I admit that this is a peculiar coupling of sources. One is the May Day speech of Gábor Vona and the other an opinion piece of the respectable analyst László Lengyel. Both predict hard times for Viktor Orbán and his team. Vona's assessment is quite primitive while Lengyel's is sophisticated. Vona categorically announces that "Fidesz will fail." The party's fate will be something like that of MSZP or worse. Lengyel is just doubtful whether Orbán and his government are up to the task.
Let's start with Vona. The main thrust of his argument is that Fidesz will either fail or, if by luck it doesn't, it will be because Orbán adopts the solutions of Jobbik. Vona will be the head of the Jobbik parliamentary delegation and he and his party insist on four key legislative actions: political reckoning (in plain language, send the socialist politicians to jail), law and order (again in plain language, put the Gypsies who commit crimes into jail and frighten the rest to death), suspend the evictions of those who have defaulted on their mortgages for a whole year, and tax cuts. In addition, they want to have a national holiday commemorating the day the Treaty of Trianon was signed, dual citizenship for Hungarians living in the neighboring countries, and an assurance that "no Solomons can buy land in Hungary." The Hungarian Guard must be legalized, a new constitution must be based on the Theory of the Holy Crown, and there must be a change in orientation of Hungary's foreign policy. He had a few words to say about the "immoral secular society interested only in consumption." Jobbik wants to set up an institute to study the ancient history of Hungarians. What kind of history that would be became clear when Vona said "I am no Finno-Ugric."
If these demands are not met, Jobbik will go out on the streets. I have the feeling that Jobbik can start organizing the demonstrations right now because surely almost none of these demands can be, will be, or should be met. Jobbik's strong language is not a charade. Some people think that soon enough Jobbik will be a willing partner of Fidesz, but I don't subscribe to this view. I think Vona and company mean what they say.
As for Lengyel. He predicts two "cold civil wars." I will explain later what he means by that. Lengyel thinks, not without reason, that it will be very difficult for Fidesz and Orbán to change overnight from an opposition that said no to everything and a party that kept its program secret to a government that has to take action and must explain its program. It will be very difficult for a movement that was against all reforms, a party that started a referendum to stop reforms, to become a government that introduces the inevitable reforms.
For instance, until now Fidesz's only answer to the Roma question was stricter laws and more policemen, but that very same party now will have to come up with some constructive, long-term solutions to a serious problem that cannot be solved simply by talking about law and order.
Lengyel foresees "cold civil wars" on two fronts: economic and social. The first is familiar fare to readers of this blog. Fidesz and Orbán will have to come to an understanding with the IMF and the European Union. Lengyel is convinced that as a result of these negotiations it will become apparent that there is no possibility of fulfilling the economic expectations of those who voted for Fidesz. I already noted that the doctors turned in their demands; since then the teachers have also spoken. They want 25% higher salaries and at the same time a reduction in their teaching hours which, by the way, are one of the lowest, if not the lowest in Europe. A couple of days ago the association of mayors also turned in their 12-point list for more money and their demand for fewer obligations. To somehow cool these expectations without public opinion turning against the government is going to be a daunting task.
Lengyel predicts that the second "cold civil war" will take place in the fields of culture and education. According to rumors the ministry that deals with these matters will be given to the Christian Democrats whom Lengyel simply calls "the beasts." From what I know about Rózsa Hoffmann (I wrote about her earlier) she is bad news. Her educational philosophy comes straight from the old Prussian playbook–strict discipline in the classroom, rote learning, and a curriculum that doesn't prepare Hungarian students for the demands of the twenty-first century. The Hungarian youth might lean toward the right politically, but I doubt that they'll be thrilled to give up their freedom and become happy little Prussian students. Lengyel predicts that they will soon enough view "a peevish government of adults, humorless and provincial, as out of touch and antiquated as the socialists."
A Kulturkampf spearheaded by these old-fashioned conservative Christian Democrats will develop and the liberal elite will in no time revolt. There will be a conservative counterattack. The "beasts" will call them "commies" and there will be a lot of talk about Jews who occupy important positions. Slowly but surely the elite will turn against this Christian Democratic onslaught. Lengyel thinks that perhaps Orbán wants it this way. Such a Kulturkampf would draw attention away from the economic problems. But Lengyel predicts that such a tactical move will not help the situation. Just as it didn't help Kádár in 1982-83 when Hungary first needed the help of the IMF and when the regime moved against oppositional organs. József Antall did something similar in late 1990 when economic problems beset the country. His government began "the media war." It didn't help. They were squarely defeated a few years later.
Lengyel also has some problems with the new government structure. "A monumental, centralized governing structure will be difficult to launch…. Also, this structure doesn't seem to fit the European model." Lengyel is not impressed with the professional background and competence of those already named.
Finally, Lengyel adds that it is in the interest of Hungary to have a strong and effective government that handles the crisis well. The question is whether this new government is able to have a dialogue about the most important strategic questions. If not, if it wants to solve the problems alone, Orbán will fail.
Lengyel sarcastically finishes his piece thus: "Written in the first year of the revolution, on the third day of its first month, on the 27th day of the month of Saint George."