Monthly Archives: June 2007

Constitutional flim-flam

We have just stepped onto slippery ground: constitutional interpretation. Any constitution. The observer of the Hungarian political scene occasionally has the distinct feeling that the average Hungarian doesn’t quite understand that the constitution’s interpretation depends on the jurists’ legal and political philosophy. Somehow he thinks that there is "the" constitution and the judges of the Constitutional Court simply tell the world what it says. Period. Yes, here and there you hear minority opinions but, unlike in the United States, they don’t get much media coverage.

The chief justice of the … Read the rest

The righteous right

Something unusual, often perplexing can happen in Hungary every day. Yesterday, for example, 20-25 people disrupted a radio program broadcast live from the city of Debrecen, a stronghold of the right-wing Fidesz in eastern Hungary. The broadcast marked the entry of Klubrádió, so named because it was originally the radio station of the Hungarian Automobile Club, into the Debrecen market. Until about a year ago the station could be heard only in Budapest. Then it expanded to Transdanubia, next to the area of Kecskemét in the Great Plains, and a … Read the rest

Oily business

In the last few days the whole of Hungary can talk about nothing else but oil. No, not the current price of oil, not Iraq, Nigeria, or Saudi Arabia but an old, very peculiarly Hungarian "oil affair." The beginning of the story goes back to 1990-1991 when the right of center Antall government decided that imported fuel oil would have two different retail prices at home depending on its use. The oil used for heating would be very inexpensive, while the oil used for diesel fuel would be relatively expensive. … Read the rest

Farm subsidies, Hungarian style

Well, let’s start, smack in the middle. No introductory course in Hungarian politics is necessary to understand all this.

Early risers in Hungary can enjoy a political intervew show on MTV (not that MTV but the Hungarian public television station) called Sunrise (Napkelte). Every day there is a different reporter who questions politicians about current affairs. Lately they have also introduced a call-in session. Hungarians adore these call-in programs, most likely because they love to complain. And they complain and complain, mind you a bit haltingly because they also want … Read the rest