Monthly Archives: March 2010

An attempt at fact checking in Hungary

It is perhaps not surprising that it was György Bolgár who introduced the call-in-show to Hungary in 1992 and recently began a series in 168 Óra entitled "Things that can happen!" which concentrates on the not quite truthful statements of politicians. Bolgár spent five years in the United States as the foreign correspondent of Magyar Rádió. At the time call-in-shows were unknown in Hungary, and Bolgár's superiors were at first not too enthusiastic about the idea. What would happen if somebody says something on air that is not quite appropriate? However, he persevered and his … Read the rest

Sándor Pintér, Fidesz and BKV

Sándor Pintér was Viktor Orbán's minister of the interior in charge of the police. At the time of his appointment many critics claimed that Pintér as the former chief of the entire Hungarian police force shouldn't be the civilian minister in charge of that same police force. Just as there were critical voices when György Keleti, a former army officer, was made minister of defense in Gyula Horn's government. But Orbán absolutely insisted that it was either Pintér or nobody.

Rumors have swirled around Sándor Pintér ever since his appointment. One rumor claimed that he was among the … Read the rest

Jobbik: Are the Hungarian media after the party?

Yes, and not without success. Although parties on the left don't seem to have much skill in unearthing dirt,  Fidesz has a long history of successful detective work against its political opponents. Once Jobbik's danger to Fidesz became evident the Fidesz sleuths began work in earnest. In fairly short order they came up with some really juicy stories.

Let's start with stories that are old and have nothing to do with the media. Last April a man who was a member of the Hungarian Guard in Kalocsa fatally stabbed his girlfriend and drew a swastika on the poor … Read the rest

Farkas Bethlen, an independent (sic) politician

A familiar name, isn't it? Yes, he is a true Bethlen but unfortunately neither as talented nor as moderate as his most famous relative István Bethlen, prime minister of Hungary between 1921 and 1931, was. István Bethlen had the "privilege" of being hunted by the Germans and finally arrested by the Russians. He died in the Soviet Union in 1946.

Even Farkas's grandfather was a respectable politician. Béla Bethlen was appointed "governor" of the part of Transylvania that was returned to Hungary as a result of the Second Viennese Award. While Béla Bethlen … Read the rest

Two interviews with András Schiffer, chairman of LMP

LMP's election program is very, very long: 228 pages all told. Considering that I downloaded it only a couple of hours ago I can't give a blow-by-blow analysis of the document. However, now that LMP has done quite well in gathering endorsements and can have a countrywide list, András Schiffer, the party's candidate for prime minister, is the man of the hour. I have at my disposal the texts of two interviews, both quite long and detailed. The first took place on March 25 on MTV with Antónia Mészáros and the second on March 26 on György Bolgár's popular program … Read the rest

LMP or can politics can be something else?

I mentioned that one of my problems with LMP (Lehet Más a Politika/Politics Can Be Something Else)  is that it is an offshoot of a environmental organization that suggested László Sólyom to be president of the republic. It seems that I'm not the only one who finds this an "original sin." I recommend an article by Ferenc Lendvai, a philosopher, about the "center" in Hungarian politics. I laughed heartily this morning when I read this piece in which, among other things, Lendvai complains that this party's "predecessor is … Read the rest

MDF in trouble

I haven't written about MDF for some time because it wasn't at all clear to me where the party was heading or what its leaders wanted. The campaign manager of MDF is Zoltán Somogyi, formerly the president and part owner of Political Capital, a think tank that has been acting as MDF's political advisor for years. Ibolya Dávid, head of MDF, and the ever smaller top echelon of the party were very impressed with the advice they received from Somogyi's company. I suspect that it was Zoltán Somogyi's idea to get in touch with … Read the rest