Hungarian election results and how from here

Just to show the extent of Fidesz's win I should state that if Hungary used the English or American electoral system, meaning winner takes all in independent electoral districts, all 386 seats in the Hungarian parliament would have gone to Fidesz. It would be a one-party system. Rather frightening, isn't it?

As it stands now, in order to prevent Fidesz from acquiring their much desired two-thirds majority of the parliamentary seats MSZP must turn the results around in at least seven electoral districts and hang on to their lead in the one district (Budapest #20) where József Tóth (MSZP) is ahead. There are two more Budapest districts where MSZP might have a chance to reverse the results: in districts # 19 and #16. District #19 is the infamous district where people were standing in line until 1:30 in the morning to be able to vote. Also that was the district where Tibor Szanyi had a slim lead at 7 p.m., the official closing time, but by the time voting was over it was reversed, mostly by out-of-town voters. So Szanyi is trailing the Fidesz candidate by 424 votes. In district #16, the MSZP candidate is behind the Fidesz candidate by 1857 votes. Then there are two districts in the city of Szeged. In district #3, the difference between two candidates is 2,540 and in district #1 2,857 votes stand between Fidesz and MSZP.

There are three districts where, although Fidesz is leading, Jobbik's showing was substantial. Two of these districts are in Borsod-Abauj-Zemplén County and one in the county of Szabolcs. The two right-wing parties have to slug it out in these districts. The third case is a really peculiar one. That is the #8 district (Edelény) in the county of Borsod-Abauj-Zemplén, where three right-wingers entered the ring. The original Fidesz candidate, Oszkár Molnár, mayor of Edelény, was too embarrassing to Fidesz when on YouTube one could hear him saying pretty awful things against Gypsies, Jews, and gays. After Fidesz dropped him, he decided to run as an independent. I thought that he would beat the absolute newcomer, a Syrian or Lebanese immigrant whose Hungarian is apparently not exactly faultless. He was, by the way, also caught saying nasty things about Jews. There is a slight Fidesz lead, but Jobbik and Molnár together could easily beat him. And ideologically Molnár is closer to Jobbik than to Fidesz. So here Fidesz might be knocked out by a joint effort of Jobbik and Molnár.

In order for MSZP to change the outcome in the districts I mentioned it needs LMP's assistance. That is, in districts where LMP ended up in third place, the party would withdraw its candidates. That would mean that LMP voters might then vote for the MSZP candidate in the second round. In Budapest the shift could be significant. There is only one problem: LMP announced that they will not withdraw their candidates. They will stay and that's that.

LMP claims that by not making deals it is not taking sides. Well, perhaps. But if Fidesz gets its desired two-thirds majority no other party, LMP included, will have any sway over Hungarian politics. Although LMP made its stance on the issue clear yesterday, MSZP made a unilateral gesture, withdrawing its candidates in four Budapest districts (#6, 8, 14, and 21) where the LMP showing was strong. LMP did not respond in kind. The LMP spokeswoman just reiterated the party's position. They have no mandate from their supporters to withdraw candidates, and if Fidesz gets a two-thirds majority it's not the fault of LMP but of the socialists.

I admit that if LMP were to make a deal with MSZP it might cast a shadow on the party in the eyes of those who as committed liberals didn't want to vote for the socialists. That is, if the party is on the up-and-up because rumors are already circulating in Budapest that LMP was actually the creation of Fidesz for the express purpose of taking votes away from MSZP. There might be something in this. One mustn't forget that LMP grew out of an environmental civic organization headed by László Sólyom, the same man who after the elections gleefully announced that "the rebuilding of the country can now at last begin." Also, András Schiffer, the leader of LMP, announced yesterday that if Fidesz doesn't have the necessary two-thirds majority in order to make important fundamental changes, LMP would vote with the government party. It is possible that the liberals who thought they found a home in LMP might have been duped. Only time will tell whether the rumors are justified.

