Monthly Archives: September 2008

Fidesz political culture and its consequences

Yesterday the honorable members of the Hungarian parliament gathered again at their first open session of the week. The video of the session is already available on the site of the Hungarian parliament. Here is the link. In order to access the speeches one must click on the length of time in the third column: http://tinyurl.com/3phe4q  I am especially calling attention to the speeches of Imre Iváncsik, undersecretary of national security, and the short answer of Ervin Demeter who, after all the evidence to the contrary, announced that neither he … Read the rest

The Hungarian conservatives: MDF

I guess I haven't really spent enough time on MDF although it's a party I cheer on as a vital part of the Hungarian political landscape. Earlier I wrote about the origins of the Magyar Demokrata Fórum in the spring of 1990, shortly before the change of regime. I also wrote about the divide between the populists (narodniks, népiesek) and the urbanists in Hungarian literature between the two world wars. Most of the people involved with MDF at the beginning were in some way influenced by the populist tradition while the … Read the rest

“Polypgate” in Hungary: new developments

This morning I found an article in Népszabadság announcing that the complete contents of the CD received by members of the parliamentary committee on national security had been uploaded overnight on YouTube. Yes, all thirty-two of the telephone conversations out of which Fidesz made public only seven. The mystery man who put them up was januspannonius68. Janus Pannonius (1434-1472) was the only really notable poet of the Hungarian Renaissance and the Bishop of Pécs.  Perhaps our man's first name is János just as Pannonius's Hungarian name was. Pannonius in this case simply means Hungarian. … Read the rest

“Polypgate” in Hungary

We know a little more today about this whole sordid affair than we did yesterday, but not much more. One reason for the news fog is the Hungarian parliamentary structure, where minority parties can chair parliamentary committees. The chairman of the committee on national security happens to be István Simicskó, nominally a member of the Christian Democratic delegation. As I mentioned earlier, this whole Christian Democratic delegation is really a fiction. There is no party behind it. There were originally some Christian Democrats, but their party disappeared; today's Christian Democratics got into parliament from the Fidesz … Read the rest

The Hungarian intellectual elite

I know that I should say something about the "polypgate" affair that is getting to be more and more interesting and more and more confusing. "Polypgate" is the new name for the latest political scandal in Hungary. The name is the result of something György Szilvásy said about UD Zrt. According to the minister UD Zrt. developed a network that was like a polyp that spread its arms all over the country and over all sorts of government agencies. In any case, "polypgate" is getting increasingly difficult to understand mostly because … Read the rest

The other Hungary

I decided to take a look at today's Magyar Nemzet and summarize its version of the news. It is definitely worth reading the leading right-wing paper now and again not because one can rely on its reports but because one finds an entirely different Hungary in its pages. After a brief account of today's (real) headlines, I will move on to the news items I found on the first page of the online edition of the paper. It is depressing reading and, if it's true that most Fidesz voters read only the Magyar Nemzet, Read the rest

Sources of information in Hungary

First a few words about the sources of information available to Hungarian journalists from government sources. A lot of people complain that officials often refuse to answer inquiries. Thus, the general public doesn't always get the information it is entitled to. Then there is the question of information we who live abroad are able to gather. Sándor assumes, I think wrongly, that the information we can receive is somehow filtered. It is true that representatives of the media can attend press conferences, but a blogger considered to be a journalist (yep, yours truly) can gain access … Read the rest