“National consultation” in Miskolc

Actually we would call these events “town meetings.” Usually a politician organizes a “lakossági fórum” which only the party faithful attend. Gergely Gulyás, one of the framers of the new constitution, began a series of town meetings, which he calls “national consultations.” Naturally, it doesn’t matter what you call these gatherings. Only those who are fundamentally in agreement with the party involved will show up.

This is what happened in Miskolc on Saturday evening when about 20-25 mostly elderly men gathered to “discuss” the important points of the new constitution. Gulyás was accompanied by a rookie member of parliament representing Miskolc, Katalin Csöbör (Fidesz), who at least seems to have some knowledge of the outside world. She spent a few years in France.

Gulyás gave a short introduction and then came the questions and observations from the audience. Some of the remarks were truly amazing. They testified to the total ignorance of democratic principles in Hungary. It must have been an eye opener for Gulyás himself when time and again he had to give lessons in the most elementary tenets of democracy.

The first man who rose to speak was the principal of a local school. It is not clear whether he was the principal of an elementary school or a high school. Let’s hope the former, but even then it shows the depth of the problems with Hungarian education. He thought that the new constitution was “too liberal.” He and his friends expected something “stricter.”  First of all, he would demand at least an eighth-grade education for someone to be able to vote. It is a disgrace that people who cannot read or write decide the fate of the country. In his opinion, not even eighteen-year-olds are mature enough to vote. He would raise the voting age. He also complained about the independence of the judges “who make mistakes right and left.”  And finally he complained about the severity of the law on gun control. “People must be able to defend themselves,” he said.

Then an older man got up and demanded a defense of the dignity of the president. “Even in the cabarets they’re making fun of him.” I guess he had something like the inviolability of the ruler in mind. Like it was during the monarchy. Anyone who makes fun of the president’s spelling errors should go directly to jail. He also complained about “the traitors within.” Good Hungarians must be defended against their slanders. “We don’t have our own Siberia where we can send them, but they should go back to their country of origin, let’s say, India.” He brought up as an example Ágnes Heller who has the gall to call attention to Hungarian anti-Semitism. This guy’s intelligence can perhaps best be gauged by his remark that to call the Supreme Court Kúria is a very bad idea because it reminds people of Ferenc Gyurcsány’s speech at Balatonőszöd, where he talked about “elkúrtuk.”  Well, Gyurcsány was talking about “f…ing up” while kúria comes from the Latin “curia” which was originally the meeting place of the senate in Rome. In Hungary, first the royal court was called kúria and later, in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the name was transferred to the courts that were acting on behalf of the king, i.e. the royal court. He also didn’t understand why the new constitution changed the “megyék” (counties) to “vármegyék” when there are no longer “várak,” meaning fortresses. So, the level of the “national consultation” was that high. Or that low.

Gulyás, whom I don’t consider a model democrat, had to explain time and again that one must obey the law in a democratic state. That there are certain principles that cannot be discarded. He kept stressing that after all in 1989-90 a constitutional democracy was established in Hungary, and he even added that the democracy flourished in the last twenty years. This is definitely an improvement over what László Kövér had to say about the last twenty years, which according to him was no more than a dictatorship.

A comparison of Gulyás’s remarks and László Kövér’s speech in parliament on Monday shows that Fidesz is not an ideologically homogeneous party. Kövér in my opinion is close to Jobbik as far as ideology is concerned. Gulyás is most of the time a reasonable man of right-of-center, conservative views. Mind you, Gulyás will certainly not express his misgivings, if he has any, about the opinions uttered by Kövér. In fact, yesterday he defended Kövér’s speech and “agreed with every word of it.” But having listened to Gulyás explain the principles of democracy to the ignorami of the “national consultation,” I cannot believe that he is telling us the truth. Because for a democrat Kövér’s speech was unacceptable. This speech, by the way, was transcribed in its entirety from the MTV video by Galamus.

Because MSZP and LMP aren’t participating in the discussion on the new constitution and because not even Fidesz-KDNP members are there in droves, the parliamentary chamber looks deserted. One of the Jobbik members noted that every time a Fidesz MP gets up to speak, his fellow members move from their assigned seats and sit down next to him or behind him. They know that the camera is on the man and they hope that in this way it will not be so obvious to those who are watching the proceedings on television that the House is practically empty. Naturally, Tibor Navracsics denied that there was any such scheme. Members can sit wherever they want except when voting is going on.