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John T
Guest

Eva – theoretically, the result could have been a clean sweep under the first past the post system in the UK. But in practice, it is almost impossible, as both the Labour and Conservatives have their key heartlands, which will almost always stick with them. And each party has a solid core of voters – around 25% each. The electorate is not as fickle as in Hungary or as prone to buy the soundbites. Of course, the system is much more mature in the UK having had longer to develop. But on the whole, I do think Brits are more thoughtful and rational about the issues than their Hungarian counterparts. And although we have extremists like the BNP, they don’t really make great inroads, as people generally have a sense of fairplay and see the nastiness behind the veneer of respectibility they are trying to portray.

Paul
Guest

Eva,
Still no discussion of the situation in ozd, sajoszentpeter, heves, tiszavasvari etc? you didn’t mention the obvious fact there, that if the mszp withdraws then jobbik will probably take some of these seats and help to stop fidesz’s 2/3 majority. but by the mszp not withdrawing (which, so far, appears to be their strategy) theres barely any chance of fidesz losing them. look at the figures yourself you will see what i mean. mszp has to choose between assisting jobbik or fidesz in these areas. expecting enough voters to suddenly switch to mszp in these areas is totally unrealistic.
will mszp’s flexibility in budapest be repeated in the strong jobbik seats? i doubt it, but mszp will only have themselves to blame if fidesz just clear the 2/3 barrier. they could have stopped it by giving jobbik a real chance in those areas.

Hank
Guest
“rumors are already circulating in Budapest that LMP was actually the creation of Fidesz for the express purpose of taking votes away from MSZP.” I really detest this Hungarian way of repeating a rumor over and over again and thus actually treat them as a kind of fact. This ‘rumor’ is totally unsubstantiated, save for the fact that there are some clear rightwing views within LMP and that is remains to be seen in which direction LMP will develop (if it doesn’t implode). But if you have no proof, don’t repeat the rumor. Also, I do agree that LMP is rigid on the issue of withdrawing a candidate to help MSzP (typically newcomers behavior), but let’s be fair: it wouldn’t help. Even if MSzP would get 2 or 3 seats more this way, it won’t give them the 10 they need to block a 2/3 of Fidesz. So what would be the point of such a deal for LMP, what would be in it for them? What’s more, maybe the MSzP should consider withdrawing in favor of Fidesz in those districts where Jobbik might take a seat? After all, preventing an extremist and anti-democratic party from gaining more seats might… Read more »
Paul
Guest
“maybe the MSzP should consider withdrawing in favor of Fidesz in those districts where Jobbik might take a seat?” hank, i dare say that if the mszp withdraws in these seats it will be to the benefit of jobbik, not fidesz. i base this on my personal knowledge of these areas (rural north eastern areas). according to the current situation, fidesz will win all these seats, unless mszp withdraws – in which case fidesz may lose some to jobbik, and miss the supermajority. “an extremist and anti-democratic party” yes we have all heard these catchwords repeated in the media ad nauseum. repeating it constantly makes you sound brainwashed. jobbik has published an interesting piece you may wish to read: http://www.jobbik.com/jobbik-announcements/3168.html which raises some fair points on this matter. the mszp was born from a brutal communist dictatorship – do you also refer to them constantly as “extremist” and “anti-democratic”? i think not. so keep the slurs to yourself unless you have some compelling evidence we don’t know about. certainly what the mszp’s forebears did to many innocent hungarians was “extreme” and “anti-democratic” but that doesn’t get a mention in your post. having read the entire jobbik program myself, i didn’t… Read more »
Hank
Guest

My compelling evidence about Jobbik being extremist is simply talking to scores of leaders and activists of Jobbik and the Gárda (and don’t give me that nonsense that the Gárda is not Jobbik. Most of them (grant you, not all of them, but most is enough) keep on repeating anti-Jewish, anti-Gypsy, anti-gay and in general anti-democratic ideas over and over again. I heard mr.Hegedüs speaking at at a local forum recently, and I just couldn’t believe my ears when he went nuts about Israel and the Jews being behind the Gypsy onslaught on Hungary. And I think any political observer in Europe, be them left or right, will agree that the program of Jobbik is clearly extremist. Is that evidence enough?
By the way, I do consider the Munkáspárt, the real political heir of the MSzMP, extremist as well. But the MSzP, how much I may dislike many of their leaders and former leaders, is in no way. Unless you can point out to me where in their program they violate basic elements of human rights and parliamentary democracy. But being a bad and corrupt politician is not the same as being extremist and anti-democratic.

