an illiberal state of Orban is really meaningless.

  4. @Istvan. You are confused about the allegedly plagiarized senior paper. He was a biology major first and it was that senior paper that was questioned by some. After he got that degree, he enrolled in economics and as far as I know he did well there.

    I watched several speeches of his on the financial situation of the country delivered at Corvinus University while he was prime minister and they were excellent performances. Very impressive. A whole hour without notes.

  5. Rather typical Hungarian reaction – both the has beens and the wannabes refusing the only logical step possible in order to have an Orbán-free Hungary.

    There is no other way, dear girls and boys, you better face to the fact.

    Unfortunately, if the so called “democratic opposition” only can concentrate to stabilise their coexistence with the present hoodlums by the helm, nothing going to change in the foreseeable future, whatever Szigetvári is dreaming about, or Szekeres declares as the ultimate truth – and I still haven’t mentioned the opportunist “András Schiffer Could Have Been Different” party to complete the picture. They doing nothing but trying to establish their place in the otherwise insignificant lineup.

    Yes, you still can play in the sandbox for awhile, and whine about “why not” did you managed to do something again, and it all could be true – if your only goal is to explain away you inadequacy again and again.

    The simple truth is, it’s not going to work alone, not now, not ever.

    Unite in a progressive, enlightened contemporary way, or go down the sewer as you all destined to, one by one.
    Only then and there your leading role will make any difference, as in who hits the bottom first, who will disappear from the political landscape as the biggest looser, because whatever you do, you’ll end up as history with an attitude.

    And it would be the lesser problem.

    The really big problem is, that Orbán and the orbanism vill remain the deciding factor in Hungary for decades to come, thank to the narrow-minded “leaders” of the democratic opposition, who takes pitiful self-interest before common good, sort-sighted vanity and personal pride before rationality – as many before them during our history.

    And the only politician who can see this clearly – Gyurcsány – declared irrelevant raving lunatic.

    Congratulations!
    Or better to say: Please, accept my condolences, what flowers do you prefer for your – political – funeral..?

  6. I agree Eva, those speeches were excellent and memorable indeed!
    A pity that the timing wasn’t quite good, it should have came earlier and be repeated a number of times over time in order to sink in to the wider public too.

  7. I think Istvan posed some valid questions here, for example “The European social welfare states are built on totally different economic foundations than what Hungary has today and replicating them may in the current world economy not be a simple thing.”

    Added to that is that the European social welfare state itself faces challenges as its foundation is shaking (because of aging population, loss of competitiveness, lack of growth, indebted states). The Western European social welfare model is fighting for its survival and although I think it is going to make it through the rough times, right now it is just not inspiring for other countries to follow. In such a situation, it is very difficult for the Hungarian opposition to offer an alternative to Orban’s worldview, a vision that convincingly offers hope for a better life for Hungarians.

    Don’t get me wrong, unlike Istvan I do believe that Gyurcsany is right and Hungary should move toward a Western European style of political model… it is just that the times are such that the appeal of such move are really not evident.

  8. Gyurcsan, old Mesterhazy, Schiffer and the other liberal politician are busy to arrange the chairs at the funeral of Hungary!

  9. Great speeches and earnest pontificating aside, Gyurcsany has failed on two significant grounds: (No, I liked the Oszod speech)

    1) Gyurcsany should’ve prevailed on Bajnai to maintain the leadership of the party and to run in 2010; and after the election, Gyurcsany should’ve been a solid backer of Bajnai.

    2) Gyurcsany still has to answer a key question: when one man has shown himself capable of
    helping the Roma significantly–his name escapes me but he’s the Roma mayor of a town in the south of Hungary who recently was on Egyenes Beszed–then why was he not recruited by Gyurcsany to join MSZP? It seems to me that background deals with the established Roma power grid holds sway….hence, let’s not get carried away with Gyurcsany’s liberalism and ‘desire’ to reform.

    The fact is that only Bajnai, goose-killing reputation and all, can successfully lead Hungary if given the chance…but I think the politicos of this sad, woebegone country are to happy to
    shuffle and deal amongst themselves for the spoils with little care for Mr. Average joe.

  10. OT

    Good to know that Laci Kövér the informal head of the Hungarian secret services thinks that what is going on in Ukraine is just a circus and that the Ukrainian government is illegitimate and that it is normal that Russia has territorial demands over certain areas outside of its borders (though he understands those poor Baltic nations and Poland that they are somewhat concerned). If that is the base line argument of the government, about which I have no doubt then the Russians don’t really have to work that hard on Hungary.

    http://index.hu/kulfold/2014/09/04/kover_ketsegbe_vonta_ukrajna_letezeset/

  11. @Antiq

    George Schöpflin recently published a satirical ‘brief guide on how to write a denunciation of Hungary’. According to him it takes a relatively elaborate design, and some work.

    He’s wrong: a good picture and a quote from Kövér are enough.

  12. What should be done about Hungary…

    The country should be donated to the American School of Psychological Inquiry…before the Russians occupy it!

  13. For some reason, I’m reminded of a Woody Allen short story that parodies Plato. “The senate is furious over your ideas for a utopian state.” “I guess I should never have suggested having a philosopher king.” “Yes, especially when you kept pointing to yourself and clearing your throat!”

