Ferenc Gyurcsány about Fidesz and László Sólyom

While prime minister, Ferenc Gyurcsány religiously kept up his blog. He wrote five times a week and had thousands of readers. Since his resignation he writes rarely. Perhaps once a week. However, the few newspapers on the left-liberal side usually publish the most important passages and then I visit the site to read the complete text. In today's blog Gyurcsány wrote about the Kubatov YouTube clips, which I summarized in my last two posts. Before I turn to Gyurcsány's text let me update my readers on some recent developments.

The socialist and MDF parties have already expressed their dismay at Fidesz's brazen election fraud because, let's face it, this is what we are talking about. Fidesz has for the most part been silent. This morning Viktor Orbán was the guest on Ma Reggel (This Morning) on MTV, the public television station, and the reporter didn't even ask him about Gábor Kubatov or the tapes. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the television station was told that Orbán would agree to the interview only if the reporter refrained from inquiring about this "little mishap." Or perhaps the warning might have been more dire than that. After all, today Viktor Orbán was already talking as if the elections, both rounds, were already over and he was prime minister of Hungary.

László Sólyom, who is very much hoping to continue as president in the new regime–his term expires sometime during the summer–obviously didn't want to step on Viktor Orbán's toes. When asked about his opinion he sent a message through his spokesman that he was waiting for the decision of the ombudsman in charge of privacy issues. Since then the ombudsman has stated that there was indeed a violation of individual privacy, but Sólyom is still silent.

Now comes Ferenc Gyurcsány who is certainly no friend of László Sólyom. Mind you, the feeling is mutual. Sólyom can't stand Gyurcsány and in fact he called for his resignation after the speech at Balatonőszöd became public and the mob attacked the television station. Sólyom pretty well told the Hungarian people that Gyurcsány is morally unfit to be the prime minister of the country. Those who are no fans of Sólyom, and there are many of them, reminded the president of the circumstances of his own election. In a nutshell here's how he became president. MSZP's candidate was Katalin Szili (yes, the same Katalin Szili who was the target of Fidesz dirty tricks in the Pécs mayoral election), whom the SZDSZ members of parliament didn't support. However, the socialists hoped that there would be a few people from MDF and Fidesz who would vote for her. After all, the vote is done by secret ballot. Surely, Fidesz politicians were also afraid of that possibility and therefore the members of the Fidesz caucus had to show their ballots to the leader of the delegation, János Áder, before they were officially tallied. In fact, he caught one who "because of his weak eyesight" voted for Szili. The delegate was sent back and had to change his vote.  Sólyom, who is such a moral creature, was elected to his current post under these circumstances. I had to tell that story because otherwise Gyurcsány's blog will not make sense. Finally, here is a translation of Gyurcsány's post.

"This is not a Kubatov affair. This is a Fidesz affair at its best. This is not the private initiative of the party director, but here we are encountering electoral fraud with the knowledge and complicity of the presidium of the party.

"What did we learn yesterday? Among other things that Fidesz planted false evidence to bring charges against its opponent on the basis of which they could denounce her. What do we call this in Hungarian? Proceedings that lead to show trials. We have almost forgotten the word  [koncepiós eljárás] because in the last fifty years it hasn't been used around here.

"The National Election Committee launched an official complaint. This is fitting and proper.

"But we must ask somebody else what he thinks of this whole business. László Sólyom, our president, the guardian of constitutionality and the morality of the nation and who in such cases usually voices his opinion, what does he think of all this? Does he think that it is appropriate to reach power through illegal means? Will Fidesz be morally legitimate after the elections? During the fall of 2006 the president felt compelled to deliver a dramatic monologue to the nation. Although he remained quiet when he himself was elected under suspicion of illegality or when the Hungarian Guard initiated new members who marched in front of his windows.

"Or perhaps the president chose silence in the hope that he could remain in office for another term living on the alms of Fidesz?

"In the next few days it will become clear how much these oft-repeated moral principles are worth to the president when they should be applied in the interest of the country against the interests of the political right and against his own interests.

"This whole affair from here on is about Fidesz and also about the president."

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Paul
Guest

does anyone else see the irony in Mr Gyurcsany’s questioning “Will Fidesz be morally legitimate after the elections?”
Was his own government “morally legitimate” after it falsified budget figures to gain re-election in 2006?
eva you have some fantastic posts which i enjoy reading. but i still dont understand how you can ignore Mr Gyurcsany’s clear hypocrisy.

