Gyurcsány and the referendum campaign

Ever since Orbán came up with the idea of a referendum his party has been busily campaigning in hope of an overwhelming victory at the polls. In the last few weeks Orbán himself has entered the fray, but according to some people who are not exactly friends of him, Orbán’s campaigning usually brings the opposite of the intended result. According to these people, Orbán’s campaigning style frightens people away. This seems to be the case again–not substantially, but those who claim that they will definitely vote on March 9th has decreased in the last couple of weeks. And when the numbers go down, Orbán’s campaign becomes even more shrill and people get even more frightened. A vicious cycle apparently.

On the other side, there has been hardly any campaining for obvious reasons. The MSZP has more or less decided that the "no’s" cannot win. After all, nobody wants to pay if he has the choice of not paying for services rendered. The polls still indicate that enough people will go and vote and therefore the referendum will be valid. The MSZP’s only hope is that the polls are wrong and fewer than the necessary two some million voters will turn out. However, they cannot say that openly, and therefore the party’s top brass keeps repeating that participating in any kind of election is a democratic right and duty, though if someone decides not to go they understand. Gyurcsány himself announced that he will go and will vote with three "no’s." What else can he do? I’m sure that reporters will be sitting outside his house all day long to see whether the Gyurcsány family leaves the house to vote.

The SZDSZ’s position is different. They began campaining with a call for participation and saying no to the three propositions. Just yesterday János Kóka, head of the SZDSZ, optimistically announced that the Fidesz is going to lose. I somehow doubt that, but interestingly enough Gyurcsány also talks about failure but in a different sense. Regardless of the outcome, "this referendum will not be the failure of the left and the country, but it will be the defeat of the majority of the democratic right," he said in his opening salvo this morning.

While the Fidesz was busily campaigning, Gyurcsány was either abroad or, if he gave speeches–as he did twice in the last two weeks, he avoided the topic of the referendum. The common wisdom on the left was that since Orbán’s attacks are directed against the person of the prime minister, Gyurcsány shouldn’t get involved in the campaign. Then about a week ago I heard an MSZP official announce that Gyurcsány after all would take a leading role in in the last week of the campaign. Well, he was telling the truth. Gyurcsány is here and with a big bang.

Today there was an MSZP mass meeting where Gyurcsány and Ferenc Juhász, the man who is actually responsible for the party’s daily affairs, gave speeches. I must say that I never heard Gyurcsány attack his opponent with such vehemence. Most of Orbán’s speeches are full of frontal attacks. Gyurcsány’s style is different: biting sarcasm is his usual style. This time there was biting sarcasm plus a frontal attack. I’m pretty sure that he will be severely criticized for his strong language. The Fidesz spokesmen can dish it out but can’t take it.

Gyurcsány was already warming up a couple of days ago when he called Orbán (without mentioning his name) a circus clown (paprikajancsi). Needless to say, Orbán got offended. Today Gyurcsány called him a "Judas who is ready to sell his country for 30 pieces of silver or 300 Ft." He accused Orbán of "promising a strong Hungary without any effort. . . . He sends a message to this country that we have no work ahead of us. The only thing one has to do is to vote for the great leader, for the eternal prime minister of the nation, for the good king who will offer salvation. . . . The only thing one has to do is to say yes. Not to the country but to him." If the referendum is "successful" what will the Fidesz do? "Will they knock on the doors of all family doctors and will they say to them ‘the future is already here’? . . . Or they will knock on the doors of all university presidents? Do you need a new building? Oh, there is no such thing. Fiddlesticks!" [Here by way of partial explanation let me quote a footnote from an edition of Othello: "a fig = fiddlesticks, nonsense (contemptuous, and accompanied–as in Romeo and Juliet–by gestures very like today’s "giving the finger."] This last one was a clever play on words: fiddlesticks/fig is fityisz in Hungarian which closely resembles the party’s name. Gyurcsány liked the word play so much that he repeated it: "it is not a great political achievement to say to Hungary: be selfish, don’t pay, and say Fidesz-fityisz to everything."

Ferenc Juhász is not such a good speaker as Ferenc Gyurcsány, but he didn’t mince words either. Since September 2006 one has heard nothing else but that the prime minister and the government lie. The word "lie" is a pretty strong word in any language and it really shouldn’t be used so frequently in public discourse. However, already in 1990 Orbán introduced the word in parliament when he claimed that "the government lied." Then the Hungarian public was aghast: how can anyone speak like this? Good old days. Today every second word is "lie" or "to lie." Juhász decided to call Orbán a liar and added: "Enough Viktor Orbán!" The meeting closed with a poem (Még nem elég/It is still not enough) by Mihály Váci (1924-70) which the audience of about 700 recited in unision. A typical Hungarian way of arousing enthusiasm! I am no poet and therefore I will not try to translate the poem. Anyone interested can read it here: http://www.archer.hu/entry.html?id=31 I must say it was appropriate for the occasion. I didn’t have a chance to see the video yet, but from the reports the mood of the meeting reminds me of the mass meeting held before the elections on Heroes’ Square and Andrássy út!

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Varangy
Guest

Eva,
Indulge me a bit here in the comments.
*****Today Gyurcsány called him a “Judas who is ready to sell his country for 30 pieces of silver or 300 Ft.”*****
Do you not think that this comment is a bit ironic coming from a man who attained massive wealth through illegal means?
How do you reconcile your obvious open affection for Gyurcsi with this painful fact?
*****Juhász decided to call Orbán a liar and added: “Enough Viktor Orbán!”*****
Politicians of all stripes and creeds lie. Viki is no exception. But again, was is not Gyurcsi who, himself, admitted to lying to and intentionally deceiving the Hungarian public? No irony there? Not a little bit? None at all?

