Our objective is to provide English speaking readers interested in Hungary with a well balanced view of political activities in Hungary by featuring contents from various printed and online sources together with our own commentaries. We are convinced that Hungary is built on all sorts of different ideas, thoughts and opinions and, despite of the new Media Law, our aim is to provide an alternative and reliable source of information – contrary to the one-sided press of the government – for those who want to hear the voice of a free Hungary.
Published on Thursday, 11 September 2014 20:34
Everyone sees that Hungary is on the way to disaster. Everyone understands they have some responsibility in the genesis of this situation, and also in avoiding the tragedy – because it can still be avoided. Yet our opposition debates concerning public affairs are – all the while – characterised by self-repetition, devastating sarcasm, the absolutising of the despair of 'no way out' and panic terror.
There are some people that are hoping for a civil war (because it must happen according to them) and that the deaths and the destruction will be followed by prosperity. (Of course not!) There are some people that believe that the opposition must now – after all – follow the same political techniques that Orbán uses: it is rather desirable to treat Hungarians as idiots by using a populist narrative that we like more, since politics can and should only be made in the way that the currently ruling premier deigned to teach us all in the past decade. (Emphatically not!)
And there are yet others that believe that a perfect public policy package – and one that is full of solutions – is in fact already available, and that it conforms to all expectations based on textbook ideologies. Furthermore, these people do not think it is a problem that the people do not like such a package, and they do so based on the assumption that there is no other way, so we just have to wait it out, because "the people need a real catastrophe", and so they will one day understand it all and after that day everything will be fine for everyone. (No!)
Former Prime Minister and Chairman of the Democratic Coalition (DK), Ferenc Gyurcsány made an attempt last week at analysing the current situation and showing us the way out. It was an important, yet ill-timed piece of writing, which failed to get to the point.
These days the activists of EGYUTT-PM are gathering people's signatures in many places together with the activists of DK. In other places we are running separately, competing with each other. When it comes to the local government elections, our members, activists and supporters think the same in some places – but when it comes to the 2018 general elections, they do not. Then (without any prior notification) it happens to me as co-Chairman that I have to read about what and how EGYUTT-PM should do in order to achieve victory.
Because of the method, the only thing I could think of was that Ferenc Gyurcsány concluded it was time to start humming the tune of cooperation and unity. It was a rational act on his part, though only from the point of view of the autumn 2014 local government elections and from DK's point of view. From the viewpoint of 2018, however, it was not the right time. Honestly, I am sorry. Focusing on questions of formality is not the right way of searching for solutions. In the parliamentary election system of today it is obviously better to launch one individual opposition candidate in each constituency.
However, there are a number of possible options to this end. The former PM was undoubtedly right in that the parody surrounding our negotiations cannot (and should not) be repeated ever again. Nowadays, however, no one has the power to unite the left-of-centre opposition parties on his own. Moreover, I am not convinced that there only needs to be one pole for the opposition. Ferenc Gyurcsány is right when he indicated in a realist manner that no such great idea or single thought exits which alone could solve all the problems.
Now there are only limited options for organizing political parties: these days government employees will not become party members, nor attend any civic events because they have fear. There is no secret dream team, neither any elite corps trained abroad. There is not a single group of citizens that did not take part in politics before, but now will do so, and in such a way as to eliminate everyone else. There might be some newcomers – in fact, let us see them coming –, but they also will have to cooperate with others. Everyone can be blackmailed, everyone has fear, and so at the end of the day every opposition movement – no matter if in the cities of Bicske or Barcs –, from LMP to DK, would find itself at the same family serving as a local basis of the opposition. That is the reality of today.
The former premier, however, immediately jumped to the last step in the game by seeking to overcome opposition infighting by various forms of alliances. That is not a solution. Matters regarding content are more important than how parties are to be organised. In the narrow room of real economy and realpolitik that has been left for manoeuvring, Viktor Orbán has not been making optimal choices for a long time now, but instead, he subjects everything to the preservation of his own sovereignty. Yet a better, to the point, feasible and fiscally sustainable programme, which is at the same time worthy of the support of the majority of people, could still be offered to Hungary.