Steve
Guest

Illegally throwing leaflets into peoples postboxes during election by campaign activists and blaming the other side for it is a dirty trick, but is not in the same category as falsifying the state spending numbers, and lying about them.
After the election, Gyurcsany will try to organise a movement similar to what Orban had, after Fidesz lost the 2002 election. If Gyurcsany stays in MSZP, it will be unable to reorganise as a honest force, ever.

John T
Guest

Paul / Steve – Gyurcsany is one of a pack of hypocrates in Hungarian politics. The whole political establishment is really a disgrace and the current alternatives are either poor or unpleasant. And for all the talk from Fidesz about tackling corruption, it would appear that their actions do not match their words.
The more I think about this, the more it strikes me that Hungarians as a nation need to have a real look at the values they wish to adopt. And they need to do this in the context of the modern world, seeing how a nation of 10 million people in a world of nearly 7 billion beings needs to adapt and progress (I say this as the values of Jobbik seem to be stuck in the 1930’s).
I’d also add that while I’ve always considered the Hungarian family to be much more close knit than their UK counterparts, I’m not sure that there is really such a thing as strong society in Hungary today.

Mark
Guest

Of course I do – but that doesn’t make him wrong. Yesterday I listened to Orbán say that he believed large scale tax cuts ought to proceed the spending cuts necessary to pay for them. This is, of course made in the face of the fact that Hungary would find itself faced with a severe and immediate loss of confidence on the financial markets were he to even attempt to deliver on his promise. Soon after 25th April, you are going to be told by your new government about how bad the financial situation is, and how new, deep cuts in spending and consequently lots of people’s living standards are necessary. I suspect that many of the people who now think that all Hungary’s problems are due to the MSZP, or that FIDESZ is more concerned about people like them than the Socialists and Liberals are going to get a nasty shock, and one does wonder how “morally legitimate” they’ll see a FIDESZ that has been promising them “security” and “success”.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Paul: “does anyone else see the irony in Mr Gyurcsany’s questioning “Will Fidesz be morally legitimate after the elections?” Was his own government “morally legitimate” after it falsified budget figures to gain re-election in 2006?”
Let me repeat it: they didn’t falsify any data. Fidesz tried twice to go to court and the court decided that there was no fraud.
As for the question of morality. Well, if Sólyom was morally outraged by the speech at Őszöd one would expect that he is equally outraged now. I think Gyurcsány is right about this. However, Sólyom’s moral outrage is selective. Cheating at his own election doesn’t seem to bother him either.

Mark
Guest
Éva: “Let me repeat it: they didn’t falsify any data.” On this Éva is correct, and it is worth remembering what actually happened in 2006, because there are some lessons here. It was known before the elections that the budget was deteriorating; in the months running up to the elections Hungary’s credit ratings were downgraded, and the country was warned by the EU about its budget. This was covered widely in the media, including the pro-MSZP media: to any voter with the slightest sense of how a government budget works, it should have been obvious that the reckoning was coming after the election. And also that the fiscal correction required to put the budget onto a sustainable path would be substantial. Gyurcsány’s lies were really three (1) giving the impression that rising consumption stimulated by the budget could continue by cutting the top rate of AFA from 25% to 20%, but forgetting to mention the rises that would come later, (2) playing a dishonest Eurosceptic and populist card when confronted with the EU’s warnings and saying he would protect social spending from Brussels, when in reality he was not able, and unwilling to do so, and (3) pretending that EU… Read more »
Eva S. Balogh
Guest
Mark “it is worth remembering what actually happened in 2006, because there are some lessons here.” Correct, but as you pointed out earlier, Orbán hasn’t learned a thing. One more thing about 2006. The government itself didn’t know how bad the situation was. This is clear from Lajos Molnár’s memoirs (Miért lettem antipatikus?) in which he vividly describes what happened when they found out the exact figures. Perhaps I will translate the whole passage one day but the upshot is that they found out the exact numbers only after the elections, sometime at the end of April. Until then they were thinking in terms of 100-150 billion or perhaps 500 billion. Some of the people literally became sick when they heard that it was actually over 1,000 billion. Orbán most likely knew that the deficit wwould be very high and yet this knowledge didn’t prevent him from promising all sorts of goodies, like fourteenth-month salaries. And one more thing. I wouldn’t call Gyurcsány’s promises lies. They were miscalculations. One thing he certainly didn’t count on, beside that high a deficit, was the world economic crisis. If that hadn’t come perhaps he could have pulled it off. However, I also think… Read more »
Steve
Guest
@Mark In 2006 Fidesz told that they would give 14’th months pension “if the economic growth allows it”. Gyurcsany did both lie and falsify. The Öszöd speech contains a part, where Veress tells, that two calculations were made, one real and one falsified. Gyurcsany had looked at the real one, and told that it should be destroyed. It is on the recording. And last year we were able to look at the data sent to the EU. Those data were first classified as state secrets, but last year a jury ruled that should be made public. Guess what, the real figures were actually double of what the government has reported. It is improbable that the “miscalculation” can be as high as 100%, it is more probable that the figures were falsified on purpose. Just as Veress tells on the Öszöd recording. It is one thing, that who actually listened to other sources knew that the situation is bad. And the other is, that the Gyurcsany led government denied all, and published falsified data. If you look at the famous 2006 election debate, where Gyurcsany was so aggressive, all his arguments were based on lies. Why did Gyurcsany a couple of… Read more »
whoever
Guest