John Rosenthal
Guest

Re.:
“The original Fidesz candidate, Oszkár Molnár, mayor of Edelény, was too embarrassing to Fidesz when on YouTube one could hear him saying pretty awful things against Gypsies, Jews, and gays. After Fidesz dropped him, he decided to run as an independent. I thought that he would beat the absolute newcomer, a Syrian or Lebanese immigrant whose Hungarian is apparently not exactly faultless. He was, by the way, also caught saying nasty things about Jews.”
Do you mean that the new Fidesz candidate (Daher?) was also caught making anti-Semitic comments? This would be extremely relevant to a discussion here:
http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/eyes-on-hungary-leading-eastern-europe-away-from-socialism-yet-again/
I would be curious to hear more.
Many thanks for your site, btw! I work on European politics, but I don’t read Hungarian unfortunately. So, it is a great help.

Pál Marosy
Guest

After WWII, members of the Arrow Cross Nazi party have been encouraged to join the socialist party. Today is the other way around. Former socialist sympathizers vote for the new Nazi party called Jobbik. The bulk of the Jobbik voters came from MSZP. These extremists are endangering Hungary’s democratic future.
And yes, this has been a land sliding victory by Viktor and Fidesz.
After 2004, there have been over 30000 naturalized Hungarians from the surrounding countries. I am one of them. I consider this victory a revenge against MSZP for the 5th of December 2004.

Paul
Guest

“These extremists are endangering Hungary’s democratic future.”
more unsupported slurs. i say again: where is the concrete evidence that jobbik is more “anti-democratic” than, say, the two parties currently under investigation for illegally maintaining voter databases? or the two parties who exceeded the campaign expenditure limit (see kepmutatas.hu). jobbik is not the successor (legally or ideologically) of the arrow cross party. mszp IS, however, the successor of a brutal and murderous communist regime.
your “extremists” are, on the whole, christian conservatives (ex-fidesz) and social democrats who are fed up with mszp’s corruption. it is insulting to 800,000+ hungarians to insinuate that they voted for a “facist” party.
see http://www.jobbik.com/jobbik-announcements/3170.html for further clarification on such slander.

Hank
Guest

“it is insulting to 800,000+ hungarians to insinuate that they voted for a “facist” party.”
There is nothing insulting about telling them the truth. Voting for neo-facists (most of the leadership and many of the activists of Jobbik and the Gárda) doesn’t make you a neo-facist yourself – I agree there can be other motives – but you are getting dangerously close and at least you are uninformed and being dumb. Personally, I think any democrat has the duty to tell this up-front to voters. So at least they can’t ever say: “Wir haben es nicht gewusst” or (the marxist variety) “we did it all with the best intentions and for the good of history.”

Truckload
Guest

Well Paul, what about the Nemzeti Orsereg, a bunch of uniformed thugs who bear armbands clearly similar to the Arrow Cross flag, including the arpad flag with letter “H”, in rune form) and is present and cheered at every single Jobbik rally? What about the Garda, which other democratic party in any other country you know has its own paramilitary organisation? What about Gabor Vona’s open anti-Semitic jokes on March 15 about a foreigner called “Salomon” buying Hungaian land? What about Vona’s response in napkelte to go and ask those critical questions in Israel? (and Morvai ditto behin closed doors). What about Vona’s remark that “the holocaust is coming out of his nose” What about Jobbik’s public alliance with the British National Party (BNP), which every neutral observer considers neo-fascist? What about other friends of Jobbik, such as HVIM, which has many far right elements? Or Kuruc.info for instance for instance? Even if Novak Elod is not its editor, then this anti-semitic website has been supporting Jobbik all through the campaign.
All these facts point clearly to jobbik being a racist and extremist party. If they
are not a fascist party, they only have themselves to blame for such comparisions

