Ferenc Gyurcsány was more or less invisible during the past year. Lately, however, he has been making his rounds and is giving talks to small groups of invited guests in various Hungarian cities where apparently he is being very well received. If the reception he got at yesterday's MSZP Congress is any indication, I'm not at all surprised. When Ildikó Lendvai, party chairman, mentioned his name as being one of the people present, an enthusiastic applause broke out ending in a standing ovation. The group kept repeating Gyurcsány's slogan, "Húzzunk bele!" (a not very elegant translation is "Let's get to it!"). I was amazed at his popularity among the party faithful.
Gyurcsány's name has also surfaced again in the Hungarian right-wing media. He was apparently in Szombathely at one of these closed gatherings when according to HírTV and Magyar Nemzet "some socialists" smuggled out a tape on which Gyurcsány said all sorts of terrible things about Viktor Orbán. The article claimed that Gyurcsány is already preparing for the role of being in the opposition; he apparently suggested that his party should behave in such a way that Viktor Orbán would curse the day that he decided to be prime minister of Hungary again. The paper directly quotes Gyurcsány: "In opposition, one can say all sorts of awful things. These people behaved terribly in eight years, now they can see what kind of opposition we will be when we will behave exactly the same way as they did. … If it depended on me, I would be as harsh in style and in character as one can be." Magyar Nemzet suggests that its readers take a look at a video on HírTV. If a reader were naive and thought that he could see a video taken on the spot, he would be entirely wrong. It is a simple announcement of these accusations on the evening news.
Yesterday I noticed a short announcement that MSZP is not doing a thing about the so-called leak in Szombathely. András Nemény, chairman of the Vas County MSZP who was present, remembers differently. Someone from the audience put a question to Gyurcsány about how MSZP would behave if it ended up as an opposition party. Gyurcsány answered that they want to win but in case they are in opposition, on certain issues they have to cooperate for the sake of the country. On the other hand, if the government doesn't behave in an acceptable manner, then one must be very hard and critical.
I think it is enough to check one of the sites that lists articles in the Hungarian media to realize the overwhelming presence of right-wing sites on the internet. At least fifty different online papers copied the news from Magyar Nemzet, including the official website of Fidesz.
Well, it seems that Gyurcsány had enough. He normally ignores the abuse he gets from Fidesz, but this time he felt that he had to answer. He told MTI that "the party media of Fidesz spreads outright lies" and demanded that the whole tape be released. He said that his answer to the question was exactly the opposite of what the paper claims. In fact, he emphasized that one must not follow the path Fidesz laid down in the last eight years.
He is furious. He said that after what happened there is one more reason to prevent "such a dishonorable, immoral force" from forming a government. The socialists don't think in terms of being in opposition; instead they "want to fight against the unacceptable behavior that is exhibited by the Fidesz party media." If I were Fidesz I wouldn't want to make Gyurcsány angry. He can be lethal.
P.S. By the way, MSZP's party program is now available but it is very long and needs serious analysis.