Thinking of Nye Bevan’s speech on Eden.
If Gyurcany’s inner cabinet are sincere in saying that it was a surprise the deficit was so high after April 2006; and they may be sincere, they may, then they are too stupid to be in those positions in the first place.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Steve: “The Öszöd speech contains a part, where Veress tells, that two calculations were made, one real and one falsified.”
It shows that you never heard the speech. Veres doesn’t speak anywhere.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

whoever: “If Gyurcany’s inner cabinet are sincere in saying that it was a surprise ”
One cannot call Lajos Molnár one of Gy’s inner cabinet. Molnar was SZDSZ’s man and Gy called him “a difficult guy” even before he proved to be very difficult.

whoever
Guest

“The whole political establishment is really a disgrace and the current alternatives are either poor or unpleasant.”
Yes. I’d like LMP to be something they (currently) are not. If they do well tomorrow, it is only because they have enabled the projection of any number of alternative optimistic visions.
In fact, LMP in Parliament may find themselves largely ignored and insignificant, reflecting a lack of coherence: failing to make the grade as either a green or a liberal party. It’s possible…

John T
Guest

Whoever – it does beg the question of who will actually step forward to take on the task of sensibly taking Hungary forward. I can’t see anyone who is capable of taking the job on.

Steve
Guest

@Eva S. Balogh
“Veres doesn’t speak anywhere.”
Wrong. The whole Öszöd recording is 3 hours long, and is not just 25 minutes of Gyurcsany’s speech.
The original link is:
http://index.hu/belfold/gyurcshang/
But the mp3 files cant be downloaded from there any more, but as you can see his speech is just one of the files. The only speech that can be found on youtube is Gyurcsany’s speech, but i’m sure the others were there too. I’m so sorry i didn’t save the files when they were still up for download. I beginning to think, this is some kind of conspiracy, how did the other speeches disappear? I’m sure, that Veress did say in one of the recordings that he made two reports.
Does anyone have a link to the other files?

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Steve: “@Eva S. Balogh “Veres doesn’t speak anywhere.” Wrong. The whole Öszöd recording is 3 hours long, and is not just 25 minutes of Gyurcsany’s speech.”
Sorry, but the Őszöd speech refers only to Gyurcsány’s speech.

Steve
Guest

@Eva S. Balogh
Yes, we commonly mean Gyurcsány’s speech when referring to Öszöd speech. Nevertheless, the leaked audio wasn’t just his speech, but a 3 hour material, in which Veress too spoke.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Steve: “Nevertheless, the leaked audio wasn’t just his speech”
You must be kidding. Only the speech was released to Magyar Rádió and there the reporters cut out two or three sentences from it which they announced on the radio. The siege of MTV headquarters started on the basis of these two or three sentences out of context.
To this day most people never even read the whole speech and never heard of the rest. So, let’s just stick to the facts.