And finally, according Tárki, since December Fidesz-KDNP has lost one-third of its voters, but they moved over to the bloc of undecided voters. Something is very wrong in MSZP.

 

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Kirsten
Guest

The examples are a bit sobering but at least those people came and were willing to think about the constitution (the participation part is understood). I heard odd ideas about democracy or how the political system should work also in the West of Germany, it simply has not these consequences for the political life in general because the political system is established and works also without everybody understanding it (and the stability is in itself valued and therefore reinforcing). But of course, that does not make this discussion any better. Perhaps it is reassuring that there are people in Fidesz that advertise democracy.

Odin's lost eye
Guest
The revelations in this article do not surprise me one iota. The Hungarians have always in their history had little ‘bursts’ of democracy interspersed by long periods of dictatorship. They are always seeking a ‘strong man’, a ‘Messiah’ who will fix everything (even grand Pa’s flatulence). The Hungarians (as individuals and collectively) seem to have an unwillingness to take on any form of responsibility for anything. They seem to have an unwillingness to take on any form of political/elected office, this leaves the path, open for ‘office seekers’ who are interested in using the office for power, prestige or most likely profit. Professor you make a remark * “Something is very wrong in MSZP” * I do not think you are right. Its showing in the polls probably represents the true numbers of socialist believers. Because Fidesz has successfully infiltrated, compromised and destroyed the organisations of the true ‘centre right’. It has done this for two reason and two reasons only. These are to feed the overweening compulsion of its leader to be forever the ‘top dog’ and for rest of the leadership to get their snouts and their feet deep into the trough, their fingers in the till. They… Read more »
Leo
Guest
Kirsten: “Perhaps it is reassuring that there are people in Fidesz that advertise democracy.” I agree, but it also shows how low our expectations have become. I also agree with one of these old-fashioned gentlemen from Miskolc that the level of knowledge among voters (not only in Hungary) is appalling. I sometimes think some form of selection could be justified. Not on the basis of formal education, but something like a simple political quiz maybe? So simple and so strictly factual that even our Fidesz friends on this forum would pass. I know this is not a feasible idea, but still … when politicians worry about their legitimacy (though in Hungary they don´t), they should not only stress the importance of voting, but also and even more, promote democratic education. That made me fantasize what would happen if in Hungary only the better informed would vote (and to a certain degree that is off course already the case). I suppose it would be a real blow to Jobbik, but would it change the relative power of the other parties? I suppose it might weaken Fidesz a bit, but not very much. On the other hand what would happen when voting… Read more »
Odin's lost eye
Guest

Leo No!
If you are liable to pay taxes then you when you are mature (say over 18 – an age at which you can be sent to fight for your country) you are entitled to say how your money should be spent.
That is Vote!

Member

Odin: “[Hungarians] seem to have an unwillingness to take on any form of political/elected office, ” They did take political offices. From WWII to the late 50s, some people who took office were executed. SOme of the people who took office from the late 50s to the 1990s (40 years) are scrutinized now. Some of the commenters on this board who did sweet nothing (or maybe were not even alive yet) is telling off of people who dared to make a living up to 1990. Anyone who took office after the 90s are also scrutinized by the same jerks and the alike. Why would anyone want to step forward? Hungary’s democracy is in a petri dish. People do not understand what it is. Look at some of the Fidesz fan club contributors on this forum as the best example. According to this poster (and others) Hungarian democracy is for a selected few, like heterosexual, non-liberals, who are not gypsy or Jew, who live inside or outside the Hungarian borders and speak Hungarian.

Johnny Boy
Guest

“Gulyás, whom I don’t consider a model democrat”
Please explain.

Johnny Boy
Guest

Also please explain why Kövér’s speech would be unacceptable for a democrat. I’ve read through it and I frankly can’t see one bit of it that is unacceptable. Please help me.

kormos
Guest

Excuse for Off topic:
Hello Hungarians from Toronto!
What is happening with the Hungarian House there?
I hear funny stories, but I have no serious knowledge, so I treat those as gossips for now.

Member

Kormos: Do you speak Hungarian? If you do, you can read all the stuff at the Hungarian Culture Centre’s website. The whole issue is like a typical Hungarian story about power and politics…. http://www.hccc.org/ If you cannot read it I can explain what is happening.. I would like to remind you that the last time I stepped inside the Centre was 20 years ago. Also, the building is up for sale.

kormos
Guest

Thanks Someone!

