The Hungarian government’s preparatory work for the elimination of the opposition

It was on Friday, November 18 that MTI, the Hungarian news agency, reported that Fidesz is working on a new bill described as a document that would take care of “temporary decrees” attached to the new constitution. In case you don’t understand what that means, don’t feel bad. I don’t either. In Hungarian the document is described as “az új alaptörvény átmeneti rendelkezéseiről szóló jogszabály.” Try to figure out what they have in mind.

In any case, in the preamble to this bill it is stated that MSZP, as the legal successor to János Kádár’s MSZMP party, shares responsibility for all the sins of the one-party dictatorship ever since 1945. The list of crimes is long, starting with the establishment of a one-party system with the help of the Soviet army after World War II, responsibility for the country’s indebtedness, “the catastrophic ruination” of Hungary’s competitiveness, murders, deliverance of the country to a foreign power, responsibility for illegal incarcerations, sending people to forced labor camps, responsibility for their inhumane treatment and torture, arbitrary divestiture of their property, depriving people of their rights, discrimination on the basis of a person’s social origin or political views, and building up a spy network for the illegal surveillance of the country’s citizens.

Furthermore, MSZP would be responsible for the terror following the 1956 revolution and for the fact that about 200,000 people had to leave the country after the failed uprising. This document would in plain language make the Hungarian Socialist Party a “criminal organization” whose leaders even today would be responsible for “the upkeep and management of a tyrannical regime.” In addition, they are guilty of legal infractions and of treason.

In order to investigate the criminal activities of the party and its leaders the government will establish an organization called the National Remembrance Committee whose job would be the disclosure of the workings of the dictatorship and the role of those in power. The Committee would make its findings public. The people whom the Committee investigates will be stripped of their right to privacy.

Péter Niedermüller, one of the vice-presidents of Democratic Coalition, immediately announced the new party’s solidarity with MSZP and delivered a lecture on the impossible nature of the proposition. He rightly pointed out that Fidesz is trying to expropriate the 1956 Revolution as the revolution of the Right and deprive the Hungarian socialists of any role in that struggle when everybody knows that it was “the reform communists” who provided the intellectual underpinning of the revolution. LMP didn’t go as far as DK did. András Schiffer, the leader of the LMP parliamentary delegation, claimed that this sudden interest in the past sins of the socialists was no more than an attempt on the part of the government to divert attention from the disastrous economic policies of the last year and a half that resulted in the government’s return to the IMF for financial assistance.

The news of the impending bill broke on Friday but it was only late Sunday night that János Lázár, leader of the Fidesz delegation, and Péter Harrach, his counterpart in the Christian Democratic caucus, jointly turned in this incredible legislative proposal.

 

And his Christian Democratic co-sponsor:

 

168 Óracalled it the “Sunday night horror bill.” In the article dealing with the subject the editors published a short list of those Fidesz leaders or supporters who also participated in the “criminal organization” that conducted the affairs of the country between 1948 and 1990. For example, Viktor Orbán began his career as KISZ secretary of his high school. Pál Schmitt was the vice-chairman of the National Office of Physical Exercise and Sports between 1983 and 1986. His rank was the equivalent of an undersecretary. After finishing law school László Kövér worked for a while for the Institute of Sociology attached to the Central Committee of MSZMP. In November 1988 he became vice-chairman of MISZOT (Magyarországi Ifjúsági Szervezetek Országos Tanácsa). The other vice-chairman was Ferenc Gyurcsány. There was no chairman. Imre Kerényi, who is responsible for the horrible fifteen paintings depicting the important events of the twentieth century, was a member of the party and the organizer of mass demonstrations to celebrate the October Revolution and the Liberation of Hungary. György Matolcsy for years worked for the Finance Ministry. János Martonyi was also an MSZMP member and between 1979 and 1984 he was commercial attaché in Brussels. In 1985 he became department head in the Finance Ministry.

The leadership of MSZP is trying to minimize the danger of this proposed bill to their own party as well as to Hungarian democracy. Gergely Bárándy, MP handling legal matters within the MSZP delegation, “dares not think” that the bill was put forth with the idea of disqualifying MSZP as a political party. They assume, or perhaps only feign it, that the framers of the bill just didn’t think through their proposal. Surely, MSZP leaders announced, Fidesz couldn’t possibly be thinking in terms of stripping MSZP of its right to participate in Hungarian politics.

