Ferenc Gyurcsány’s interrogation by the prosecutors

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

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Paul
Guest

Thanks for the link, Éva, it looks like Budapost could be a vital resource for us non-Magyar speakers.
Unfortunately your link doesn’t work – try this one: http://budapost.eu/ (maybe it’s the ‘www’ that causes it to fail? http:// might be better).

Paul
Guest

PS – could you talk about Ibolya’s Dávid’s encounter with Sándor Csányi as well please?
I know nothing about this, but Dávid has always fascinated me. I wasn’t very into Hungarian politics in 2006 and there were very few sources in English, but I remember OV getting very upset with her. In fact my memory (probably unreliable) is that her refusal to work with him more or less lost the election for Fidesz. (Didn’t he promise not to be PM if Fidesz won?)

An
Guest

Agree with most of what you said; the whole political witch hunt against Gyurcsany is outrageous. But was the link to the song absolutely necessary??? Terrible, terrible song; a real turn-off. “Come Feri, we need your help” Really? That doesn’t sound any better the adulation Orban receives from his fan base.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

An: “Agree with most of what you said; the whole political witch hunt against Gyurcsany is outrageous. But was the link to the song absolutely necessary???”
To tell you the truth, I didn’t even listen to it. I don’t like that kind of music. I simply added it because it was used at the demonstration and I thought that I ought to include it for the sake of accuracy.
Otherwise, I think that this round was won by Gyurcsány.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Thank you Paul. I fixed the link.

Paul
Guest

Éva – did you know that one of the people listed as involved (in an unspecified way) in Budapost is Nick Thorpe?
From what I’ve read so far, it looks good, but I can’t trust something that has him as an original ‘member’.

Paul
Guest

The link still doesn’t work – maybe it’s me?

Paul
Guest

Re Nick Thorpe:
Here’s an interesting comparison, on the first anniversary of the Red Sludge disaster.
First, a Reuters piece on the situation in Kolontar one year on – http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/feature-hungary-villages-heal-slowly-from-red-sludge-spill
Then Nick Thorpe’s take on much the same thing – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-14575564
Compare and contrast!

Sackhoes Contributor
Guest

“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”
Thank you Eva for the link. It is wonderful to have a balanced and objective press coverage, especially in English! I have signed up already.
Paul: Just Google Budapost and the click on the result.

peter litvanyi
Guest

We on this site must do everything in our power to prevent political persecution.
I personally do not agree with Mr. Gyurcsany’s vision of the future; I do not want to see him ever hold a political office again.
I do greatly respect him as a person. I do not think he ever misused or disgraced his post as a PM. Certainly not in a legal sense. If I am ever given contrary /trustworthy and not from a fascist regime/ evidence: I will be very surprised and shall judge him accordingly.
It is our duty here to stand by Mr. Gyucsany.
Amnesty International perhaps? Any ideas?
PS: Sana Tova! May this New Year be not wasted on hatred, greed and rehearsing the old one! My wish.
Sincerely:
Peter Litvanyi
PS:
I would appreciate if anyone not currently living in Hungary / relatives don’t count/ would identify themselves so as their opinions would fully count.
Those living in Hungary should do so as well yet I understand why they might not want to do so. However: anonymity won’t help.

peter litvanyi
Guest

Olah Ibolya, the original varsion:


peter litvanyi
Guest
Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Paul: “The link still doesn’t work – maybe it’s me?”
No, it wasn’t you. I fixed it in “News from Hungary” but forgot to change it in the text. Now, it’s fixed at both places.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Paul: “did you know that one of the people listed as involved (in an unspecified way) in Budapost is Nick Thorpe?”
No, I didn’t. I assume he is used to summarize articles because of his fluency in the language. Of course, it is possible that he will pick articles of his liking but we will see.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Peter Litvanyi: “I personally do not agree with Mr. Gyurcsany’s vision of the future”
What don’t you like in it? Not socialist enough?

Member

I think it is very important to note that here it is Mr Litvanyi, who does not want Gyurcsany in political office again. I for one, like him as a person, but I think he had his chance and blew it. I know that there are others who support Eva in many ways on this blog, feel the same way as Mr Litvanyi too. WHy is this important? Because we have some people who’s sole purpose when visiting this blog to slander the posters who do not agree with Orban’s politics or do not agree with how backward Hungary is getting (show trials, ant-democratic laws, back taxes, flat tax that punish the poor, new law on religion that takes away the status of church for Orban’s liking, the conjunction of church and state, etc.) THey are not to bring up what good Orban is doing, but trying to discredit other posters, not by facts, but by asserting that they would agree with everything that Eva says. They re wrong and now as we see this is a fact!

Member

Fascinating stuff. What is his logic? Does he want to turn the media circus into a propaganda machine to his advantage? Was this his “I did not have sex with that woman” speech? Velemenyzer.hu made this comparision to Clinton in an IMHO lame article. They think Gyurcsany will make a clown of himself like this – he’ll just be the protagonist of the Gyurcsany comedy. Maybe that’s what the other side want. Fascinating.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Mutt: “Velemenyzer.hu made this comparision to Clinton in an IMHO lame article.”
On the other hand, Andrassew (Népszava) thinks that Gyurcsány came out of this very well.