Kirsten
Guest

Leo: “I sometimes think some form of selection could be justified. Not on the basis of formal education, but something like a simple political quiz maybe?”
Any selection means that someone has to decide about the rules of selection, and these will still be arbitrary. Political education in small steps, which sounds banal but is not, is the only feasible way in my impression. (Not to believe that the meaning of “democracy” is unambiguous only because we know this word from childhood.)

Member

I think that any acting government (and I am not talking about right, left or center, but all) shall educate the general population about democracy and voting. THese people who showed up to this meeting, least care enough to show up. They are not young kids, and twenty years gone by and they have not have a clue about basic human rights (although we have some posters on this board also like that).

littlelambfound
Guest

Kormos: Here’s a link….make sure to read the comments after the article.
http://fwix.com/toronto/share/07cedfef1d/hungarian_house_for_sale

Member

@ littlelambfound and kormos: Yepp, the comments say more than the article.

Johnny Boy
Guest

Still waiting for explanation on how Gulyás and Kövér wouldn’t be democrats.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Johnny Boy: “Still waiting for explanation on how Gulyás and Kövér wouldn’t be democrats.”
Kövér’s speech speaks for itself. As for Gulyás. Anyone who is willing to give his name to VO’s constitution ab ovo cannot be a democrat.

Johnny Boy
Guest

“Kövér’s speech speaks for itself”
That’s why I’m waiting for an explanation. In my opinion, Kövér’s speech doesn’t contain one single thing that would be unacceptable for a democrat. What you do here is not reasoning.
“Anyone who is willing to give his name to VO’s constitution ab ovo cannot be a democrat.”
No reasoning here again, at all. OV and Fidesz got the mandate from the voters and all they do with the constitution is perfectly legal. Anyone who refuses to acknowledge this refuses to accept democracy’s rule of thumb, the will of the majority, thus cannot a democrat. This is what is called reasoning, not what you are doing.

Jim
Guest

@Johnny Boy
“all they do with the constitution is perfectly legal”
Really? Anything at all? Have you thought this through?
“democracy’s rule of thumb, the will of the majority”
So if 51% of the population decides to send the Roma back to India, that would be perfectly “democratic” and constitutional in your view?
I don’t think you’ve given much thought to constitutional notions like checks and balances, or minority protections.

Member

” the will of the majority” Johnny Boy is not equal with the tyranny of the majority. You are in the majority as you are a Fidesz supporter, and apparently you think homosexuals are deviant and should be stripped of their equal rights (you said so on your own) Jews have to much influence, liberals are the devils. Nice democracy.

Ron
Guest

Eva S. Balogh: As for Gulyás. Anyone who is willing to give his name to VO’s constitution ab ovo cannot be a democrat.
Johnny Boy: Anyone who refuses to acknowledge this refuses to accept democracy’s rule of thumb, the will of the majority, thus cannot a democrat. This is what is called reasoning, not what you are doing.
You may want to think this over, as this guy wants to restrict fundamental rights, due to economic crises. Mind you economic crises not act of God.
http://www.fn.hu/belfold/20101122/gulyas_gergely_abortuszt_betiltani/
(bottom part of article).

Johnny Boy
Guest

“I don’t think you’ve given much thought to constitutional notions like checks and balances, or minority protections.”
Show me how the new constitution hurts the system of checks and balances or minorities.
Your arguments are as weak as a faint f@rt in the wind.
“” the will of the majority” Johnny Boy is not equal with the tyranny of the majority”
Is it tyranny that a political group, with enough mandate to construct a constitution, constructs a constitution? Ridiculous.
“restrict fundamental rights”
Your attempt to depict abortion as a fundamental right is nothing more than demagogue falsification. The topic is one of the most debated on Earth. How can you say that taking away a life, even though inside a womb, is a fundamental right? I wonder what’d have happened if your mother had thought about aborting you as a fundamental right.

Ron
Guest

Johnny Boy:”restrict fundamental rights”
This part was about the Constitutional Court and not about abortion.
Beszélt volna Orbán Viktor mondjuk az Alkotmánybíróság jogkörének csökkentéséről?
Ezt sem lehet helyzettől és időtől függetlenül értékelni. A Fidesz gazdaságpolitikája épp arra irányult, hogy a választókat érintő megszorítások nélkül tüntessük el a nem általunk okozott költségvetési hiányt, a nem általunk vállalt szintre. Ehhez ötszázmilliárdos lukat kellett befoltozni. Ahogy alapjogok korlátozására is lehetőség van rendkívüli jogrend esetén, most bizonyos értelemben gazdasági szükséghelyzet van.

