Still about Ferenc Gyurcsány

Although some people claim that Ferenc Gyurcsány is a man of the past who has no political future, his speech on February 18 created quite a storm. According to Ádám Mirkóczki (Jobbik) if the Fidesz government took its job seriously and did what it promised, Gyurcsány would have made his speech from inside a jail cell.

The spokesman for Fidesz was Lajos Kósa, one of the vice presidents of the party, who claimed that "Ferenc Gyurcsány proved again that he is a huge burden for Hungary." Considering the latest fiascos Hungary has been facing because of Viktor Orbán, I would have been quiet if I had been Kósa. Of course, as they say, the best defense is a good offense, and Fidesz runs an excellent offense.

Kósa then listed all of Gyurcsány's sins, including ordering the police to "blind ordinary pedestrians' eyes" on October 23, 2006. Although Gyurcsány in the speech made it quite clear that he doesn't want to establish a new party but to renew MSZP as a modern social democratic party, Kósa's reading of this particular part of the speech was different. Most likely it was wishful thinking on his part: he figured that Gyurcsány wants to split the left and remarked with considerable glee that "even his own comrades think that he has no place in MSZP." Although I'm sure that certain people within the party would be very glad if Gyurcsány left MSZP, I don't think that this is true about the majority of the more important politicians in the party.

Ágnes Seszták of Magyar Nemzet wrote an editorial entitled "Ninety minutes of hatred." Any normal person who read the text distributed by Demokratikus Koalició, the platform Gyurcsány created within MSZP, knows that in fact it isn't "hatred" that motivates Gyurcsány but his belief that Orbán is abandoning the democratic regime that functioned reasonably well in the last twenty years. Nine years ago Gyurcsány was ready to have a political dialogue with Fidesz, but since then he has come to the conclusion that Orbán wants to "annihilate the left" and thus establish a one-party system. This is not a "pathological hatred" of the man but simply a recognition of the nature of Orbán's politics. Seszták sweeps aside all of Gyurcsány's criticisms of Orbán's undemocratic governance of late by saying, "too bad but Fidesz has a two-thirds majority." So, long live the dictatorship of the majority, which never was really two-thirds of the voters, and soon enough it may not be even a simple majority if the dissatisfaction with Fidesz spreads further.

Gábor Török also disagrees with Kósa. He read Gyurcsány's speech the way I did. Gyurcsány "will not give his rivals the satisfaction of seeing him create a new party." Török rightly points out that it is difficult to analyze Gyurcsány calmly and in a measured way because he has been "demonized and heroized" to death in the last four or five years. Török found his speech middle-of-the-road and his messages not terribly different from those of most of the MSZP leaders. And indeed both Péter Kiss and Attila Mesterházy agreed with practically everything Gyurcsány had to say.

From Török's blog the right-wing media quoted one sentence with great satisfaction: "While acknowledging Gyurcsány's unquestionable political talents, I must say that in my opinion there are only two things that keep him alive, make him really important: on the one hand Viktor Orbán, on the other, MSZP." I might add here that those who quote him usually leave out the phrase that refers to Gyurcsány's political skill. But Török continues: "(1) As long as Orbán is leading Fidesz (and specifically the country) the more than half a decade of single combat between the two of them might be exciting and interesting; and (2) there is no other politician in MSZP with the charisma, ability to convince, strategic thinking, and other qualities necessary to be considered an unquestionable leader."

Gyurcsány in his speech mentioned "betrayal" in connection with the speech at Balatonőszöd that was made public. As things stand now, Gyurcsány claims that he doesn't know who the betrayer was, something that is difficult to believe. My feeling is that he didn't want to have a huge internal upheaval that would split the party. We know who were and are Gyurcsány's sworn enemies in MSZP: Katalin Szili who left the party and now is creating a constitution hand in hand with Fidesz, Tibor Szanyi who makes no secret of his feelings, Imre Szekeres, and László Puch.

Here is an excellent cartoon published in www.varanus.blog.hu. One must know that "to screw" someone in Hungarian actually means "to put a knife in his back." The implication is clear: Gyurcsány was betrayed by his own comrades.

