Over the weekend developments in Hungarian politics

After a rather dull weekend–except for the Romanian municipal elections–Hungarian politics are back in full force. The highlight of the weekend in Hungary was the unveiling of a memorial over the grave of Ferenc Mádl, Fidesz-nominated president of Hungary between 2000 and 2005. As you can see from the photo, Mrs. Orbán and one of the daughters were also in attendance. There was quite a bit of pomp and circumstance, but interestingly enough it was performed before a select audience. I suspect that the reason behind “the closed ceremony” was that few people would have been interested in attending the event, and a sparsely attended ceremony would have been an embarrassment. Ferenc Mádl wasn’t exactly the kind of president that people got terribly excited about.

Nonetheless, this weekend I sensed an attempt on the part of the Hungarian right to make a hero out of him. The perfect president for Hungary. The pride of the Hungarian right.

Unveiling of Ferenc Mádl’s memorial in the National Cemetery

The effort to transform Mádl into something he wasn’t took a bit of effort on the part of the key speaker, Viktor Orbán.  “Mádl was a hero” and “he died for freedom.” How did Mádl achieve that feat when he most likely suffered a heart attack? According to Orbán, he died for freedom because “he lived for it, he lived in it, and lived with it.” We are repeatedly encountering this tendency to create new meanings for words.

Why do they want to make a hero out of Mádl? There could be several reasons. One might be the extraordinary popularity, both on the left and on the right, of the first president of the Third Republic, Árpád Göncz, a former SZDSZ member. He served two terms between 1990 and 2000 and his popularity was normally between 70 and 80 points out of 100. Fidesz cannot boast such a popular president. Göncz’s successor, Mádl, was less popular with his 60-65 points. From there on it was all the way down to Pál Schmitt’s 23 points before his resignation. László Sólyom, president between 2005 and 2010, was Fidesz’s choice out of necessity and his tenure was controversial. It would be hard to make a hero out of him even if Fidesz wanted to do so, especially since he is still alive. So remains Mádl, but it will be difficult to glorify him. Not even Viktor Orbán can achieve that feat easily, especially in the current situation when his own popularity stands at 30 points.

In any case, while Orbán was busy eulogizing Ferenc Mádl the Council of Europe was hatching a plan to place Hungary under monitoring procedures. If on June 15 at the full session of the Council the majority accepts the proposal, Hungary will be the first member state to be subject to such monitoring. Of the many reasons for this possible reaction from the Council of Europe the most important ones are the new constitution itself and some of the key cardinal laws. It seems that half of the European People’s Party in addition to the conservatives are ready to support monitoring. So, it looks as if monitoring is in the offing unless the Hungarian government is ready to change the constitution and some of the cardinal laws in order to conform to the European norms.

One of the sticking points is the change in the law on the judiciary that will be discussed in the Hungarian parliament this week. If you recall, the Venice Commission suggested five important modifications in the law, but as things stand now the Orbán government is ready to change only “half a law.” What is this “half a law”? The Venice Commission demanded a change in the tenure of the chairman of the Országos Bírósági Hivatal. To jiggle readers’ memories, we are talking about Tünder Handó, wife of one of the original founders of Fidesz and currently Fidesz EP member, József Szájer. She was appointed to a nine-year term, and the original law stipulated that she can be reappointed for another nine years. Moreover, if for one reason or other there is no agreement about her replacement, she can continue in her position indefinitely. The Venice Commission objected to her reappointment to another nine years and argued that if no replacement can be agreed upon she shouldn’t remain in her position but her job should be taken over temporarily by a deputy. The “half a law” in this case is that the only change the Hungarian government was ready to make was Tünde Handó’s reappointment. The rest was forgotten. The Venice Commission also has similar objections to the same arrangement in the case of  the person of the chief prosecutor, Péter Polt.

King Matthias’s fountain in Visegrád

And finally, at the end of May there was a summit of the Visegrád 4. The Visegrád Group is an alliance of four Central European states–the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia–for the purposes of cooperation and furthering their European integration. The name of the group is derived, and the place of the meeting selected, from a meeting of the Bohemian, Polish and Hungarian rulers in Visegrád in 1335 who agreed to create new commercial routes to bypass the port of Vienna and obtain easier access to other European markets.