Steve
Guest

@Eva S. Balogh
If you look at the index.hu link i linked above, you will see, that there was not just Gyurcsany’s speech but more leaked audio was released (at that time). But now, the links on the index page are dead. You see that the Gyurcsany’s speech is emphasised with “Gyurcsány Ferenc beszéde:”, and there are 4 more parts before that. And the title of the index.hu article is “MSZP öszödi frakcióülésének”, which means, “the MSZP parliamentary groups Öszöd meeting” and not just “Gyurcsany’s Öszöd speech”. There were more files than just Gyurcsany’s speech.
And you are right, most people are just captured by the harsh language not the actual meaning of the speech.

Mark
Guest

Steve: “In 2006 Fidesz told that they would give 14’th months pension “if the economic growth allows it”.
Really – you haven’t read the 2006 FIDESZ programme, have you, recently?
Here is is: http://www.fidesz.hu/letoltes.php?letoltesid=610
On the top of page 25 is the promise relating to the 14th month pension – and guess what? It says it will be introduced in four stages – and the only mention of if the economy allows, is that they will do more than 14 months, if the economy allows! For those who don’t want to read further there are 38 pages of promises, covering things like free public transport for children under three, removal of taxation on small cars, and virtually anything else they cold think of. I could repeat them all, but the basic consequence would have been a huge increase in state spending, with the state foregoing more revenue.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest
Mark””On the top of page 25 is the promise relating to the 14th month pension – and guess what? It says it will be introduced in four stages – and the only mention of if the economy allows, is that they will do more than 14 months, if the economy allows! For those who don’t want to read further there are 38 pages of promises, covering things like free public transport for children under three, removal of taxation on small cars, and virtually anything else they cold think of. I could repeat them all, but the basic consequence would have been a huge increase in state spending, with the state foregoing more revenue.” Exactly and MSZP had to carry on with a campaign against these incredible promises. They offered less and they still won because perhaps saner people realized that these promises were really zany. Or because the campaign slogan was that four years before people had lived better. Clearly people knew that it wasn’t the case. In fact, that was at the root of the problem. People lived much better but not because the growth of the GDP or productivity warranted it. They lived better because the government borrowed… Read more »
Mark
Guest
Éva: “The government itself didn’t know how bad the situation was.” I find this difficult to believe. In autumn 2005 independent experts were telling the government (and everyone else) the situation was not under control, and were projecting deficit levels for 2006 that were no so far from what happened as early as autumn 2005: http://index.hu/gazdasag/magyar/hiany051004/ Even at the planning stage of the 2006 deficit, back in autumn 2005, it was clear that the government were doing something reckless with the budget (I mean, just look at the tables): http://index.hu/gazdasag/magyar/kltsgvt05100/ By citing two Index articles I’m not doing justice to the enormous quantities of information that were out there during late 2005, and early 2006 about the deterioration of the budget, nor the constant controversies that raged between the Ministry of Finance and Eurostat in Brussels as to what could be counted off the balance sheet. All I can say to Steve if Gyurcsány was concealing it, he wasn’t concealing it very well. My charge is that the government ministers, and the MSZP-SZDSZ supporters didn’t want to look at the reality, because they were more interested in beating FIDESZ. FIDESZ and its supporters didn’t want to look because they wanted… Read more »
Steve
Guest

@Eva S. Balogh, Mark
MSZP won because of increased spending. It was a bribe of voters.
Damn i cant find the whole Öszöd recording anywhere.

John T
Guest

Steve – what you had were two extremely irresponsible programmes. The electorate simply chose the irresponsible incumbents. Neither MSZP or Fidesz has any moral high ground here.
The sad thing though is that in 2010, Fidesz are again making irresponsible comments – either they will implement pledges on tax that will make the financial situation worse rather than better. Or, they will disappoint their voters when they have to own up to the fact that they cannot deliver what they promised. But hey, no doubt in four years until the next election, those Fidesz loyalists appointed to new central / local government posts will do very well for themselves. And those MSZP appointees who have done well out of the system to date, can enjoy the fruits of their endeavours. Well, until the Orban inquisition gets going anyway.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Steve:”Damn i cant find the whole Öszöd recording anywhere.”
Steve, I am very diligent in following the Hungarian media and I’m not saying that it didn’t get published somewhere but one thing is sure: it didn’t exactly make waives. Put it that way, I didn’t hear about the other speeches. Most likely because there wasn’t anything terribly juicy in them.

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