Gyurcsanyt furjak I left Puch to the end because he just gave a very lengthy interview to József Nagy in www.figyelonet.hu. Puch is the éminence grise of MSZP. He is the treasurer of the party. He holds the purse strings and, since all the parties have more money in reality than on paper, he is a powerful man of many secrets. As became known a few months ago there has been bad blood between Gyurcsány and Puch for a long time, and it seems that Gyurcsány lost that battle. Gyurcsány complained that it was an untenable situation that the president of the party is powerless because he cannot learn the financial situation of the party and, an even more serious problem, he has no say over how to spend the funds. Instead of Gyurcsány, Puch was actually running the party as he is running it now. The purse strings of Fidesz are held by Lajos Simicska, an old friend of Orbán from high school days, but Simicska's activities are supervised by Orbán. Simicska works for Orbán. In MSZP that wasn't the case. On the contrary, Puch worked against Gyurcsány.

László Puch makes no secret of his hatred of Gyurcsány and of his desire to see him outside the party. In fact, he predicted that "soon it will be clear whether Gyurcsány submits to the majority of the party or he leaves." He also admitted that Attila Mesterházy is his man and that he helped him to be elected president of the party. When József Nagy, the journalist, kept probing about Puch's allegedly good relations with some Fidesz politicians, including his counterpart in Fidesz, Lajos Simicska, Puch was evasive but emphasized that he was "always ready to compromise." Gyurcsány in his speech said that there are some people in the party who think that there is room for negotiation with Fidesz, but he thinks that as long as Viktor Orbán is leading Fidesz it is worthless even to try to create some kind of modus vivendi. Orbán will consider it a sign of weakness.

So, some people inside of the party, like Puch, Szanyi, and Szekeres could do Fidesz a favor and get rid of Gyurcsány, but I don't think that it would help the left-liberal cause. But not only the right and the left think in terms of an MSZP without Gyurcsány. There are also many liberals who think that Gyurcsány is wasting his time on his old party. He should make a clean break and establish a liberal party of his own.

One journalist who advocates that road is László Bartus, editor of Amerikai-Magyar Népszava. His argument rests on the betrayal of Gyurcsány in the summer of 2006 when someone handed over the text of his speech at Őszöd. If Gyurcsány stays in the party, he must reveal to the public the name of the person who was responsible for this dastardly deed. The country has the right to know who caused the catastrophe that occurred in Hungary. "The handing over the text of the speech paralyzed the functioning of the government, created a domestic crisis of earlier unknown magnitude, made a battlefield out of Budapest, almost caused a Fidesz-backed coup d'état, and finally led the way to the 'revolution' of the two-thirds majority. Who was capable of betraying his party, sacrificing the future of the country, throwing his own prime minister to the enemy to weaken his position and cause his downfall?" If Gyurcsány remains in the party he will have to face the same man or men, says Bartus. The question is whether Gyurcsány would be willing to go that far.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kirsten
Guest

“Gyurcsány complained that it was an untenable situation that the president of the party is powerless because he cannot learn the financial situation of the party and, an even more serious problem, he has no say over how to spend the funds.”
That this does not make it plain to Ferenc Gyurcsany that he is wasting his time in MSzP, I do not understand… And even more so if some high official such as Mr. Puch is not opposed to cooperation with Fidesz. A more or less sincere new beginning could be worth more than the money that MSzP has at its disposal.

Mutt Damon
Guest

There should be 500k-1 million votes he can take with him to a new party. I don’t understand why doesn’t he do it? The MSZP infrastructure and money?
The only hope the country has is a new party. The apathy started to kick in. FIDESZ or MSZP – “egykutya” (same). The next elections in 2014 will be something like “F* it. It doesn’t matter.” Gyurcsany should start another party and step back before the elections and push some new faces forward. There is no way he can win with the MSZP. Voters who are disappointed in the FIDESZ they will never join the MSZP but they may join the new guys. The new party’s campaign should center around the idea that “there is always hope. try this party”. Hire another Goebbels, not the same guy who helped in 2002.

Kirsten
Guest

“Hire another Goebbels”
I know you mean rhetoric skill but would very much suggest a Hungarian Boris Tadic instead.

Member

Well, propaganda skills. Of course I don’t mean lying … Polititians never lie n’est–ce pas? How to present the different aspects of truth (God probably killed a kitten when I wrote this) is not the skill the Hungarian politicians mustered in the 20 years. They were either blatantly lying into your face or committed political suicide by trying to look honest. Too bad that Orban is the one who graduated first.
I don’t know much about Tadic. He looks like one of the good Serbs minus the views on Kosovo. Whay him?