I hate to bring them bad news, but I truly think that the framers of the bill know exactly what they are doing. They have two goals in mind. One is to bring criminal charges against not just individual leaders of MSZP who were active in MSZMP but also against the party as an organization. Once the courts find the party guilty of the charges laid out in the bill, it will be forced to dismantle. According to people who are familiar with the current legal system, the courts, once the bill is adopted, will have no choice. They will have to call MSZP a criminal organization that would thus be ineligible to participate in the political process.

Just to illustrate how carefully this whole scheme has been worked out, it is worth taking a look at the proposed electoral bill in which it is spelled out that the courts will disqualify parties under criminal investigation or already found guilty of criminal acts. According to Zoltán Tóth, an expert on elections and election laws, this tactic was “discovered a long time ago in Arab countries. The charge is made and the courts finish the job.” To the suggestion that the party so disqualified could change its name Tóth’s answer was that according to the bill the continuous presence of certain leaders will make such a name change useless.

Yes, Fidesz is planning to eliminate the strongest opposition party which won three free elections in the last twenty years. But the bill has another purpose. Politically rewriting the history of the period between 1945 and 1990. Research of the period will no longer be the job of historians; the same National Remembrance Committee that is looking for villains will take over their work. As János Lázár said yesterday, they will close the history of the twentieth century. So, there will be an official history of the period entrusted to non-historians, political appointees who follow the wishes of a governing party.

I can hardly find words to describe my outrage. Could the European Union close its eyes and allow this to happen? Watching the European Union’s handling of the current Eurozone crisis, I am forced to conclude that even that is possible.

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Paul
Guest

I fail to understand why anyone is surprised by this, it’s a logical extension of what OV has been doing since (at least) the election.
This man is set to be a dictator, that much has been obvious since day 1.
But perhaps this might be good news in a way, as it might just wake up the liberals and lefties at last to the reality that OV has to be removed before he becomes unremovable.
But I’m afraid I’m not holding my breath.

Member

Orban’s next step will be put the USA on trial for not intervening in 1956. Jimmy Carter will be the first one for supporting the Hungarian Communists with the return of the Hungarian Crown in 1978 to communists hands.
Next will be Russia. Poor ex-soviet party members are shaking in their boots as I am typing this for sure.
You go Orban. Show those imperialists, I mean communists, I mean ex-communists, bankers or whoever you do not like what a great man you are, and no-one, I mean no-one can escape.

Joseph Simon
Guest

Apparently the statue of JA is not as endangered as reported. Ady and JA would be the first to protest if their names, statues, would be used for political ends, to validate a regime, etc. as it has been done before. Also, there will always be an effective democratic opposition party in Hungary with or without the MSzP. Eva likes to cry wolf too often.

Member

Joseph, but I understood from your posts that you do not want the statues of poets in front of the parliement or public buildings that has nothing to do with “poetry settings” .
Also, please do not undermine our intelligence by saying that the statue was never in any danger. We read the press too. Do you think all those people went to protest because they misunderstood what Fidesz was saying? Do you think all the articles were written because the journalists had nothing better to do? Do you think this is also part of the conspiracy from some anti-Hungarian forces? It is more likely that Fidesz backed off after realizing that most people are no so dumb as they want them to be, and they will stand up for what is right versus those who stand up for whatever Orban comes up as the flavour of the day in the morning.
It is the same game as the Fidesz played with the bad wolf IMF, but now they never said what they said… The same game of “do not listen what I say” that is Orban trademark.

Sandor
Guest

Well, the day this new law is enacted, the socialists will have no choice but to lay the same criminal charge against the Fidesz. Finding grounds for it should not be difficult. This however reminds me of the judge who would, or would not, take the case of the song of the nightingale.

Member

@Jozsi I’m sorry, but you’ve lost me there. Who do you think is playing political games (used for political ends) with the statue of Attila Jozsef? Those uneducated bumpkins, who think the Kerenyi paintings are actually art and want to remove the statue because our greatest poet had left wing views? Or those who are protesting it?

