Monthly Archives: October 2010

A slight change in Fidesz’s popularity?

I know that all the national polls show that the government party is holding onto its enormous lead and Tárki, for example, even showed a slight increase in Fidesz's popularity. However, we must keep in mind that the two most recent opinions polls (Tárki and Nézőpont) were taken before the bombshell about the "nationalization" of funds that had been accumulating over the last twelve years in private social security accounts. Also, they were taken before the government's attack on the constitutional court. This morning I noticed what might be a slight, very slight change.… Read the rest

Here is the long-awaited Hungarian budget

The 2011 budget is being described by György Matolcsy as "ambitious but realistic" and by Christoph Rosenberg, head of the visiting IMF delegation, as "bold and risky." This "bold and risky" resonated all over the Hungarian media without people really knowing what is actually meant by it. The first meaning of "bold" is "courageous, confident, and fearless; ready to take risks." Here, I have the feeling, Rosenberg probably intended both "fearless" and "ready to take risks," while adding to to this adjective a reference to the risks that are real. The Hungarian translation of "bold" as "bátor" is somewhat misleading because … Read the rest

Birthing at home in Hungary

Already in the first half of the twentieth century women who lived in cities gave birth in hospitals, although I assume most country folk still had their children at home with the help of a midwife. Today I would say almost every child is born in a hospital. No longer can one find some tiny little village noted as the birthplace on birth certificates. Not long ago a relatively small town was about to lose its hospital, and the most serious concern of the locals was that the children of the … Read the rest

Some background and the Constitutional Court’s statement

The day after the news broke that János Lázár decided to disregard the thumbs-down decision of the constitutional court re the whopping 92% tax levied on amounts over two million forints received as either severence pay or as a retirement package Zsófia Mihancsik, a liberal journalist and editor-in-chief of Galamus, was taken aback that the constitutional court was silent. Most of the time I agree with Zsófia Mihancsik whom I consider one of the most democratically minded, talented and brave journalists in Hungary, but this time I thought that the constitutional court made the right decision. It is … Read the rest

Who is surprised and who is not?

I watch with great interest the reactions of the readers of this blog. Most of you claim that you were not at all surprised by Fidesz's answer to the constitutional court yesterday. Most of you say that this is exactly what you expected from Viktor Orbán and his team all along.

Anyone who read József Debreczeni's volume (Arcmás, 2009) cannot really be surprised. In 450 pages Debreczeni meticulously collected all of Viktor Orbán's specific references that lead in this direction. Debreczeni's conclusion was that if Orbán manages to receive a two-thirds majority in parliament, Hungarians … Read the rest

On the road to dictatorship

Although I promised Open Dog that I would give some details about Ferenc Gyurcsány's student days in Pécs, life intervened. Today Hungary witnessed perhaps the greatest attack on a democratic country's constitutional order. Democratically minded people are in total shock. They still can't quite believe what happened during the course of the day.

This morning at 11:30 a.m. MTI reported the unanimous decision of the constitutional court: the 98% retroactive extra tax on any income over two million forints received either as a retirement package or as severence pay was deemed unconstitutional. This … Read the rest

The Origo readers’ comments on Viktor Orbán’s speech

Our Fidesz friends complained that I don't show the happy side of life in Hungary. My first reaction was that in the Rákosi and Kádár periods it was a pleasure to open Szabad Nép or Népszabadság. We saw happy collective farm workers harvesting the wheat or the corn that was naturally bounteous. More abundant than last year, more than ever. Workers were proudly showing their factories and the fabulous items they produced. The papers were full of good news.

I'm sorry that I cannot provide similar heartwarming stories for you, but … Read the rest