Sandor
Guest
Just wait a minute! Let us consider the same situation from the MSzP’s point of view. There are some party hacks, some notabilities far beyond their shelf life and some hard hitters ready to compromise? In this constellation the party has a very serious reckoning to do. While the building of a new party would be very hard an dubious in its success, the position of the MSzP is not very rosy either.The old guard is amortized, the voters will ignore them, as they did already last time. The hard hitters, Puch and company also have a certain rancid odour, they are also repulsive to the voters. Poor MSzP actually has very modest resources to offer to the voters and as it happens the only real asset they have is Gyurcsany. As I look at it, they need him more than he needs them. In fact I would expect that soon Gyurcsany will effect the clearing of the dead wood from the background. On the other hand, if he leaves and takes most of the members with him, he may have a legitimate claim on the proportional resources to take along as well. I consider his bargaining position quite strong,… Read more »
Sackhoes Contributor
Guest
In any other democratic country the party leader who admits to lying to the public and falsifying the balance sheet would have been unceremoniously removed from his position by his own party. Not in Hungary, not Gyurcsany and not the socialists. My rough guess is that both the socialists and Fidesz both have their totally and blindly faithful supporters, which probably give them each about 15-20% of the voters. These party faithful will vote for their party candidate regardless of who is the candidate, even if it is a live mangalica (a local version of the Yellow Dog voter in the US). Another 15% votes for Jobbik and a few SzDSz refugees go for the LMP. That leaves at least 40% “swing voters”. In 2002 they were the ones that put the socialists in power, repeating it in 2006, before Gyurcsany’s revelations. After learning of Gyurcsany’s deception and the socialists reluctance to clean their own stable they swung the other way. How long will they continue to support Fidesz depends of course partly on Orban’s performance but Gyurcsany’s insistence to stay active in politics may be an even stronger factor. Apparently some socialists are beginning to see the light and… Read more »
Kirsten
Guest

@Mutt: Why I chose Tadic was that in the end-1990s when the prospects of Serbia were not too bright he founded a Center for Modern Skills also called Center for the Development of Foundations of Democracy and Political Skills. Grassroots work, so to speak, which contributed to that also Serbia could become a “transition” country at some moment. But I did not want to suggest that Hungary would step that much backwards, these “modern skills” were my main focus and an ability to “sell” such a programme to the electorate.
(But as you mention Kosovo, in some respect this could fit too. Slowly accepting a loss of territory because striving for EU membership means Kosovo is independent.)

Member

Sackhoes Contributor: “In any other democratic country the party leader who admits to lying to the public and falsifying the balance sheet would have been unceremoniously removed from his position by his own party. Not in Hungary, not Gyurcsany and not the socialists.” I am not an MSZP supporter, and I am waiting for some alternative for both the MSZP and Fidesz, but what you are saying here is nonsense. It was discussed before, and I must agree, that what Gyiurcsany said was a general comment. A general comment about what Hungary was about since the “changes”. Read Endre Ady, do you take everything literally from him, because if you do… When was the last time you heard A Hadak Utja? In any case you must have your head buried in the sand if you do not see what OV is doing. How about his lies and his promises? Oh, he did not say that he lied, so that makes it right? Give me a break.

An
Guest

@Someone and Sackhoes: The big difference is that Orban will never admit that he lied. Not even to a small trusted circle. Not even to himself. He is incapable of doing that. It doesn’t make him less of a liar.

Sackhoes Contributor
Guest

Gyurcsany’s “secret speech” was anything but general comment. He admitted to puropely misstating economic facts in order to win the elections.
My comments were strictly confined to Gyurcsany’s divisive role as it contributes to Orban’s popular support. If you must know, as far as Orban and Fidesz is concerned I am very disturbed by their performance and the direction they are taking the country. But as long as Gyurcsany remains MSzP’s central figure, Orban and Fidesz will continue to have large popular support. It’s time for someone new.

Alex Voicu
Guest

Dear Eva,
Sorry to be off-topic, but I couldn’t find your e-mail anywhere. If you have a bit of time, I would like to ask you a couple of questions about Hungarian politics, for my PhD research. My e-mail address is a.f.voicu@uva.nl. Thank you!
All the best,
Alex Voicu

Johnny Boy
Guest

“Apparently some socialists are beginning to see the light and want him out, but he just won’t go… much to Orban’s delight.”
Finally a sane voice among so many ridiculous statements.
Of course it’s Fidesz’s interest that Gyurcsány, as long as he is at large, remains in the party. Gyurcsány’s presence alone guarantees that MSZP will stay where it is now. With him there is no chance of MSZP regaining support. Gyurcsány repels voters a lot more than MSZP would by itself.