Gabriella
Guest

Eva: ” In Hungarian the document is described as “az új alaptörvény átmeneti rendelkezéseiről szóló jogszabály.” Try to figure out what they have in mind”
Temporary decrees, because once the MSZP is eliminated, there is no need and use for them ever. Long live Fidesz!

Gabriella
Guest

Schiffer’s opinion is the optimistic scenario, but I agree with Eva, they know what they are doing, and their aim is to dismantle MSzP. That would be a sweet deal, no opposition for the 20 years of Orban dictatorship.
Hungary probably will need that much time to build a well functioning left.
It was disturbing to see Gyurcsany in Nyiregyhaza, trying to drum up supperters, while the camera scanned around and around showing only white hair and wrinkles with no young people in sight.
Sad and disturbing..

Gabriella
Guest

Eva: But the bill has another purpose. Politically rewriting the history of the period between 1945 and 1990. Research of the period will no longer be the job of historians; the same National Remembrance Committee that is looking for villains…
I think it is not only 1945-90 that they will rewrite.
I cannot remember where I read this sentence yesterday – newspaper, some blog perhaps:
Only the future is for sure, the past is changing.

peter litvanyi
Guest

Dear Eva,
Milady I am at your service. What do we do now?
Sincerely:
Peter Litvanyi

peter litvanyi
Guest

Dear “Gabriella”,
the future is not set in stone. Far from it. The past is unfortunately the past and shall/ should remain so: trust our collective memory.
Sincerely:
Peter Litvanyi

Odin's lost eye
Guest
So that is the way the Viktator is going to secure his everlasting succession. It is neat, but eventually it will blow up in his face when it comes to the ECHR He will also use the act to issue European arrest warrants for members of the British Labour party? As to the West helping Hungary in 1956 it shows just how bad and how little the Hungarian knows about Geography and History. One of the reasons why the Warsaw Pact came into being was that the Russians knew all about the forthcoming Treaty of Vienna. Under the terms of the Armistice in 1945 and the treaties of Paris 1947 was that Russia could keep troops in Hungary to secure their supply routes and support their troops occupying Austria. When their troops left Austria they would also have had to leave Hungary. To the Russian’s way of thinking Hungary was like an arrow pointing straight at the heart of the Ukraine. The mass of folk in the Ukraine loathed the Russians –remember the Famine in Ukraine and the ‘post liberation’ mass executions etc. There is some evidence that the old SovU wanted to repopulate the Ukraine with Central Asiatic. One… Read more »
Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Peter, I already wrote to the Helsinki Commission and called their attention to what’s going on.

Tom
Guest

Dear Eva,
Well as you know the Helsinki Commitee is not always very lucid… they were amongst those talking about “undiscriminate attack against an innocent crowd” in 2006, as you said in a previous post concerning the “zany” Timea Szabo… 😉

Minusio
Guest

@ Joseph Simon: You seem to have a kinky way of wandering off-topic.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Tom, Let’s hope the Washington based Helsinki Commission’s staff has more sense than the zany Time Szabo.

Tom
Guest

Sorry, I thought you were referring to the Magyar Helsinki Bizottsag! (who by the way is talking louder against FIDESZ now…)

Minusio
Guest

Eva: I think I hinted as early as July 2010 at the criminalisation of opposition candidates as one of the possibilities for Orbán not to lose the next elections – if ever there are any.

Johnny Boy
Guest

“”dares not think” that the bill was put forth with the idea of disqualifying MSZP as a political party”
This disqualification should have been done 21 years ago, as all other and more successful ex-communist countries (Poland, Czech Republic, Sovenia etc.) did.

Johnny Boy
Guest

“According to people who are familiar with the current legal system, the courts, once the bill is adopted, will have no choice.”
This is, sadly, absolutely untrue, by the way, nobody ever said that, I don’t know where you are taking it from, probably it’s in the same league as Ildikó Csuhaj’s usual stuff in Szabad Nép, under the motto “I didn’t suck it out of my fingers”.

Johnny Boy
Guest

Yet you’d have no objections at all if, let’s say, Jobbik were charged and dismantled by the court. Shows how ‘democratic’ you really are.

