LMP’s András Schiffer won, but did he?

The first written report on the final decision of the LMP delegates came out at 1:43 in the morning. It was HVG that managed to scoop everyone else. The congress decided to reject negotiations with Bajnai’s group, Together 2014. The paper also reported that Benedek Jávor, the leader of the LMP parliamentary delegation, resigned his post in protest on the spot.

The reaction on the right was immediate. Dávid Lakner, who writes frequently on a blog called “teadélután” (tea time, and I wonder whether the name has anything to do with the tea party), was thrilled to hear the news. He hoped that András Schiffer would again be the leader of the LMP caucus because “he is the most acceptable politician in LMP among the right-wing voters.” Lakner also expressed his hope that the whole LMP delegation would stand by Schiffer. Lakner’s hopes don’t seem to have materialized because two of the deputy whips, Gergely Karácsony and Tímea Szabó, also resigned. In addition, Gábor Scheiring, the party’s economic expert, openly condemned the decision, calling it “a sin.” The positions are far apart. Scheiring, for example, until now considered LMP a left-of-center party which with this action took a turn to the right and thus gave up the idea of defeating Fidesz at the polls in 2014. Another LMP member of parliament, Dávid Dorosz, considered the decision “injurious to the country and injurious to the party.”

As it turned out, the vote was extremely close: 84 voted to reject any ties to Together 2014 and 77 voted to begin negotiations with the Bajnai group. Therefore, one can safely say that the party at present is utterly and completely divided. One blogger, Varanus, is already burying LMP. The title of his article is “Ciao, LMP!” János Dési in Népszava described the event as “LMP’s road to hell.”

Road to hell. The Fløibanen funicular in Bergen, Norway / Flickr

The so-called political scientists also came forth with the usual range of mostly wacky interpretations. According to Zoltán Somogyi, “MSZP is the winner in this game.” He argues that the strategy of  Together 2014 was to start negotiations with the smaller organizations, Milla and Solidarity, and then move on to an already existing smallish party that is represented in parliament. After successful negotiations with LMP, Bajnai’s group could continue on to the “strongest, MSZP.” Now Together 2014 has been stopped in its march toward successful completion of a series of negotiations, and this will strengthen the position of those members of the MSZP leadership who think that their party should defeat Fidesz singlehandedly.

Gábor Filippov of the Magyar Progresszív Intézet let his imagination fly. He already sees the possibility of LMP moving into the place the weakening MSZP will leave open. According to him, LMP could repeat the performance of Fidesz after the collapse of MDF. Clairvoyance, that’s all I can say. However, in good “political scientist” fashion he immediately retreats from this bold position and admits that “it is not at all sure that such a vacuum will materialize.” Moreover, it is also questionable whether LMP will survive at all. But then he immediately adds that “it might be too early to bury LMP.”  There might be some miracle that would boost support for the party, he continues. I leave it to the readers to figure out what Filippov’s actual position is.

According to Ákos Gergely Balogh, a young conservative who is the editor-in-chief of Mandiner, which occasionally publishes articles written from a liberal point of view, LMP by its decision “chose a more difficult and braver road.”  Balogh compares LMP’s current situation to that of Fidesz in 1992-1993. At that time Fidesz was leading in the polls (40.5%) but Gábor Fodor and his followers left the party and eventually joined SZDSZ. In the short run this had terrible consequences for Fidesz. In the 1994 elections the party received only 7% of the votes. Yet, continues Balogh, in the long run Orbán’s decision proved to be correct. Four years later Fidesz won the elections. (Balogh neglects to add that the victory was achieved only with the help of József Torgyán, the party chief of the Smallholders.) The author of the article suggests that Schiffer take “a turn to the right.”