Paul
Guest
all your points are easily refuted. i have heard them all before in the media, which im sure is how they got into your head. to start with: -Kuruc.info is not an official jobbik website in any way. i dont care who they support, thats their personal choice. -HVIM is not part of jobbik. i dont care who they support, thats their personal choice. -Nemzeti Orsereg is not part of jobbik. i know nothing about them and i couldnt care less. -BNP is not part of jobbik. “every neutral observer considers neo-fascist” – what a lie. i am a neutral observer and i do not agree with you at all. clearly to you it is the opinions of liberal media outlets who constiute “everyone” or a “neutral observer”. -as for the garda being paramilitary (like the salvation army i guess?), jobbik refutes this claim quite well http://www.jobbik.com/jobbik-announcements/3168.html. -when taken IN CONTEXT (which they rarely are) these “anti-semitic jokes” are in no way offensive or religiously discriminatory. bear in mind they are (clever) responses to when peres said israel is “buying up hungary”. -“Morvai ditto behind closed doors” you are a close personal friend of hers are you? you know what… Read more »
Paul
Guest

for a look at exactly how much fidesz and mszp respect democratic processes, check out http://www.jobbik.com/europe-news/3171.html. note the deafening silence on these “Anti-democratic” actions in the international media? where is your condemnation? hypocrite.

Mark
Guest
Hank: “Also, I do agree that LMP is rigid on the issue of withdrawing a candidate to help MSzP (typically newcomers behavior), but let’s be fair: it wouldn’t help.” I agree. You need to look at two districts to see this BP. 10 oevk. and 11 oevk. Their past electoral behaviour is very similar – both are in Budapest’s eighth district. In the first there was an LMP candidate, and in the second the local electoral commission rejected so many of the LMP candidate’s nomination slips that their candidate didn’t get onto the ballot. In the seat with no LMP candidate the MSZP vote was some 2% higher than in the other seat, the FIDESZ vote was 8% higher, with the remainder going to MDF-SZDSZ. Therefore, the evidence suggests that were LMP to stand down FIDESZ would disproportionately benefit. A one-sided withdrawal of MSZP candidates is the best thing they can do to stop a FIDESZ 2/3. Were LMP to appear close to MSZP it would compromise its own chances and no-one would benefit. By rejecting the MSZP’s advances they are doing MSZP a favour. It is a bit of a shame that MSZP are repeating barefaced lies about LMP… Read more »
Mark
Guest

Needless to say, I think that the MSZP have some chance in 3, or probably 4 (if they are lucky) of the seats mentioned. The problem is that the mood is anti-MSZP and as such they have nobody to attract extra support from (even on the left). Without a major turnabout in public opinion, while stopping FIDESZ getting their 2/3 majority is a theoretical possibility, it is rather unlikely whatever anyone does.

whoever
Guest

Hi Mark
Yes I would be interested in finding out more about the LMP’s origins.
In a recent article, Andras Lanyi wrote that some time ago, he had been asked by two people from the US Embassy in Budapest if he would consider helping the LMP.
The fact that so much of the LMP’s money came from a single donor, a US citizen, also raises questions about the party’s exact origins. We are told, officially, that this was an individual contribution, with no relation to corporations or other interests.
The fact that the US Ambassador attended their election party last Sunday is also more grist to the mill, to conspiracy theorists.
Here’s a question: what do the LMP think about the Afghanistan conflict… and what is there current policy towards NATO? Suddenly such considerations become significant.
Not only that, but there is a great deal of fine detail missing on the actual environment – for a green party – never mind their vacillations regarding public utilities (to privatise BKV/water/etc).
Well, it will be interesting to see what the LMP actually does.

Paul
Guest

the LMP will replace the SZDSZ in every way. different name, same politics.

sronti
Guest

“In order for MSZP to change the outcome in the districts I mentioned it needs LMP’s assistance. ”
Not the LMP’s, but the LMP’s voters assistence, what MSZP needs, but there are polls, which show, more people would vote for FIDESZ, in case when there is no LMP candidate, than vote for MSZP.
The MSZP ruined itself, in the eyes of most of the voters.