But only those solutions are valid that address the whole thing, i.e. Hungary's current problems in their entirety; partial solutions and predetermined roles are not acceptable. Understanding one another's mutually legitimate viewpoints may well prove to be the most difficult task of all; however, it shall be constantly pursued. The task is not making judgments, but searching for the best possible way forward. The rejection of Orbán's anti-pluralistic political credo can only be built on the acceptance of pluralism.
That there are others as well. And that they may also be right on certain things. That churches, believers and the government's policy vis-à-vis the churches should not be mixed. That András Schiffer is also right on certain issues, but this does not mean that we have to follow him. That the events of autumn 2006 could still be discussed. That we should not beat (each other) at a political rally. That the crisis management governments of both Ferenc Gyurcsány and Gordon Bajnai acted with a view to the national interest. That it is not politically correct to address or talk about Roma people in a derogative manner (voicing the word 'Gypsy') and that – at the same time – we will also not deny the reality of today for the sake of our comfort and convenience.
That – compared to the intellectual reformer-leftist canon of the 1980's and 1990's – more leftist and better social policy tools are needed in order to create opportunities. That mistakes were committed in the process of privatisation. That Hungary's current judicial system now only serves the interests of Fidesz and the Fidesz-leaning elite, so it no longer serves the people, but that there were serious problems with it even before that also. That the biggest problem is the dominance of the state and of the public sector. That despite this, not a weaker but a stronger state is needed.
That no compromises can be made with Orbán, but that they shall be made with his voters. That repeating the 'pseudo-leftist' mantra by LMP against the parties of the left is nothing but an act of stupid political racism. That it is not worth building our politics solely on the worries and fears of the shrinking Hungarian middle class. That extreme poverty and unemployment are not merely social problems today, but that they already are challenges to democracy. That foreign working capital is not evil, but that it will not be a solution per se to all of our problems. That Hungarian SMEs are not sacred cows either, but that the most probable way to help them is by way of competitive capitalism. That it is not possible to make another promise to four million people that everything will be fine in twenty years from now. That there is no functioning political community without a civil society, no matter how and wherefrom it is financed. That within the agricultural sector, the logic of 'small farms good, large farms bad' simply does not hold true, but that both large and small farms might be either of them. That we all have to change, because Orbán is lying when he is telling us that he will resolve all of our problems for, instead and without us because we are all fine and we do not need to change at all. Yet without changing ourselves one step at a time, we can never make it.
The hardest part will be that we will have to be able to disconnect from the political religion those voters' interests (which are independent of Orbán) that still believe him. The reason for this is that for the members of his camp, Orbán transformed politics into a religion-surrogate. Thus many expect an anti-religion from the opposition, but that is a dead-end street. We should not celebrate any triumphs in the process, because we have no reason for doing so, and also because it is our common tragedy that our homeland ended up in the barge of Orbán's populist, leader-oriented and quasi-religious politics, and also that for a number of years, the opposition was looking for the way out in that same direction.
We need a solution that can incorporate Fidesz voters and the Right as well from the very beginning, but without Orbán. The most difficult challenge will be crushing the methodology of and the faith in the secular political religion crafted by Orbán. Instead of following this quasi-religious political course, the task is to create 'magic free politics' in Hungary. Since without that, we will only continue our way on a dead-end street, which is paved with mutual hatred and characterised by the opposition between a minority within Hungarian society, which has been made accustomed to the cult of the leader, and a passive majority.
Magic free politics can also inspire people and affect their emotions as well as to mobilise them for common national goals, but it uses different ways. This is the kind of change in political paradigms that I am willing to and that I actually intend to achieve. All other issues including ideological or organisational ones are of secondary importance. EGYUTT-PM will do its homework regarding this. It will devise a competitive alternative as opposed to prescribing tasks for other political parties. Following Gordon Bajnai's departure we have no other choice but to clarify our ideology and our objectives, and we will do just that.