At this summit Viktor Orbán indicated that he in the name of the Visegrád 4 will prepare a plan dealing with the financial arrangements of foreign banks having affiliates in their countries. He suggested among other things stopping the outflow of capital from these foreign banks. Initial reactions are not favorable to Orbán’s suggestions. Reuters’ reporters inquired from the Slovak ministry of finance about their reaction, but they got the answer that “they have never heard of” Orbán’s plans. The Poles don’t seem to be interested either. They already received their credit line from the IMF, which is enough to keep the Polish budget under control. In Prague the answer was that their banking system is so solid that they don’t have to adhere to Orbán’s plan.

Meddling in Romanian affairs backfired. The Council of Europe is contemplating monitoring, and Orbán’s suggestions about foreign banks in the Visegrád countries found no takers. All that while Orbán is trying to make a hero of Ferenc Mádl who “died for freedom.” The whole thing is bizarre.

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Louis Kovach
Guest

Hmmm, on June 15 the Venice Commission meets and not the European Council. The EUC meeting is June 28-29. Isn’t the Venice Commission an “advisory” body? I am not sure if they have the right to subject a member country to “monitoring”.

Ovidiu
Guest
Eva… “All that while Orbán is trying to make a hero of Ferenc Mádl who “died for freedom.” The whole thing is bizarre.” Orban always celebrates himself, whom he chooses at a given moment to celebrate is symbolical. It is about how he sees himself, his place in history, at that particular moment. Had it been all going well and high in Hungary as he wanted he would have not bothered now with Madl. Instead he would have celebrated some big historical figure and he would have dreamed himself, during the ceremony, as being one of the same caliber, as being the present-time representative of that high-class of people. That he has chosen Madl now (a lesser, and closer in time, figure) means that the reality has started to sink in and that Orban is pondering on scaling down the grandiose visions and expectations which he usually entertains about himself. Though he still is, at least in some sense, a hero even in such diminished and prosaic reincarnation. But one should not be harsh with his semantics and csúztatás, he needs some sugarcoating in order to swallow the bitter pills (a whole box of them have accumulated in the recent… Read more »
Petofi1
Guest

Forget monitoring; go straight to making Hungary a Protectorate….

(I know, I know–not possible, but it’s the countries only home at a reasonable next two years.)

nyaripal
Guest

Anyone know exactly what placing Hungary under monitoring procedures means?.

Petofi1
Guest

CORRECTION: ….but it’s the country’s only hope at a reasonable, next two years.

nyaripal
Guest

PS – I am utterly baffled as to why I appear as nyaripal sometimes and Paul at other times – and at yet other times I am nyaripal initially, but am able to change my name to Paul when I post.

Can anyone shed any light on this??

gdfxx
Guest

I used to be GDF but this list forces one to register, when I did that, it only allowed a four character ID. It also changed GDFxx to gdfxx. I am curious, how An stayed An.

An
Guest

Really, I haven’t done anything special… for some reason it doesn’t force me to register, so after the post I just write my email and then the name, just like on typepad.

Kirsten
Guest

For me it is also just as on typepad.

tigerente
Guest

I also wonder what does monitoring procedures exactly mean. Is it binding in some way or does it mean they will just be overseeing everything like hawks?

>Paul
I don’t know, but perhaps there’s a difference if you log in from Gravatar or if you do from WordPress? In any case, in WP I went to Settings (http://wordpress.com/#!/settings/), then to the Public Profile tab and changed the ‘Public Display Name’, then saved.

nyaripal
Guest

I’ve carried out ‘extensive research’ (i.e. a few attempts to Google it) and can find nothing about ‘monitoring procedures’ at all – let alone an explanation of what they are.

tigrente – you could be right, it’s how I’ve logged in. But I’ve never intentionally logged in at all! Sometimes WordPress insists I log in before I can post, but most of the time it doesn’t (presumably it only wants a login when I’ve rebooted my PC?). To be honest I’ve always just logged in, without checking exactly what I was logging in to. I will try your ‘settings link and see if any light dawns.

Turkmenbasi
Guest

Mádl the freedom fighter?! Incredible.

He was completing a law degree in Strasbourg between 1961 and 1963 – it certainly required a firm level of political support to be able to do that! One should remember that in 1961 the Kádár regime was still executing the 1956 freedom fighters.

enufff
Guest

Fairy tale with not “happily ever after” ending already started
as Kia confirms that “no plans nor is considering the establishment of an engine factory in Hungary”

http://www.foxbusiness.com/news/2012/06/12/kia-denies-plans-for-engine-factory-investment-in-hungary/

Guest

London Calling!

