Monthly Archives: July 2011

Hungary’s extreme right: Jobbik

According to the latest poll (Szonda Ipsos) on party preferences Jobbik, which in earlier polls had lost some of its appeal since the last national elections in April 2010, regained its former strength by July 2011. To give an idea of the relative strength of Jobbik here are some numbers. Fidesz is being supported by 22% of the population eligible to vote, which means 1.8 million voters, while MSZP's supporters constitute 14% of the population with 1.1 million votes. Jobbik has more than 600,000 potential voters.

Who are Read the rest

Aladár Horváth, Roma activist’s meeting with Thomas O. Melia

Yesterday afternoon Aladár Horváth had high level talks in the U.S. Department of State. He had the opportunity to speak with Tomicah Tilleman, advisor to Hillary Clinton, and Thomas Melia, deputy assistant secretary for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. The very same man about whom Tamás Deutsch tweeted in such an unspeakable manner.

I wrote about Aladár Horváth earlier. He is a former SZDSZ member of parliament and chairman of the Roma Civil Rights Foundation. The topic naturally was the question of Hungarian democracy and the … Read the rest

The meaning of words in Hungarian politics

In a way I'm returning to earlier topics. To a passage in Viktor Orbán's speech at Tasnádfürdő/Băile Tuşnad that created a fierce debate about its meaning and to four different reactions of Hungarian government officials and a Fidesz member of the EU parliament to Thomas O. Melia's remarks before the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs. I will tackle the latter first. Because words are especially important here, I will quote the appropriate passages both in Hungarian and in English translation.

The first person who reacted to Melia's critical remarks … Read the rest

Fidesz is paying Thomas O. Melia back for his help in 1989-1990

Yesterday afternoon I received a brief note from a friend who is knowledgeable about the events of the late 1980s when Viktor Orbán and his college friends were only dreaming of a regime change. The note referred briefly to the fact that Thomas Melia, who at the time was just about thirty years old–only six years older than Viktor Orbán, worked for NDI (National Democratic Institute), an independent, nongovernmental organization that has been supporting democratic institutions and practices since its founding in 1983. During 1989 and 1990 he, together other activists … Read the rest

Another American warning but the Hungarian government doesn’t listen

Yesterday Thomas O. Melia, deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor at the United States Department of State, expressed his concern about the new Hungarian constitution, the state of the media and, at the urging of a Republican congressman, the law on churches and religion before the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Although Melia emphasized that Hungary is an important member of the European Union and NATO, he pointed out that the current "one-party" Hungarian government is using its unprecedented two-thirds majority … Read the rest

An informer and his career: Péter Heltai

Fidesz was never too finicky when it was discovered that people in the party's ranks had had rather checkered careers. That actually a number of them were informers. A communist past wasn't an obstacle either, in spite of Fidesz's virulent anti-communist rhetoric. For example, it turned out that there were more former MSZMP members in the first Orbán government than in the socialist Horn government. Among the ministers one could even find former informers. And one Fidesz mayor actually reported on his own family.

The second Orbán government has a new … Read the rest

Anders Behring Breivik’s Hungarian connections

The horrible massacre in Norway by a thirty-two-year-old fanatic shook the whole world. Every newspaper is full of the details and the latest developments concerning Anders Behring Breivik. One can find over 3,000 articles just in English on the subject, and the Hungarian media is no exception. In the last three days more then 700 articles appeared about the Norwegian terrorist, whom the Hungarian journalists simply call "the Norwegian butcher." 

Hungarian interest in the case owes something to the fact that Breivik's rambling 1,500-page "testament" has several references to Hungary … Read the rest