In the period right after the local government elections we will initiate debates and discussions on our common problems, and we are going to organise a movement comprised of young intellectuals, and will also take action for organising the intelligentsia in the countryside and for protecting workers' interests, and will continue to think about the details of an alternative agenda that could be implemented once in power. Until mid-October, however, we will be campaigning. The future solution cannot be a consensus dictatorship, nor gesture politics, nor can it consist of sweeping it all under the carpet e.g. under the aegis of a Charta, nor can it be a disoriented move towards the political centre.
A change in paradigms cannot happen partially – it either happens in whole or it will not happen. Cooperation, self-criticism, puritanism, power, a performance-driven culture, equal chances, solidarity, competitive capitalism, patriotism, the West on the basis of values while the East on the basis of interests, a stronger yet more self-restraining state and magic free yet inspirational politics.
These days there is indeed no one and no political party in Hungary that could realise all of these. After the local government elections, the opposition's next two years must be about a democratic and civic contest aimed at making the achievement of these goals possible. The task now is not the preparation for 2018 and pondering the frameworks of a subsequent future coalition. Everyone has to follow his own course and talk about fair competition between the opposition parties. What we need is a process which allows for competition between persons and thoughts, and one at the beginning of which no one declares himself unilaterally to be the winner or the umpire.
Viktor Szigetvári, the author of this article is Co-Chairman of EGYUTT-PM
Published on Thursday, 11 September 2014 14:48
A tragic situation has evolved just east of Hungary. Ukraine has entered a serious crisis, while its eastern neighbour, Russia, a great European power, hinders its recovery. Moreover, it hinders by way of non-admitted aggression. A few months ago it would have been unimaginable to us for this to happen in Europe.
It turned out by mid March that we had been wrong. Russia, after its troops occupied the Crimea, held a referendum with its local allies regarding secession. The referendum was not in accordance with the Ukrainian constitution. After the referendum, the illegitimately elected local leaders proposed the peninsula's accession to Russia. The Kremlin nobly accepted it. Why would they have refused since the screenplay had been written this way in Moscow all along?
The Crimea's secession from Ukraine was attributed to the threat faced by the large number of Russians living there. This threat has not been confirmed. This fact does not disturb Russia at all, since it finds the brutal violation of a sovereign state's territorial integrity completely normal. The irony that Russia started its first Chechen war on the pretext of defending its own territorial integrity is also lost on Russia's leadership. It seems that Russia is allowed to do so, while its neighbour is not. It is thought-provoking since Moscow likes to claim some kind of Western 'double standard'. Meanwhile, it looks on its own 'double standard' as natural.
However, for the Russians, the Crimea wasn't enough. Because no one was willing to enter into negotiations with them, the Russians decided to take the campaign one step further. They started to foment rebellion in the mainly Russian-friendly Eastern regions. However, they struggled to keep the rebellion alive, so the Russians turned to local "freedom fighters" and volunteers. It is evident that what has been happening in the Ukraine cannot be considered a local conflict, because, if it were so, the occupation of public buildings, the erecting of barricades and the spontaneous protests would have happened a lot sooner. However, all these events started to take place only in April. The reason for this was that the Russian leadership realized that they were left without negotiating partners and the Ukrainians stood firm against the blackmail and the significant pressure exerted by the Russians. It had become obvious that the Russians were not interested in the well-being of the people living in the Ukraine, nor were they concerned about the corruption of the previous regime. Their only concern is to keep the country in the Russian sphere of influence. There are voices who accuse the selfish policies of the Western powers, and above all, the USA for the conflict. Even if this were true, the people of Ukraine should have the right to live a life as befits a human. Just because the country has become the victim of a major geopolitical conflict, why should the Ukrainians be prevented from leading a normal life and pursuing their dreams? Why should they live as they are told to by the Russians? As the election of Mr Poroshenko shows, the people of Ukraine clearly stated their ambitions. Why should we doubt their willingness to become members of the European Union? Of course, this won't be a matter of weeks or months. But let's give them the chance to at least try. It may well be that the EU accession process will turn out to be a failure. However, if the Russians had their own way, the people of Ukraine wouldn't even have the chance to live through this failure. And this is unacceptable.