Ron
Guest
Paul: But perhaps this might be good news in a way, as it might just wake up the liberals and lefties at last to the reality that OV has to be removed before he becomes unremovable. Currently, i do not think OV will be removed by opposition. The opposition is so fragmented I do not see how they can co-operated with each other. My idea would be during the next election that the opposition only joint together for only the mandate to change the constitution and further to change the election law and to get rid off Polt and the new super judge. Then dissolve and new elections under the “new” law. Further, I am very worried about this super judge (considering the verdict re. Magyar Garda), new election law and the fact that journalist have to give their confidential sources. I am surprised how quickly the EU condemned this bank tax and the FX loans exchange. I am wondering when we can expect the human rights/constitution attack. On another note a plan of Lazar. Currently, handicapped children need to go to school at the age of six, and need minimum 20 hours of lessons. He is planning to not… Read more »
Johnny Boy
Guest

“Research of the period will no longer be the job of historians”
Interesting: you don’t have any objections against the Bajnai government’s law on how Holocaust denial is a crime.
How come that in this case, a “law on history” does not disturb you?

Joseph Simon
Guest

The MSZP is a successor party to Kádár’s MSZMP. Horn Gyula declared repeatedly ‘hogy ő vállalja a múltat, Rákosit, az ’56-os megtorlást.’ Read his autobiography. I never heard that Orbán ‘vállalja Horthyt vagy Szállasit’.

Joseph Simon
Guest

When Horn, as Prime Minister of Hungary, declared that he stood by Rákosi, Kádár, and the repression of ’56, that was when you should have written to the Helsinki Commission. Eva’s moral indignations are very selective, to say the least.

Odin's lost eye
Guest

This bill is one I was expecting. It is the old Communist/Socialist infighting technique. When these people get into power they then they have an internal power struggle to see which faction comes out as ‘Top Dog’. Once one faction becomes ‘Top Dog’ it start a witch hunt with a lot of ‘bloodletting’.
This is just what the Moscow faction (Rakosi, Gero, Nagy and Co) did to the Local Hungarian faction (Rajk, Kadar amongst others.)
In 1956 The ‘Home grown’ communist came to power their leader Kadar insisted that the remainder of Moscow faction (i.e.Nagy et al) had to ‘go. So Nagy was ‘topped’ (just as Raik was).
In each of these internecine wars a lot of minor players in the other faction and innocent by-standers were also ‘mopped up.
The Viktator and his mob are doing the same to their old ex-comrades. Who knows who else, probably people who are not liked by the Viktator and his crew and those people whose ‘disappearance’ would be profitable (financially)

Member
Johnny Boy: “This disqualification should have been done 21 years ago, as all other and more successful ex-communist countries (Poland, Czech Republic, Sovenia etc.) did.” But then who would lead the Fidesz now? WHo would be the speaker of the house? WHo would be the Prime Minister, and the President of the country? Any answer? Johnny Boy: “Yet you’d have no objections at all if, let’s say, Jobbik were charged and dismantled by the court. Shows how ‘democratic’ you really are.” Would, SHould, Could have no place here. You are speculating. By the way dismantling Jobbik on the grounds of them being previous communist would be wrong. Dismantling them for purposely spreading hatred would be the right thing to do. Wait, then they would have to dismantle Fidesz. Johnny Boy: “When Horn, as Prime Minister of Hungary, declared that he stood by Rákosi, Kádár, and the repression of ’56, that was when you should have written to the Helsinki Commission” What this has to do with what is happening at the present? How do you know what Eva did or did not do at the time? I also find it interesting that after Fidesz is working so hard for a… Read more »
Paul
Guest

“This disqualification should have been done 21 years ago”
Absolutely right. No one who was involved in the old Communist regime should have been allowed to stand.
So no Orbán and half his cabinet.
Excellent.

Paul
Guest

And if you really don’t understand why Holocaust denial should be a crime and the difference between MSzP and LMP and Nazi parties like Jobbik, then there is little point in us trying to explain it to you.
There is also little point in you trying to pretend to be part of civilised society.
Go join your Jobbik pals.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Here one can read the whole proposed bill:
http://www.parlament.hu/irom39/05005/05005.pdf

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