    There was quite a good opinion piece about Gyurcsány in NOL yesterday which is worth a read: http://nol.hu/velemeny/mit-kezdjunk-gyurcsannyal-1483883

    There is no denying FGy brilliance as a speaker and by the abysmal standards of Hungarian political life, he is unquestionably the most intelligent politician around (although not intelligent in the Bokros sense.) If he had not been in power, then I think he would be a fantastic ray of hope, capable of rallying people from all over the spectrum behind a new movement. But that is the rub: he HAS been in power, he was prime minister for over 4 years. And during that time, he achieved nothing. The Öszödi Beszéd was a frank admission that he had run the country into the ground for reasons of political expediency, a courageous admission if made to the public and the electorate but frankly less appealing when made in secret to your own party. Had he resigned, then a case could have been made for his integrity. Instead, having royally screwed things up, he presented himself as the country’s saviour! It was a stunning miscalculation and although I’m sure Eva Balogh will argue that Orbán’s 2/3rds majority was the result of the 2008 global crisis, I have little doubt myself that Orbán’s 2010 victory was sealed by Gyurcsány’s arrogance in deciding to soldier on post-Öszöd.

    And now the philosopher king is ruminating on trying to unify the left, while pointing to himself and clearing his throat!! I’m sorry but it is another in a long line of stunning miscalculations and sadly makes any hope of an opposition revival impossible.

  14. @Ovidiu

    Thanks for the link.

    It’s high time that people started pondering Russia’s surreptitious designs on the ex-communist
    countries and beyond…

  15. @Ovidiu

    Thx for the link. Do you happen to know who’s behind this so-called ‘Institute’? While I tend to agree that several topics evoked in this piece certainly deserve attention, I’m a bit cautious about unnamed ‘analysts’ writing on websites a couple months old …

    Btw, how’s the regional reform doing in Romania?

    PS: but surely, Semjén never disappoints – especially when he mentions Kosovo and Catalonia.

  16. Gyurcsány’s is a good piece in the best humanistic tradition (although the translation could do with some revision). I’d like to make a few remark’s though:

    – At present it is only speculation to talk about economic models – and systems of taxation which he didn’t mention even once.
    – Given the lethargy of the majority, it is probably logical not to expect or hope for some rebellion or a sort of “Hungarian Spring” because one never knows what this will lead to.
    – He is quite right in urging a consolidated opposition and that this should begin with a grassroots movement.

    – However, this united opposition should immediately decide to boycott any and all elections under the present system. Only that would send a credible signal to the rest of the world. Otherwise the opposition would have to keep on losing and complaining how unfair it all was. That is not an option.

  17. Marcel Dé (@MarcelD10)

    I don’t know, but the translation appeared in the Romanian media few days ago and created a lot of debates.

    The regional reform has been removed from the public agenda.Even a milder form of it -at the present county level- attempted last year by the present govt. was rejected by the Constitutional Court…and there is little public support for such a reform.

    something maybe related to that analysis :

    http://www.politics.hu/20140902/hungary-serbia-ties-on-upswing-says-outgoing-ambassador/

  18. @ Minusio

    “Only that would send a credible signal…”

    Nope.
    Hungarian political culture lacking the most essential, and basic ingredients–ethics and good will
    towards the citizenry–nothing a joint opposition can figure will work with one exception:
    All opposition members who run for office must put their money where their mouth is–or, in other
    words, they must sign a Probity Clause with clearly defined monetary penalties and jail time for
    ‘fraud while in office’.

    You can scratch your heads ’till the cows come home–the one thing that the boob-ster called ‘a Hungarian’, has learned is that all Hungarian politicians lie and steal, and would sell their mothers at a moment’s notice. Atleast with Fidesz they get some mildly tranquilizing fantasies about ‘Hungarian Exceptionalism’.

  19. @Ovidiu: sorry to hear that about the regional reform. I was mentioning it because it was a way to envision the ‘transylvanian affair’ through a more global prism (the organization of all Romania) than that of an old vendetta. Empowering ‘regions’ often provides a more relaxed way to deal with such tensions.

    Now, to follow on the same track, an Atlantist piece entitled ‘The Russification’ of Serbia:
    http://ceas-serbia.org/root/images/Rustifikacija.pdf

    PS: there has been a lot of articles comparing Vučić to Orbán in the Serbian press this summer…

  20. (I should write more carefully…I’ll try my sentence after “Nope” again:

    “Hungarian political culture lacks the essential and basic ingredients–ethics, and goodwill towards its citizenry–and thus nothing a joint opposition….”

  21. @ Marcel De

    I got that spelling from a google search.
    I agree, it’s good stuff but I don’t know where to find it in ‘internationalist’ Budapest (Hungarians, Hungarians, everywhere but not a varenyky to be found..)

  22. @HiboM
    Please, remember that when Gyurcsány was in office he still struggled with the dead weight of MSZP – the Öszöd speech part of his attempt to shake them up, it was not aimed for public consumption, ever – to finally leave them for good and start his own party.

    In my opinion quite wrong assuming that Gyurcsány is the same with DK as he was with MSZP – for better or worse – quite different, believe me.

  23. HiboM’s summary of Gy was pretty spot on.

    Much as we want a solution to Orbán, we mustn’t let hope replace reality.

  24. @Paul
    Well, quite near.
    However, in my opinion the reasoning is faulty.
    Gyyrcsány unfit to lead the democratic opposition for various reasons, but not for he has governed the country previously as he did. Just read my comment one more time, you’ll see the point.

    At the moment no other of the leaders of the so called “democratic opposition” came up with a better solution, in fact no any solution in sight which has the slightest chance.
    Why?
    Everyone else trying to get the best of the present situation without risking their position – they accepting Orbán and the orbanism in order to have their miserable little status safe for the time being, while bashing each other in every available opportunity.

    I more and more tend to agree with Ákos Kertész, – albeit not his reasoning regarding genetics – Hungarians seem to accept just about everything if there is a chance to personal gain.
    As it happens to be, Gyurcsány can afford not to make such compromises, so he can be straight and honest, as opposed to the rest – tough luck to the others?

    Oh, well…

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