The disinterest of Fidesz politicians and their cynicism at times is especially astonishing in such a dramatic situation. It's very hard to evaluate the Prime Minister's recent statement demanding autonomy from Ukraine. What would he himself think about a politician demanding such things from him while his country fought a battle of life and death against a far stronger power? His statement was not only disingenuous, but a stab in the back. Doctor Kövér said with great enthusiasm that the months-long conflict in Ukraine was nothing but a circus. Is it really? How can someone be this senseless and insensitive? Would he feel the same if something like this happened to Hungary? Why would Russia became an even closer friend of the Hungarian government than our Western allies? Maybe because Moscow does not criticize our illustrious government for their steps in destroying democracy? Or maybe retaining the massive loan given by Russia under the guise of expanding Paks is worth more than anything else? Is it more important than freedom, democracy and the values of honor? Where are we now? Does the freedom loving Hungarian nation deserve this? Do we need a government like this? Of course you know my answer. We Hungarians don't need such a cynical government which belittles another nation's pursuit of freedom. And to highlight this matter, we are going to try to initiate a resolution in the Hungarian Parliament condemning the Russian aggression and expressing solidarity with Ukraine. Let's make things clear! Let's see if a government standing up for the greatness of 1956 is capable of supporting others' freedom fight also, or if they will accede to the mutilation and violation of our neighbor.
Ferenc Gyurcsány, Chairman of the Democratic Coalition
Published on Sunday, 07 September 2014 15:33
Published on Sunday, 31 August 2014 17:18
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!
The author of this article is the Chairman of Hungary's Democratic Coalition party
The full text is available in Hungarian on galamus.hu
Published on Wednesday, 23 July 2014 20:38
It didn't come as a surprise. We knew that the next stage in the never ending conflict between Israel and Palestine, or rather, Israel and the Muslim world, would sooner or later rear its ugly head again. The arguments, for and against, have not changed either. The culprit is usually Israel, while the victim, due to the large number of civilians killed, is Palestine.Read more: Editorial -The Middle East Conflict: the double standards of the anti -Israeli left and right
Published on Wednesday, 16 July 2014 21:43
"Let's premise that in Hungary, especially in Miskolc and in a bunch of other places, life is hell, from the point of view that Gypsies and non-Gypsies cannot co-exist. This is a real conflict, a real issue. The question is which words and acts are we applying to change that?" - This is what Gergely Karácsony, a politician from the E14-PM party alliance said in an interview on ATV.Read more: E14-PM co-chair Karácsony and Miskolc mayoral candidate Pasztor say the same
Published on Wednesday, 18 June 2014 17:11
Fidesz was boorish again. I tried to find a better word for that but I could not. After yesterdays party conference of DK (Democratic Coalition), a communiqué was published by Fidesz, saying: "Hungarian people do not want the Gyurcsány era any more." They added that this had become clear in 2010 and 2014.
Nonsense, guys! What do you worry about? Orbán was not wanted by anybody either in 1990 or in 1994. It happened exactly twenty years ago that the chairman of Fidesz entered the election as an individual candidate in Székesfehérvár but he was beaten by the Socialist Zoltán Vancsik very badly.
Then the Orbán-Torgyán pact came with 82 smallholders who were withdrawn to bigger fame of the "civic government". Even though everything was perfect afterwards, still people did not want the Orbán era. Another four years passed and people did not want to have Orbán again. Exactly that man who, in their opinion, is not wanted by anyone, defeated him.
Then 2010 and afterwards 2014 came. A few things were necessary for the latter victory. Occupied "public media", Fidesz thefts stifled by a Fidesz MP candidate, party soldiers in all positions, intimidation, distorted election law, persecution of political opponents, and so on. If they have so much self-confidence, if they perform so well, then, they should have tried to win in a free and democratic election.
