It looks very much like it. On the op-ed page of Népszabadság (March 17) an opinion piece appeared with the title "Should Gyurcsány stay? … Or go?" The title is misleading because from the very first sentences it was clear that the two authors–Béla Galló, a "political scientist," and Péter Gábor, an "economist"–had already made up their minds: Gyurcsány must go! Under normal circumstances the appearance of such an article wouldn't have caused such a stir. But considering that this weekend MSZP is holding its congress to decide on the next party leader it was taken as a possibly important signal. Moreover, it appeared in Népszabadság, a paper close to MSZP. In fact, György Bolgár was so surprised and, let me add, puzzled that Népszabadság was willing to publish a piece so antagonistic to the current head of the party that he phoned the editor-in-chief of the paper. The editor assured Bolgár that the paper is not taking sides or supporting the party's left wing by giving space to their views. In fact, he said, the paper will publish articles espousing different points of views in the near future. Two days went by but there was no follow-up article. Today at last, József Debreczeni answered in no uncertain terms, comparing the tone of the article to that of pieces appearing in the right-wing papers. Another rebuttal appeared in Népszava from Máté Gyömöre, a young political scientist working for the Progressive Institute of Kornélia Magyar. He spent most of his piece listing the accomplishments of the Gyurcsány government, contradicting the Galló-Gábor duo's assertion that Gyurcsány in four or five years had accomplished nothing.
I'm quite familiar with Béla Galló because he is one of three permanent members of a weekly political discussion group led by Tamás Mészáros called Dominó (ATV, on Thursday nights). It's an hour-long program split equally between foreign policy and domestic affairs. I especially enjoy Zoltán Sz. Bíró's comments on Russia and the Balkans. He is a fountain of knowledge on Russia and Russia's foreign policy. To counterbalance Galló, the left-wing socialist, there is Krisztián Szabados (Political Capital) who claims to be a "conservative liberal" but who is, in my opinion, mostly conservative and a great admirer of the former Bush administration.
Béla Galló is the editor-in-chief of a monthly publication called Egyenlítő (Equator). Since I knew nothing about this publication save its name, I had to do a little research. Egyenlítő (http://www.egyenlito.eu/) was started in April 2003. Its expenses are covered by a foundation of the Politikatudományi Intézet that used to be the Párttörténeti Intézet, that is, the research institute that studied the history of the Hungarian Communist Party as well as other topics related to the working class movement, as it was called in those days. The institute published a quarterly called Párttörténelmi Közlemények that at one point couldn't be purchased abroad. Not even by libraries. God only knows why not. After all, it was a historical publication though a bit on the biased side. The publication still exists today under a new name Múltunk (Our Past), and it still deals with topics related to the social democratic movement and its history. At one point the very existence of the Politikatudományi Intézet was in doubt because the Orbán government was not willing to spend money on an institute that, they argued, served only socialist interests. I don't quite remember what happened, but the insitute must have received some money and survived. It also seems that after 2002, with the reapperance of a socialist government, the Politikatudományi Intézet's coffers must have received some additional money because the institute's activities multiplied. It by now has a publishing venture (Napvilág Kiadó = Daylight Publishing Company), it finances Galló's Egyenlítő, and has a web site Múlt-kor. It has a research staff of over twenty historians and political scientists.
The name of the co-author of the op-ed piece, Péter Gábor, was completely unknown to me, and my research didn't bear a lot of fruit. I learned that he was or perhaps still is the CEO of an originally state-owned company later privatized called Medicor, a manufacturer of medical equipment. Medicor's history is briefly recounted in the May 17, 2004, issue of Élet és Irodalom (http://www.es.hu/index.php?view=doc;7508). The story is exceedingly complicated. Details that I couldn't always follow indicate that not all was cricket with this company. In any event, with the advent of the socialist government in 2002 Péter Gábor was named one of the members of the Országos Személyügyi Kollégium organized under the Prime Minister's Office. It seems that this group was entrusted with personnel selections for positions in government, was in charge of the education of civil servants, and looked over the background of people appointed to European Union positions.
But let's return to the article itself in which the authors vent their hatred of the prime minister. Perhaps their attitude has something to do with personal dislike, but their problem most likely is that they, as committed left-wing socialists, cannot reconcile themselves to Gyurcsány's liberalism. The article accuses Gyurcsány of personal ambition; most important to him is his personal survival while his party is dying because of him. A familiar accusation repeated daily by Fidesz politicians. According to Galló-Gábor he is a mediocre thinker and a totally untalented politician who in five years didn't manage to learn the art of governing. "Gyurcsány must leave in order for MSZP to stay," they claim. The problem is that these two men cannot come up with anyone in MSZP with a sound program and/or the ability to lead the party or form a government. Moreover, it is highly unlikely that either of the people whose names are circulating in left socialist circles as a possible replacement, Péter Kiss or Imre Szekeres, would stand a chance against Viktor Orbán.
Right now Fidesz is leading in public opinion polls by a mile and the odds of MSZP pulling off a miracle are slim. However, with a new, less charismatic leader at the head of the party, failure would be virtually guaranteed.