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 Lajos Bokros and convince him to join forces with MDF before the European Union elections. Everybody was stunned by the announcement that Bokros would be heading MDF's list, but Somogyi's brainchild was a success: Bokros, followed by the resident Habsburg, György, second son of Otto, once the heir-apparent to the Hungarian throne, managed to become members of the European Parliament.

After that coup Somogyi's reputation within the party must have risen considerably. Thus, when Somogyi announced that he was tired of being a businessman and political analyst but wouldn't mind embarking on a political career, naturally within MDF, he was warmly embraced and was immediately made the party's campaign manager.

Since his elevation to this post and the promise of a respectable place on the MDF list Somogyi has had a rather bumpy career. First was his idea (or at least I think it was his idea) that the party should get together with SZDSZ, or to be more precise with the little group of second-rate politicians who remained members of the truncated party. Considering that SZDSZ has the reputation of being an ultra-liberal party while Ibolya Dávid explains every second day that MDF is the only conservative party in Hungary, the marriage of these two parties raised some eyebrows. Within MDF the outcry was considerable and several old-timers actually left the party.

The second problem is that while Fidesz, MSZP, and Jobbik managed to collect enough endorsements to be on the ballot in all nineteen counties in addition to Budapest, MDF fell short: they were unable to put their people on the ballot in two counties. In addition, the National Election Committee only a few hours ago changed its verdict on the County of Nógrád. Someone complained about some technicality or other, and the Committee decided to strip MDF of this county as well.

Gathering endorsements in Budapest was not easy either, and without Budapest MDF has no chance of ever being represented in the Hungarian parliament. A couple of days ago there was great rejoicing: they would have a Budapest list. They needed eight people with the requisite number of endorsements and they had ten. But then MDF ran into trouble with the Capital City Election Committee who voted that a great number of endorsements received by MDF candidates were not valid and therefore the MDF candidates didn't have the requisite number of endorsements. The alleged reason for that decision was that on some endorsements the candidates' names were written with a different pen. The motion to deny MDF's place on the ballot came from Fidesz and was supported by Jobbik and MSZP. The vote was 3:2.

Ibolya Dávid is outraged and is convinced that the aim of the other parties is to silence Lajos Bokros, a serious contender. I'm not so sure that Dávid is right in the sense that the other parties are afraid of Lajos Bokros. If there was foul play, and there might have been, it was simply to get rid of a troublesome contender. Fidesz doesn't want to see a third force on the right; the party has enough problems with the extreme right, Jobbik. And MSZP wants to be the only representative of "the democratic forces."

Ibolya Dávid held an international press conference this morning where she outlined all her suspicions concerning this affair. MDF is appealing. Meanwhile Fidesz's reaction was that surely Ibolya Dávid is only fighting for her parliamentary immunity. In case anyone missed the reference, this "criminal activity" as András Cser-Palkovics, deputy spokesman of Fidesz, called it, is one of the most shameful cases of the Hungarian justice system. Details of the affair can be found in an earlier post entitled "Hungarian Watergate?" The upshot is that a company specializing in surveillance was entrusted by some Fidesz politicians to spy on Ibolya Dávid. However, by the end, with the assistance of the prosecutor's office, the victim became the accused. The company, UD Zrt., was wronged by Ibolya Dávid.

So this is where we stand at the moment. MDF is a scrappy party and has survived against all odds more than once. But with the first round of national elections set for April 11 time is not on its side.

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Pistefka
Guest

You hadn’t mentioned the SZDSZ for a while.
I was wondering if they are actually standing in this election at all, as I haven’t seen any of their campaign posters around Budapest, and I am sure I saw a news report the other day about which parties had got enough “nominations” to start in the elections, and they weren’t in it.
Have they just given up? (They might just as well, really!) Have many Szdsz politicians joined LMP? (which I suspect will inherit their voters)

Paul
Guest

with all the talk about fidesz, jobbik, mszp (and more recently lmp), its easy for voters to forget that this unholy mdf/szdsz hybrid still exists at all. 5% for the mdf in 2010 is a total fantasy. i could see the party simply just merging with one of the others very soon.