And what the country wants should be decided by the voters. Gyurcsány did not need to apply the above-mentioned disgraces to win from a governing position, but Orbán did.
De Gaulle or Churchill could tell long stories about how many times they were not wanted and still.
And what is the boorishness then? Approximately two hundred fifty thousand Hungarians voted for DK at the EP election. They are supposed to want a Gyurcsány era. If Fidesz says that Hungarian people, i.e. all Hungarians do not want to have that, they managed to outrage two hundred and fifty thousand Hungarians. As if they wanted to show them: they are not Hungarians at all.
Finally, just a warning: Fidesz began from 6% erstwhile... So, laugh today and cry tomorrow...
Published on Saturday, 31 May 2014 22:37
I notice some self-certification of some analysts' essays. The majority of them predicted that the Democratic Coalition wouldn't get into the European Parliament. There were some news websites that publicized the mandate-estimate the moment the ballot boxes closed. They predicted that LMP and E14-PM would get into the EP but DK wouldn't. We saw the voters' opinion after that.
The prepared clichés (sending Gyurcsány to Kötcse (his country side home), saying that Gyurcsány is over) went into the dustbin, now a new verdict is coming: "DK took all of its voters on 25 May. There is not a single more. It is true that a 1% sect become a 10% European party, but never mind".
Another argument is that we are slicing the same cake and DK did not persuade anyone, it just steals voters from MSZP.
Now let's get a closer look at that. Please show me a study, which proves that DK's voters promised that they would be more active on the European election than any other party's voters. This would be interesting, as these studies did not indicate the shifts taking place on the left side. If it is true that - and it is - Fidesz, Jobbik and LMP received half the votes that they did during the parliamentary elections why would DK reach the ceiling alone? Would it not be possible that DK brought half of its supporters to vote as well? And what about E14-PM, which was also underestimated?
Regarding the cake, let's assume that there was a time when the 2.6 million voters shared the left-wing liberal cake, 2.3 million MSZP supporters and 300 thousand SZDSZ (former liberal party) supporters.
I am aware of the fact that the world changed a lot since 2006 but there was a time when those people chose the left-wing - at that time even Ferenc Gyurcsány. Just as they went to Fidesz and Jobbik, so can they come back as well. Why this defeatism? This 1.3 million cake could be re-baked to a bigger one - we will see how - because it was bigger before.
There is no such thing as a ceiling. The party system is on the move. DK is on the map and it is an important actor. This was proven last Sunday and we will see the rest.
Published on Tuesday, 27 May 2014 06:20
The European Parliamentary elections, held last Sunday, have been crucial from a number of aspects. I would not like to get into analysing other parties' results because this post is, in fact, only about the Democratic Coalition (DK) and because the results of DK are really impressive from a number of aspects.Read more: The End of Gyurcsány-blaming - Gréczy's Blog
Published on Thursday, 24 April 2014 18:11
The blundering which surrounded Unity (Összefogás) could not have been a coincidence, nor the pressing of Gordon Bajnai by both MSZP and Fidesz, intended to convince him to give up his own ambitions, nor Attila Mesterházy's suspiciously weak performance in opposition.Read more: Mesterházy on the payroll of Fidesz?
Published on Monday, 07 April 2014 07:05
We have to call the 2014 Hungarian parliamentary elections quasi-free and not fair. It contradicts all the basic musts of a free and democratic election: the election law is unfair, the party financing law leads to corruption and fake parties serving the lawmaker party’s (Fidesz-KDNP) interest and last but not least freedom of a balanced media breached, preventing the political parties from having an equal access and presence on all media platforms as well as voters from having access to balanced information.Read more: FreeHungary Editorial: Hungary's quasy-free and not fair elections
Published on Thursday, 06 March 2014 08:30
The biweekly newspaper Új Élet of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Hungary (Mazsihisz) published an article about what is tolerated in Hungary in the issue dated March 1, 2014, under the title of "Zero Tolerance,". For example, in February of 2014, neo-Nazis marched in the town of Székesfehérvár, which is less than 40 kilometers from Felcsút, where Prime Minister Viktor Orbán resides. During their raucous meeting, the participants shouted that the real Holocaust was not the annihilation of the Jews, but rather the bombing of Dresden.
