First, I would like to call your attention to a new online publication in English. It is called Budapost, and it is a Hungarian press review that chooses the more important articles that appeared in sixteen Hungarian-language publications. Here is a list of the publications: 168 Óra, Blikk, Élet és irodalom, Ferenc Kumin’s blog, Figyelő, Gábor Török’s blog, Galamus, Heti Válasz, Heti Világgazdaság, Híradó, Hírszerző, Index, Klubrádió, komment.hu, Magyar Demokrata, Magyar Hírlap, Magyar Narancs, Magyar Nemzet, Mandiner, Napi Gazdaság, Népszabadság, Népszava, Origo, Stop.hu, Suverén, Véleményvezér and Világgazdaság. As you can see, both sides of the political spectrum are represented.
Second, I was in a real quandary this morning over whether I should talk about Ibolya’s Dávid’s encounter with Sándor Csányi in the courtroom last week or summarize another confrontation: Ferenc Gyurcsány’s with the prosecutors. I decided to write about today’s demonstration on behalf of Ferenc Gyurcsány who was called in for an interrogation in connection with the Sukoró real estate swap where he is charged with a breach of fiduciary responsility.
As we know, the case against Ferenc Gyurcsány, prime minister of Hungary between 2004 and 2009, was most likely hatched a long time ago, and the original source was undoubtedly Viktor Orbán who hasn’t made a secret of his hatred of his former political opponent. It has also been known for some time that Gyurcsány was going to fight. Months ago he promised that instead of being the accused he will be the accuser in the courtroom if the case gets that far.
The pro-Gyurcsány forces organized a demonstration to take place at the time of Gyurcsány’s appearance before the prosecutors on Zichy Jenő Street. The street was completely filled with about 1,000 people. What amazed me most was the volume of the demonstrators’ voices. Saturday on Kossuth tér one of the speakers asked the large crowd to say loudly and clearly “We are not afraid!” I heard practically nothing. The speaker kept repeating: “Louder, louder.” Here it was different. The demonstrators were loud both in declaring that they are not afraid and in their enthusiasm for Ferenc Gyurcsány. The crowd urged him to fight: “Hajrá, Feri!” one could hear repeatedly.
Gyurcsány is a very informal fellow. Years ago I was reading an article about his visit to Washington where he gave a speech at one of the universities. The president of the university had a heck of a time with his name, which he managed to mutilate. At this point Gyurcsány announced: “Just call me Frank!” Well, it seems that most of the people who read his blog or his Facebook notes call him Feri and use the familiar “te.” With Orbán the crowd might keep repeating “Viktor, Viktor!” but I’d bet no stranger would ever approach him and call him Viktor and “te.” Two very different personalities.
I was interested in finding out who was at the demonstration from the leadership of MSZP. We knew already yesterday that István Hiller, the head of the Social Democratic Platform of the party, was going. He declared his full support for Ferenc Gyurcsány. I always suspected that although Ildikó Lendvai didn’t say anything, she would be there. But it was really nice to see that even Tamás Suchman, who was the first to demand his resignation as party chairman, joined in. Another man I didn’t expect to see was Gergely Bárándy who somewhat surprisingly given his age is inclined to stand by the older guard. I saw László Kovács in the crowd, another man who is not exactly a fan. I didn’t see Attila Mesterházy, but apparently he was there. Thus, MSZP showed surprising solidarity. Csaba Horváth, head of the Budapest MSZP caucus, wasn’t there, but no one expected him to show solidarity with Gyurcsány. After all, only two days ago he launched a frontal attack, arguing that Gyurcsány should be expelled from the party.
I found the photo below telling. On the left one can see Gyurcsány’s mother and sister. The anguish on his mother’s face is quite visible:
In addition to his mother and sister Klára Dobrev, his wife, and all his five children were present. Gyurcsány arrived a few minutes before 1:00 p.m. in the company of his lawyer, Péter Zamecsnik. Instead of answering the prosecutors’ questions he declared his innocence and “looking into their eyes” told them that by taking part in this affair they violated their oath of impartiality and judicial independence. At the same time he filed a complaint against the interrogation itself. Not surprisingly, the spokesman for the prosecutor’s office unequivocally rejected the accusation.
Singer Ibolya Oláh, a long-time supporter of Gyurcsány, sang her famous song:
One could also hear another song by Kafkaz: “Feri gyere vissza, segíteni kell!” (Feri, come back, you must help!)
And finally, Gyurcsány delivered a speech after he left the prosecutors. Here is the video:
Now it is the Orbán government’s turn.
P.S. The video taken at the hearing is now available: http://atv.hu/video/video-20111003_zamecsnik_peter