Monthly Archives: June 2010

“Martonyi setting the stage”

This was the title of an article that appeared in the Hungarian-language daily Erdélyi Krónika, published in Cluj/Kolozsvár. The author, Árpád Gazda, went into raptures talking about János Martonyi's visit to Bucharest. According to him it was unnecessary for Martonyi to emphasize that lately "new winds are blowing in Budapest" because it is obvious even to the casual observer that "Hungary has become an active player in the eastern-central European region" since the formation of the Orbán government. And this player is looking for partners. Gazda mentioned Viktor Orbán's trip to Warsaw … Read the rest

Hungary has had a bad press lately

On April 28, 2010 I wrote an article entitled “The first signs of financial trouble.” This was three days after the second round of the Hungarian national elections that resulted in a stunning victory for Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz. As I noted, the initial international reaction to the two-thirds majority was positive. The Hungarian forint strengthened, reflecting the hope of investors that the new government’s overwhelming majority would translate into resolute efforts to set the country’s financial house in order.

However, I continued, Viktor Orbán’s first few utterances made the … Read the rest

László Sólyom, the tragic hero?

Some people think so. Just today Ákos Tóth, one of the editors of Népszabadság, published an opinion piece entitled “The Tragedy of Sólyom.” Tóth’s thesis is although that Sólyom perhaps doesn’t realize it, soon he will encounter the most tragic fate of any politician of the post 1990 period. Because before his very eyes everything that he created will crumble, and the destruction will be committed by those on whom he wanted to bestow his blessing. The edifice that will be destroyed is the Hungarian constitution.

Tóth is certainly right … Read the rest

Warning voices from abroad

I know that I said something about continuing to summarize Pál Schmitt's career, but after two articles I think we need a little breather. Sooner or later I will return to his years on the International Olympic Committee and how he ended up as a politician of sorts in the Fidesz camp.

But let's get back to the present. I mentioned earlier that the Fidesz super majority has dictated a very brisk legislative pace at the expense of thoroughness and detailed discussion. The opposition has practically no opportunity to study the proposals, and I don't think … Read the rest

More about Pál Schmitt

As I'm listening to the radio and reading Internet comments on articles about Pál Schmitt's nomination for the post of president of Hungary I have the distinct feeling that even those who sympathize with Fidesz and more or less approve of the Orbán government's activities in the last two months are not exactly thrilled with Orbán's choice. The most frequently voiced criticism is that Schmitt is spineless, servile, and not really suited for the job. One also hears often enough that he loyally served the Kádár regime but now takes every opportunity to present himself as a man … Read the rest

The new president of Hungary: Pál Schmitt

It was no great surprise that Viktor Orbán nominated Pál Schmitt, who has been occupying the position of speaker of the house for less than two months and will continue to do so until August 5. Rumors were circulating even before the elections that Orbán's favorite man is Pál Schmitt, whose life should be an example for people who want to make a spectacular career by any means.

He was born in 1942 and at the age of 13, just about the right age for a future fencer, he started to learn the art … Read the rest

Since the Slovak elections

Right after the Slovak elections I wrote an article about Viktor Orbán's Slovak fiasco which, even after more than a week, strikes me as a fairly sound assessment of the events leading up to the elections. I think it is now time to assess the situation that has developed since.

First, the background. Although Prime Minister Robert Fico's Smer received the most votes, in fact more than four years ago, his coalition partner Ján Slota fared very poorly. His Slovak National Party barely surpassed the 5% level necessary to be represented in parliament. Thus the … Read the rest