Alias3T
Guest
I think you’re all missing the point. The issue isn’t whether MDF will get 5 per cent or not – it’s whether those people who are entitled to cast a vote for MDF get the chance to do so. Quite simply, it’s about democracy. To recap, the non-partisan civil servants who were the committee’s technical advisers recommended that MDF be allowed to form a party list in the capital. Their political opponents, offering nothing in the way of a reasoned dissent from the technical advisers’ opinions, voted to exclude them. Why they did that is less important than the fact that this is a direct subversion of Hungarian democracy. Ok, it’s easy to see why Fidesz, the Socialists and Jobbik would like to cut MDF out: the fewer the parties in parliament the greater Fidesz’s chance of getting a two thirds majority; the Socialists want to be the focus of the anti-Orban vote and MDF could take votes away from them; Jobbik, too, get more seats if MDF is out of the picture. Of course all the parties want to do the best they can for themselves, but to knobble another party, by undemocratic means, is beyond the pale, and… Read more »
Erik the Reader
Guest

MDF was caught redhanded. What can you expect from a party which is not even able to collect the necessary correct number of recommendations and the members resort to falsification? The new LMP party was able to do this, but not the old MDF.

Alias3T
Guest

Caught doing *what* red-handed? The OVB’s own staff thought they had met the criteria for running a list in Budapest. Do you think the Jobbik delegate on the OVB got down on his knees and scrutinised the kopogtatocedulak one by one and came up with a result different from the full-time bureaucrats of the electoral commission?
Think what you like about the MDF, but as a democrat you can’t endorse a politically-motivated attempt to cripple them before they even get to the ballot box! Doing that to Jobbik would be no better.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Alias3T: “Their political opponents, offering nothing in the way of a reasoned dissent from the technical advisers’ opinions, voted to exclude them.”
That sums it up pretty neatly. Outrageous and I very much hope that the decision will be reversed. It is unimaginable that those parties’ representatives vote on another party’s right to be represented whose interest lies in preventing that very party’s presence on the ballot.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Alias3T: “Caught doing *what* red-handed? The OVB’s own staff thought they had met the criteria for running a list in Budapest.”
Erik the Read is our resident MSZP, MDF, SZDSZ hater. He believes absolutely everything the other side says. Thus Gyurcsány falsified data (not true), MDF was cheating…. name it.
He specializies in outright lies that is not easily tolerated by me or the readers of this blog.

PassingStranger
Guest

I am surprised that the international media haven’t picked up on this story yet – oh wait – they are not interested in the elections full stop!

Erik the Reader
Guest

Eva S. Balogh is so easy to label people. I wrote 4 lines on MDF and that qualifies me already as a top MDF hater? If the little newborn LMP was able to collect a great number of tickets why the MDF stuff was not able to cut the mustard?

PassingStranger
Guest

You miss the point. They DID get the required numbers of votes, but were excluded in a very obviously politically motivated move by an unlikely Jobbik-MSzP-Fidesz grand coalition. At least it is good to know these parties can work together if in a pinch – might come in useful after April 25.

Erik the Reader
Guest

@PassingStranger they had the required number only with the falsified ones. How lame can they be if they don’t even check what they collect? Why can they say simply:
“We made a mistake…” and take the blame for the failure?
The behavior of MDF reminds me of Kiss Ernő ,a former high ranking police officer.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Erik the Reader: “@PassingStranger they had the required number only with the falsified ones. How lame can they be if they don’t even check what they collect? Why can they say simply: “We made a mistake…” and take the blame for the failure? The behavior of MDF reminds me of Kiss Ernő ,a former high ranking police officer.”
Your problem is and it is a big problem, that you distort the truth. You distorted the truth about Ferenc Gyurcsány, BKV, and now MDF.
MDF didn’t falsify anything. They had more than enough endorsements, but as PassingStranger says the three parties got together and under false pretenses excluded valid endorsements.
Erik the Reader complained that I label him falsely. I dont. Everything he says smacks of right-wing bias. As for Kiss Ernő, don’t tell me that it is also the government’s fault that a retired police office is an alcoholic who sooner or later will kill himself.