Mark
Guest

whoever: “Yes I would be interested in finding out more about the LMP’s origins.”
I could give you my analysis, but the European Greens’ report into LMP (which gained them their observer status with the European Greens) is publicly available and quite revealing of their strengths and weaknesses (and also revealing on the origins of some of the rumours that have circulated about them and their stance):
http://list.europeangreens.org/pipermail/lgbt/docMwNCUC9GuQ.doc

Mark
Guest

whoever: “The fact that the US Ambassador attended their election party last Sunday is also more grist to the mill, to conspiracy theorists.”
I really wouldn’t read very much into that. I was at both the MSZP and SZDSZ’s election parties on the night of the first round in 2006, and you know what I’ve said about both parties here!

whoever
Guest

Right, now I’m confused. Here’s a list of some of the theories:
1. The LMP’s own version: financed by concerned citizenry, their books reveal lots of small donations and a couple of very big ones. The LMP says the big and small donations, the largest from a US citizen, was made for purely philanthropic reasons.
2. Andras Lanyi: In order to rival his “Élőlanc” party, the LMP was hastily created from other parts of the Vedegylet, but rather than rely on their own resources, they went through a system of conduits to the US embassy, where GW Bush’s Ambassador Mark Palmer worked out a way to channel some initial funding into a young party of democrats, via a number of siphons and former SZDSZ contacts.
3. György Droppa: Leader of the skint and struggling Green Democrats, the official European Green Party member, reckons LMP were initially launched with start-up funding from Fidesz as a “trap” for disillusioned MSZP voters.
My perspective is that if the second and third theory are both correct, you’d have to applaud their barefaced cheek!

Truckload
Guest
To Paul, “By their friends ye shall know them”. – There are clear links between Kuruc and Jobbik, as discussed on this and other blogs. – On 15 March, Sandor Porzse greeted the members of the Nemzeti Orsereg to tumultous applause of those present. How do you mean ‘they have nothing to do with Jobbik? Wherever you see Jobbik and the Garda, you see the Nemzeti Orsereg. Why doesn’t Jobbik forbid these Szalasi imitators to come to their rallies? -HVIM is a close ally of Jobbik. That says enough. – Jobbik is allied with the BNP in Europe. Why does Jobbik choose such malodorous allies? Its leader, Nick Griffin, speaks at Jobbik rellies. The BNP has practiced racial violence, anti-Semitism, and Nick Griffin was involved in holocaust denial. How is that not fascist/far right/extremist? Why does Jobbik not choose (slightly) more respectable friends, such as the Freedom Party or Geert Wilders? – you are not a neutral observer, I doubt you would consider Mussolini a fascist. Or is that also a slur of the biased liberal media? – the Garda has uniforms, It has ranks. They bark orders. Gardists march. It is even envisaged to be a part of regular… Read more »
Mark
Guest
whoever: “Right, now I’m confused.” You really shouldn’t be. They are what they look like – they are formed by a group of activists from a variety of NGOs ranging from those concerned with environmental issues, human rights (hence the strong socially liberal strand), and globalization (hence the nods on food security, and opposition to multinationals). These activists have come together to exploit an unusual situation given the collapse of MSZP and SZDSZ to create a European Green Party in Hungary – largely as the various previous attempts varied from the catastrophic to the vaguely unsucessful. Because they are a protest about how both left and right organize themselves they will remain distant from both. Their strength is an experienced activist base, which knows how to campaign with few resources, and are very savvy in the use of internet-based campaigning. Their difficulty and weakness is their positions and thus their identity on a left-right scale is poorly defined. There will undoubtedly be tensions between their left, their social liberals concerned with human rights issues, and some of their more conservative environmentalists – but as anyone who has looked at the history of other similar parties in their formative stages these… Read more »
Pál Marosy
Guest

Dear Éva,
Please, can you prove your allegations, specifically that Daher was “also caught saying nasty things about Jews” ?
I quote:
“After Fidesz dropped him, he decided to run as an independent. I thought that he would beat the absolute newcomer, a Syrian or Lebanese immigrant whose Hungarian is apparently not exactly faultless. He was, by the way, also caught saying nasty things about Jews.”
What did Daher exactly say? Please quote him. How reliable can be your statements, if you even don’t know exactly where is he from?
He is from Lebanon. If you can’t prove what you say here, I will tend to believe that you have prejudices against Arabs and Daher.
Sincerely,
Pál Marosy

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Pá Marosy: “Dear Éva, Please, can you prove your allegations, specifically that Daher was “also caught saying nasty things about Jews”?”
Terribly sorry. I was mistaken. Daher spoke only about faggots (buzik). A really civilized and enlightened physician who will perhaps represent the Hungarian people in parliament. Congratulations.

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