Johnny Boy
Guest

Ron. Yes I agree that this is restricting rights, but your concept of fundamental rights is very off. Null-and-voiding macroeconomic steps are not fundamental rights. In most European countries, the constitutional court is a lot weaker than in Hungary, and in some such a court doesn’t even exist (take Britain for example).
In Hungary the C. Court has been granted enormous rights and this has been weakened somewhat. No big deal. The only thing the court was prevented from destroying was the retroactive taxation on stolen severance pays. Where’s the problem with getting them back? Except, of course, that your fav left-libs are deprived from their stolen (our) property.
I myself am no friend of these restrictive actions on the Court, but this is far from restricting fundamental rights. The most ridiculous example of this forged scandal was the demonstration for the ‘freedom of press’ of which all media have reported for days. How can such a demonstration be reported everywhere if there is no freedom of press?

Member

“restrict fundamental rights” best example is the taking away the same rights from same sex couples or from couples who are not united in marriage. By the way taking away the rights of women to choose to abort will not substantially limit the number of abortions, but will put many women into danger to have the procedure down under unregulated circumstances. No, I do not endorse abortion, but it should not up to the government to decide if a woman could abort. How about the after the fact pills?

Ron
Guest

Johnny Boy in most countries there is no constitutional court, but a Senate (incl. the UK House of Lords)). However, in the UK it is appointed (used to be birth right), and I am in favour of an elected Senate and not for an appointed CC.
However, there are two types of severance pay, the ones forced by contract like the BKV or the ones forced under the Labour Code. Currently, both are taxes heavily, while the first one is a form of stealing and the second one is because of build up rights. I agree the first one should be taxed heavily or cancelled via the courts, while the second one should be left alone.
As to the freedom of the press, as mentioned in earlier post, I am not afraid for the current government, but the one that follows, and this may be MSZP, and they may abuse it.

Ron
Guest

Johnny Boy what they did with the CC is not a restiction of the fundamental right, but Gulyás is actually saying that he sees not problem by restricting fundamental rights in an economic crises. therefore, according to me he is not a model democrat.

Johnny Boy
Guest
someone: ‘”restrict fundamental rights” best example is the taking away the same rights from same sex couples or from couples who are not united in marriage’ Wrong. It is proven that families with marriage bonds are a lot more stable than those without marriage. And it is also proven that for the healthy development of a child, it is necessary that he/she sees natural and proper examples of gender. Both prove that the steps you mentioned are merely steps in the sane direction. “By the way taking away the rights of women to choose to abort will not substantially limit the number of abortions, but will put many women into danger to have the procedure down under unregulated circumstances” Wrong again. There were a lot more births in the Ratkó era when abortion was illegal, and, in fact, Hungary is still living off of it. But we’re not even talking about banning abortion, yet you manage to be wrong. Ron: AFAIK the law has been amended to NOT tax due severance pays. But it is a falsification to say that Gulyás finds it acceptable to restrict fundamental rights in an economic crisis. The original sentence is this: “Ahogy alapjogok korlátozására… Read more »
Sandor
Guest

Never mind Gulyas! Let’s concentrate on the substance. As it happens, one of the most competent and most creditable person to address the subject just published an article summarizing what the problem is with this pseudo constitution. Here it is:
http://nol.hu/velemeny/20110329-az_uj_alkotmany_tortenelmi_jelentosege
And if that is not enough, then here is the judgement of the Venice Commission:
http://www.venice.coe.int/docs/2011/CDL-AD(2011)001-e.pdf
Here is your opportunity Johnny Boy, learn something! With your constitutional expertise and finely honed sense of democracy, these will all be extremely enlightening.

Member

Johnny Boy: I have no idea what is your referred studies have to do with “restricting fundamental rights”. According to your logic, because some studies come up with the conclusion that “marriage bonds are a lot more stable than those without marriage” then people who do not marry does not deserve the same rights? hahaha You are hopeless Maybe you should put forward that because people with light skin more prone to get skin cancer, they should not enjoy the same rights on the beaches than people with darker skins. lol

wpDiscuz