Viking
Guest

Varangy,
You write “a man who attained massive wealth through illegal means”. Where is the proof for this very strong statement? Do you have any piece of information that the Hungarian Courts do not know about?

Varangy
Guest

@Viking
You are being facetious, right?
How do you think Gyurcsi joined the Eastern European insta-(dollar)-millionaire club post regime change?

Viking
Guest

Like basically every other filthy rich guy. Business methods that can, in another light, be seen as dubious. But to become very rich you also need to be at the right time at the right place, making the right moves, meaning some kind of “luck” is involved.
The Great American Idol, Rockefeller, probably had people murdered in the West when he built up his empire, but no one holds that against him today…
Basically every (filthy) rich person in the world have done, or are doing, immoral things to mass his wealth. Just check what is been played out in front of our eyes in Germany right now, where German Contra-Espionage paid a former employee from the bank of Lichtenstein (LGT) for stolen account information. Many high respected Germans are getting very scared now. The Germans will probably pass on info on other countries, but that of course does not mean anything will happen.
BUT, I would not object if you would use the word “immoral/dubious/”, but you and everyone else have not a single proof of any illegal things done. “Illegal” means that a law was broken, but doing “good business” is not illegal! You must prove the crime factually, not politically.

Varangy
Guest
@Viking You are either woefully ignorant or intentionally intellectually irresponsible. *****Like basically every other filthy rich guy.***** I have news for you. In well-functioning capitalist societies, one can become filthy rich without resorting to illegal means. Look at the Silicon Valley for a few examples. Gyurcsi did not in any way, shape or form become rich from hard work coupled with entrepreneurial energy. *****The Great American Idol, Rockefeller, probably had people murdered in the West when he built up his empire, but no one holds that against him today…***** So, Gyurcsi was at the right place at the right time, but Rockefeller was most likely a murder? Your line of reasoning is senseless and immaterial. Let us assume that Rockefeller WAS a murderer — so what? What does that have to do with Gyurcsi’s illegal methods of attaining massive wealth? *****Basically every (filthy) rich person in the world have done, or are doing, immoral things to mass his wealth.***** Uhm. You are clearly wrong. I know quite a few wealthy people, some, like you say have done vastly immoral things to amass fortunes. (Like one of my uncles BTW) But I also know a few who are honest to the… Read more »
Odin's lost eye
Guest

What fun! The ‘fur’ is now beginning to fly as the politicos exchange verbal ‘broadsides’. For one side to ‘lampoon’ the other is a very old political game. It can be very effective but one has to be careful, accusations of lieing may or may not be true, but every politician sometimes has to be ‘economic with the truth’.
Mr Viking I agree with you 100% about persons who gain great wealth. You need inspiration, luck and hard work to become rich. Criminality (even in Hungary) does not come into it.
I believe the turnout will be low because the weather on Friday and Saturday will probably be cold and wet. If the incoming fronts are delayed (and they often are) Sunday the 9th may well also be the same. Also the quarter finals of the FA cup are to be played that week-end! The president of Hungary was very cleaver to pick that date!

Varangy
Guest

*****Mr Viking I agree with you 100% about persons who gain great wealth. You need inspiration, luck and hard work to become rich. Criminality (even in Hungary) does not come into it.*****
@Odin’s Lost Eye
You may want to re-read Viking’s comment and think about it for a minute or two. Viking essentially apologizes for Gyurcsi, by claiming that all of the wealthy use illegal/immoral means to amass wealth, therefore since it is norm, it is acceptable/palatable for Gyurcsi to have done so.

Viking
Guest

Varangy, you are, to follow your own logic, excusing all the other members of the “Eastern European insta-(dollar)-millionaire club post regime change”.
Why? They are all your Uncles?
Would be fun if you actually could come with a fact once in a while, instead of tiresome tirades.

Vladimir
Guest

In my mind it is about which side has a realistic version of reality. The finances are not in order to become a strong country of the 21st century. Can Magyarorszag continue to have the gov’t spending 50% of the annual GDP? Obviously not. Reforms are needed to curb gov’t taxing and spending. At least Gyurcsány is trying to do something, even though he is seeming to be just another artful politician who does the minimum. Orbán’s positions do not even recognize that there are problems that the country’s finances and there is not even a semblance of him being a thinker from the right and has shown to me to just be a petty political gadfly who leads a bunch of weak-kneed men who refuse to challenge such a politician of limited ability.

Varangy
Guest

@Lars the Viking
What. Are. You. Talking. About?

Odin's lost eye
Guest

If it is immoral for a good business man to be a little bit slicker, cleaverer, luckier and more far-sighted than Mr Average so be it. It does not mean that he is not honest.
I think Mr Vladimir has hit the nail on the head. In some respects Mr Gyurcsány has to tread very carefully to carry his party with him, many of whom are steeped in the command economics of the Comunist era. If he is given a second term as PM he may be able to make deeper and more fundimental reforms which will be of great benifit to all. No one likes change but if it is carefully managed they will accept (and sometimes welcom) it.
I am afraid that Mr Olban is a demigogue who is ‘away with the fairies’. Perhaps the reason he is still leader of his party is that he knows ‘who had what’ and can prove it!

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