Erik the Reader
Guest

Check out the news Eva S. Balogh. FVB turned to the police in the case of the Mdf candidates Szabadai and of Csapody.
MDF does not want to recognize the responsability they have and fabricate a story, the same way did Kiss when he smashed a row cars.

Erik the Reader
Guest

You should accuse yourself of distorting the truth.
For you Eva S. Balogh the truth is what Mszp, Szdsz and their so called intellectuals say.
Your entire blog teems of leftist bias.
It’s your problem that you can’t stand a different viewpoint: the right one! 😀

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Erik the Reader: “It’s your problem that you can’t stand a different viewpoint: the right one!”
(1)This is a blog where I express my opinions. If you don’t like them or not interested in them you should not read them and move on to the hundreds of right-wing or far-right internet blogs.
(2)The problem is not with your point of view but that you don’t tell the truth. For example, about the real situation around the MDF story. I, on the other hand, try to find out the truth first. Even if I am not an MDF fan but I hate dirty games played this time by Fidesz, MSZP, and Jobbik.
(3) It is clear that MDF had enough candidates and had enough endorsements. No one cheated. Fidesz especially has been trying to do everything in its power to ruin MDF. What they have been doing to this party is outrageous. Fidesz behaves often in a maffia-like fashion. UD Zrt. case is the best example. And they talk about morals and values.
(4) And one more thing. Since you wrote the courts approved two more MDF candidates. So, it looks that MDF will have a Budapest list.

Vándorló
Guest

For the first time in I can’t remember when Gyurcsány has actually done something decent. Well, by done I mean said, but in Hungarian politics that’s normally the most we can hope for.
Anyway, in brief he is against MDF’s exclusion.
http://www.nepszava.hu/articles/article.php?id=276457

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Vandorlo: “For the first time in I can’t remember when Gyurcsány has actually done something decent. Well, by done I mean said, but in Hungarian politics that’s normally the most we can hope for. Anyway, in brief he is against MDF’s exclusion.”
Of course, you’re not fair. One could come up with dozens of decent things about Gyurcsany. For example, that he gave his salary to charity. That he stood by the gays, and on could continue. This is exactly what I expected he would do. Because unlike many others, he is a decent guy.

John T
Guest

Looks like the MDF issue has been sorted out.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

John T: “Looks like the MDF issue has been sorted out”
That’s something.

Mark
Guest

John T: “Looks like the MDF issue has been sorted out”
It was always going to be sorted out. I noticed that even as FVB had voted down the MDF list, the two candidates who had allegedly not enough nominations had already been officially approved and were on the OVB as nominated candidates. So, it is difficult to know what FIDESZ, Jobbik and MSZP were playing at, other than bringing the electoral system into disrepute.
Unfortunately though fun-and-games with the nominating process have been rife. Jobbik used the strategy of bringing small parties’ nominations into question by accusing smaller parties of falsifying their tickets – they did this first in the Ferencváros by-election last year. And this tactic has been generalised this year – and I gather the fun-and-games has been worryingly widespread.
That FIDESZ and MSZP should join them in seeking to block a Budapest list for the MDF (and I’m no fan of the MDF) is undemocratic and self-serving behaviour of a spectacular kind. When parties place their own interests over those of giving people the opportunity to vote for positions they support, then something has gone very wrong indeed.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Mark: “That FIDESZ and MSZP should join them in seeking to block a Budapest list for the MDF (and I’m no fan of the MDF) is undemocratic and self-serving behaviour of a spectacular kind.”
I saw Zoltán Somogyi this evening on Egyenes Beszéd (Olga Kálmán)and he was so upset that he could hardly put together his sentences.

Paul
Guest

it looks like a repeat of the budahazy case. without the fabricated/incorrect/invalid slips, there simply werent enough to pass the threshhold. other parties therefore had every right to block the list.
i didnt see anyone here complaining when budahazy’s nominations were rejected in a similar fashion…? how much you like/dislike the mdf has nothing to do with it – if there are not enough valid slips, then the candidates simply can’t run.
i look forward to hearing the results of their appeal, hopefully the truth will come out clearly.

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