Paul
Guest

Mutt – I fear you/they may be right. For all Éva’s adoration of Feri, I don’t share her view of him as a sophisticated player or a street fighter. And he forgets just how much control over the media they have. He may look good to outsiders, but, once the Fidesz spin machine has finished with him, he’ll look a complete clown to most Hungarians.
I suspect OV’s goons are licking their lips at the prospect of Gy walking straight into their trap. Just how much propaganda can they get out of this ‘trial’? They are drooling at the thought of it.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

I am really amused by all these comments that claim that I want Gyurcsány to be the next prime minister of Hungary. I myself doubt that possibility at the moment.
I also agree with some of you who think that Bajnai would be an ideal candidate due to his professional background. But he is not a politician and we don’t even know yet whether he has political ambitions.
However, Gyurcsány is able to move crowds as he managed to change MSZP’s chances in 2006. Perhaps Gyurcsány as chairman of MSZP and Bajnai as candidate for prime minister would be an ideal combination.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Gyurcsány made public all the documents pertaining to the Sukoró affair:
http://www.sukoroper.hu

Johnny Boy
Guest

“Now it is the Orbán government’s turn.”
Absolutely not. The government doesn’t have anything to do with the case.
It’s the prosecution’s turn to raise charges if they find it needed, and then the courts’ turn.
Stop attacking the constitutional state by accusing the judiciary system without anything to back up your claims.
It’s you trying to ruin the constitutional state. A true democrat does not attack the prosecution without a ground.
Stop pretending to be a democrat and a devotee of law and order when it’s you who want to breach it on political grounds.

Jano
Guest
Once again, I don’t know if GYF is guilty or not on this one, but I find this show he’s making out of it totally repulsive for me. Knowing the guy I’m sure that the whole scene with the crying mother, etc. was orchestrated to make the effect (although I’m sure that no mother is happy if his son is taken to court). I didn’t really know how to describe my feelings about this but then I found myself agreeing with Véleményvezér’s piece http://velemenyvezer.blog.hu/2011/10/04/bunosbol_aldozat_gyurcsany_nem_bill_clinton I’m absolutely against show trials, but it’s nonsense that an ex-prime minister can’t even be investigated because then he’ll use the victim card and makes a reality show out of it. I find it hard to believe that people calling themselves democrats feel so entitled to dismiss charges on a “Feri would never do it” basis. If 4-8-12 years from now OV is charged with something and the right wing Eva equivalents write posts like this embedding countless Ákos Kovács songs, I’ll still feel the same way. I’d like to see an absolutely open trial and a clear verdict eventually, which might very well be the acquittal of GYF. I’m willing to believe that LEGALLY he… Read more »
azazello
Guest
The aim of the show trial against Gyurcsány, as I see it, is to make it exceedingly difficult for the opposition to distance itself from its most compromised and divisive figure. It’s a deeply cynical ploy. The thinking behind it is probably based on the insight that Gyurcsány’s reputation has suffered irreparable damage in the eyes of a a very large portion of the electorate. No matter how intensely Orbán’s insane policies end up alienating these people, they would sooner cut off their own arms than vote for an opposition party or coalition led by Gyurcsány. So, as long as the witchhunt orchestrated by Orban and Polt keeps Gyurcsany in the limelight, letting him play the role of the official martyr of the opposition (he is very good at playing that role), Orban can feel safe: the opposition may keep on growing but it is likely to remain divided. Now remember that the Orban regime is about to pass a new election law which provides for a single election round, leaving no room for electoral alliances whereby opposition candidates with comparatively weak showing in the first round could withdraw in the second round in favor of the stronger opposition candidate.… Read more »
Eva S. Balogh
Guest

azazello: “The aim of the show trial against Gyurcsány, as I see it, is to make it exceedingly difficult for the opposition to distance itself from its most compromised and divisive figure. It’s a deeply cynical ploy.”
Oh, I don’t think that this is as complicated as you think. Orban really hates Gyurcsány and would love to see him in jail.

Paul
Guest

An excellent post. azazello. Clearly analysed, convincingly argued and well written – one of the best pieces I’ve read on here.
But Éva is never going to agree with you!

Johnny Boy
Guest

Again the only post with sanity is ignored, that is, the one that calls you to stop trying to ruin the credibility of the state without any arguments.
Talk about reasoning. You people are obviously completely immune to logic and don’t have the slightest inner inclination to at least show something when you accuse.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Jano: “Knowing the guy I’m sure that the whole scene with the crying mother, etc. was orchestrated”
This is ugly and unfair.

Wondercat
Guest

“Nick Thorpe” — the only association with him that comes to mind is a campaign for midwifery. What makes him suspect to senior readers?

An
Guest

@azazello: “The aim of the show trial against Gyurcsány, as I see it, is to make it exceedingly difficult for the opposition to distance itself from its most compromised and divisive figure. It’s a deeply cynical ploy. ”
Fidesz is not that smart. Turning Gyurcsany into a martyr actually works against them, as a politically motivated with hunt only brings MszP together and gathers sympathy for Gyurcsany. On the other hand, if they’d just let Gyurcsany be, chances he’d be trying to reform MSzP so hard that it would lead to its break up. Nothing better for Fidesz than MSzP’s breaking up, really.
If I thought they had a ploy, I’d say the ploy is to wait until MSZP splits and then arrest Gyurcsany. Then MSZP is weakened and the Democratic Coalition is without a leader. But honestly, I am not sure they think that strategically (neither that this strategy work out very well for them, in the end, either). I agree with Eva, this whole circus is motivated by Orban’s personal vendetta.

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