n the Orbán government-affiliated ECHO TV statements by the journalist Ferenc Szaniszló were broadcast in early March: "Hungary must prepare, whether it wants to or not, to again incorporate the Carpathian-Ukraine region. ...If the Russians provide us with a fait accompli and offer to return what ours was for many centuries, how will we respond? Will we leave the decision up to our masters in Brussels and Washington?...In Hungary only treasonable national Socialists, fascistic liberals, left-wing extremists and anti-Semitic Zionists favor the European Union ....Russians and Hungarians in the Ukraine are the suffering subjects of national Socialist and fascist-liberal oppression".
A civilized society would not permit such an individual in the proximity of a microphone.
On February 19, 2014 Viktor Orbán wrote to Mazsihisz: "You are well aware that my past and my present governments have declared zero-tolerance to anti-Semitism ..."
Who can believe that?
by Karl Pfeifer
Published on Saturday, 29 March 2014 06:56
You can choose without love. As we do it with cars. If we don't do it, those who are in love will decide instead of us - Tóta W. writes in his blog on hvg.hu. He warns against the temptation to proudly boycott the coming Parliamentary election. He himself is not fond of any of the contenders, he says, but will be able to make his choice, nonetheless. Tóta W. tries to convince disillusioned voters of the importance of their ballot. While he respects the usual argument, that neither the government nor the opposition seem attractive (and his choice of words is much spicier in the original), he reminds his readers that one always has to choose the lesser evil in everyday life as well. "Whether it is about sausages, household appliances, TV programmes or cars." When buying a car, we reckon with its imperfections, we know it is not the best possible model, but "we don't want to marry it, we just want to drive it". The only product we expect to be perfect is a political party, Tóta continues. So it is little wonder that we cannot find the right one. "Millions remain single, year after year" as a result. There are, however many people, more than a million, who do love their choice. They believe that politics means "marches, hatred, narrow-mindedness and paranoia". And if those who are not in love with any of the politicians on sale stay away from the elections, it is the fanatics who will decide, Tóta warns. He suggests that the sceptics cast their votes, then go back to their everyday lives without having to agree on everything with those whom they have elected. And vote them out of office next time, if they don't perform.
Árpád Tóta W., hvg.hu, budapost.eu
Published on Wednesday, 05 February 2014 19:08
Divide and rule - a good old piece of advice which is usually true. Fidesz practices it studiously. With money, cunning, words, bribery and threats it operates the system.
The Hungarian jewish community was polarised once before - recalled historian Kovács M. Maria - when at the end of the 20's a part of the jewish community accepted the current government's position. And slowly those who disagreed were crushed, we know the end of the story.
A lot of jewish organisations are protesting against the occupational memorial to be set up at the Szabadság square, or against Sándor Szakály's uncouth comment, or against the fact that they were not informed about the House of Fates conception which would commemorate the child victims of the Holocaust.
As the government is usually accused of not stepping up against anti semitism (we are being subtle) it tries to prove the opposite with initiatives like the House of Fates. But if the jewish communities are protesting against such a project then the government's intention won't be credible.
For this reason János Lázár, minister of state heading the Prime Minister's Office called together a so called jewish community round table. And until this event they try to persuade as many potential participants as possible. They offer money, position and so forth. The aim is to create groups which support the government's position. And in the future these groups will embody the official representatives of the jewish community. That's all, this is not a big deal for the government's technicians.
Necessarily this plan needs some people to whom it is worth deserting.
Ceterum censeo: Orbán should leave.
Népszava; Dési János