It isn’t ‘happy ever after’ with Germany either……

“German companies see Hungary as less attractive as an investment destination than last year, according to a survey of 1,323 German companies in 16 East European countries. Hungary dropped from 10th on the list in 2011 to 13th in 2012. Hungary was fifth in 2006 and 2008.” (June 11 2012)

http://www.xpatloop.com/news/70542

Where are Orban’s 1million jobs going to come from? – He has allegedly created 50,000 mainly workfare jobs.

That’s just 125,000 per year in the Fidesz fairy tale.

Regards

Charlie

enufff
Guest

Just to clarify , I take no pleasure in such news but the sooner the gov. eat the humble pie the better for everyone.

Odin's Lost eye
Guest

What is going on here is really a question of getting ‘Glory’. This ‘glory’ is an essential part of of the image required to bolster the image of little ‘short house’ (Orban Viktor). It was a trick often used by the ‘up and coming’ ‘Mighty ones’. It was used by old ‘Hitler’ before the WWII. The idea is to ‘create or resurrect glory’ then transfer that to yourself. This is why the Horthy cult is so important. Horthy’’s moment of ‘glory’ was the attack Otranto barrage in which he risked some of the most modern Austro-Hungarian ships to remove a few ‘drifters’ which caused some navigational problems for Austro-Hungarian and German ‘U’ boats. Captain Horthy was the leader of the attack on the Novara was wounded and the Novara badly damaged. The Otranto Barrage could only cover less than 50% of the Straights and to a very limited depth.

Guest

OT:

I haven’t read anything new about that attack on the UUAE chess player. Were those attackers really plain clothes police ?

Karl Pfeifer
Guest

Today Orbán visited Vienna and was full of praise for the Austrian achievments. He also said something about learning from Austria.
Of course he does not think for a moment to learn from Austria where we have a coalition government of Socialdemocrats and the people party.

nyaripal
Guest

Louis Kovach :
16-17 June 2012 – Venice (Italy)
Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights
Venice Commission: PACE representatives attend plenary meeting
Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu (Turkey, EDG), former PACE President, and Serhiy Holovaty (Ukraine, ALDE), Chair of PACE’s Sub-Committee on the Rule of Law, will attend the 91st plenary session of the Venice Commission, the Council of Europe’s group of independent legal experts, for an exchange of views on co-operation with the Assembly. Recent or forthcoming Venice Commission opinions on laws in Belgium, Russia and Hungary were requested by the Assembly.”
It is the Venice Commission who meets on June 15!
y

So the 15th come between the 16th and 17th?

nyaripal
Guest

I wanted to reply to Louis’ post, but my only option was to ‘quote’ – which means my post appears at the very end o the thread, not immediately following the post I was ‘replying’ to.

I guess WordPress does this to stop replies stacking right across the screen (although I fail to see what’s wrong with that). If this is so, then perhaps we should go back to the ‘flat’ version of the blog?

There doesn’t seem much point in using a system that allows replies to appear next to the post they’re replying to, if it doesn’t actually do this!

enufff
Guest

I think the flat system is rather time consuming. After having to scroll up and down searching for any new comments. Unless the way I’m tracking is wrong 😀
Using “quote” seems pretty straight forward to me.

Member

nyaripal :
I wanted to reply to Louis’ post, but my only option was to ‘quote’ – which means my post appears at the very end o the thread, not immediately following the post I was ‘replying’ to.
!

THis is why I mentioned before that when the system is not set-up at a simple chronological flat way, people will get confused and tired from it.
At any case, if you wis your post to appear after someone’s post who replied to someone else’s post, you have to find the “root” of the post and click reply to the “root post”.
Then “Leave a Reply” window will open.
Go back to the post you want to really reply to (quote from), and click “quote”.
Now your reply will be on same thread that all replies for that particular “root post”.

Louis Kovach
Guest

“91st plenary session of the Venice Commission (Venice) 15/06/2012 – 16/06/2012

From their website. In some CE meeting lists it is 16th and 17th .

Maybe they are trying to trick the Hungarian attendees…..

Member

Dr Kovach, Can you please take this calendar debate somewhere else? I understand how fascinating it is for you, but we are not quite ready for your intellect. Thanks.

enufff
Guest

I meant flat system is LESS time consuming

Member

enufff :
I meant flat system is LESS time consuming

agree

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