Member

Sackhoes Contributor: ” But as long as Gyurcsany remains MSzP’s central figure, Orban and Fidesz will continue to have large popular support.” I have to agree with that on some level, but I think it goes both ways. I see that Orban started the same alienation in his own party and from his own voters. It seems that his popularity sliding. He can blow bubbles just so long, and some of his “supporters” started to pick up on the “no content”. So, if you look at Gyurcsany’s speech as a non general comment (and I still think it was), and the “truth came out”, I am sure that there are many who look at OV’s actions and non-actions the same way. If “Actions speak louder than words”, then it must be awful noisy in Hungary by now.
I also agree that some refreshing on Hungary’s political radar would not hurt.

John G
Guest

As long as the MSZP is playing “sauve qui peut” and as long as Fidesz is still fighting the last election instead of governing with some stable direction and solid ideas Gyurcsany is the only game in town. He is the only one who is in a position who can say things openly and put different ideas out on the table. The fact that he is so discredited in the eyes of the general voting population, constantly reviled by the right and hounded by his own Party puts him in a position that he is able and SHOULD put policies and proposals in front of the nation, unfettered. Let people decide if those ideas are good or bad, and if good why isn’t either the Fidesz or Mszp working towards implementing them.
Gyurcsany is the only person in the political sphere in Hungary who has nothing to lose, and that puts him in the best position to get the political agenda rolling and Hungary back to some kind of stable direction. He doesn’t have to do the leading, just propose ideas. And it would seem he has decided to just that.

Andy
Guest

Gyurcsány is a hungarian oligarch, who, very unfortunately for us, hungarians, was playing “prime minister” too long in this country.
He is a total psycho, who can not except defeat and does not understand, than he can not play with the life of the people, like with Lego.
Those who are still supporting him are crazy or doing it because of his financial wealth.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Andy: “Those who are still supporting him [Gyurcsány] are crazy or doing it because of his financial wealth.”
Calm down, fellow. Those who are supporting him are neither crazy nor getting a piece of his wealth. I know a lot of very intelligent people who are convinced that this man still has a political future.

Andy
Guest

Eva, if he has any future here as a politician, that will be only for two reasons: 1. his money 2. the general low quality of our politicians
In every other civilized country he would be history by now. Ask Mr. János Avar…

Paul
Guest

“He is a total psycho, who can not except defeat and does not understand, than he can not play with the life of the people, like with Lego.”
Well, apart from the weird ‘Lego’ reference and the purple prose, this could be a fairly accurate description of OV himself.
But quite how it matches the facts of GF’s behaviour is beyond me.
Do we have yet another kis trollika on the blog?

Andy
Guest

Paul, sorry but this was a rather primitive reaction (trollika). According to you, if somebody is not a Gyurcsány fan, than he is a Fidesz activist automatically?
I am actually sick of both sides, if you makes this happy…
(I hate to see every more often on this blog, such law manners, but after all this is just another hungarian forum, mint a többi… or not?)

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Andy: “Ask Mr. János Avar… ” Meaning about Gyurcsány. Well, you know what. He would be the last man I would ask about him. He is far to the left for me.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Andy: “I am actually sick of both sides, if you makes this happy…”
Well, it is the worse possible reaction in the present situation. The two sides are not the same and running away from politics will help only the wrong side.

Andy
Guest

Eva, but you see even Avar is sick of him. Have you seen the last Újságíró klub on ATV? You can watch it on the net (poss. you know)
Running away from politics? I am not running, I am dashing away…
This is a parliamentary democracy… What we can do? It is easy to give advices from outside… and by the way we cam tank mr. gyurcsány for the 2/3…

Kirsten
Guest

@Andy: we cam tank mr. gyurcsány for the 2/3…
No, whatever Gyurcsany did, the voter is not an idiot who must of necessity believe propaganda such as “he lied” (as if he had said nothing else and in no context). As I wrote already earlier, the voter should first find out where he is contributing to this unfortunate situation and to refuse to put some sentences in context is sort of “co-operation” for me.

vermogensbeheer
Guest

It was such a stunning ideas. The fact that he is so discredited in the eyes of the general voting population, constantly reviled by the right and hounded by his own. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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