In a conservative blog called “Sword: Alternative Conservative Reform and Democracy,” Gábor Tímár predicts that Péter Róna “will be a key figure of the party in the future.” He suggests that Schiffer and Róna turn to the “prominent representatives of conservatism,”  but I wish he would have mentioned a few names because it doesn’t matter how hard I keep looking, I don’t see any such moderate conservatives who would be ready to work with a party that positions itself in the middle, somewhere between Fidesz and the democratic opposition. Tímár even suggests a change in the party’s name. With a moderate conservative leadership this new party would be a serious challenge to Fidesz, he claims.

Although I consider Tímár’s predictions utterly unrealistic, I think he is right in one thing: Péter Róna will be a key figure in Schiffer’s party. Today, for example, he accompanied András Schiffer for an interview with Antónia Mészáros on “Szabad szemmel”  (With open eyes) where he called Gordon Bajnai a crypto-fascist while his comrade-in-arms smiled broadly and approvingly. And to make sure that no one would think that he himself was turning to the (capitalist) right, Schiffer announced that he and his party will continue their fight against the financial plutocrats (nagytőke).

Finally, let me add my own thought on the subject. Yesterday I finished my post with this sentence: “I do hope that the party leadership will decide to join Together 2014, if for no other reason than self-preservation.” The emphasis was on “self-preservation.”  However, it seems that LMP decided to commit harakiri instead. As things stand now, I don’t see how the LMP parliamentary delegation will remain intact. There is every reason to believe that those heavyweights in the party who opposed the majority view last night will eventually leave the caucus. That means sitting with the independents. And those seats are right next to the members of Demokratikus Koalíció. Now that would be a funny turn of events.

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Guest

London Calling!

So no surprises there then Eva.

(Noises off as LMP disappear into the political ether of yesterday’s no hopers).

Realpolitik struck earlier that I predicted!

Regards

Charlie

spectator
Guest

Seems like LMP going to be left behind by reality, already within a couple of days. While it’s a ‘nice’ feature to hold principles high, when your hair in fire you may try to extinguish with a glass of wine even if you’re happens to be abstinent… Or else.

The LMP won’t be a fig-leaf, as we learned, but being familiar with the biblical reference I still keep guessing, what actually is supposed to be under that leaf?
Just who’s ‘leaf’ should they have been, anyway?
Now, that there is no fig-leaf in sight, that certain part stand all exposed, or some other leaf is on duty in these cold times?

So many important questions…
Any guesses?

petofi
Guest

spectator :
Seems like LMP going to be left behind by reality, already within a couple of days. While it’s a ‘nice’ feature to hold principles high, when your hair in fire you may try to extinguish with a glass of wine even if you’re happens to be abstinent… Or else.
The LMP won’t be a fig-leaf, as we learned, but being familiar with the biblical reference I still keep guessing, what actually is supposed to be under that leaf?
Just who’s ‘leaf’ should they have been, anyway?
Now, that there is no fig-leaf in sight, that certain part stand all exposed, or some other leaf is on duty in these cold times?
So many important questions…
Any guesses?

Principles? What principles, pray tell?
Their is one and only one principle and strategy and aim, or call it what you will: that is, the defeat of Fidesz and Orban. By weakening Bajnai, they’ve helped Orban.
That is as uncomplicated as it is true…and beyond shameless.

Jano
Guest

I’m very sad and pessimistic after LMP’s decision but in general, I disagree with

“Their is one and only one principle and strategy and aim, or call it what you will: that is, the defeat of Fidesz and Orban.”

Would you ally yourself with e.g. Jobbik to achieve this?

I guess the answer is no. While I deeply disagree here with the Schiffer side of LMP, their boundaries are just tighter. I don’t think it leads anywhere, but there is principle in the decision.

Jano
Guest

I’m very pessimistic now. LMP’s participation would have been a guarantee that E14 doesn’t turn into an MSZP-DK umbrella organization, but now the pressure will be enormous to let MSZP run the show. Sad.

I don’t think that Fidesz is defeatable. The “best” remotely likely outcome is that Fidesz won’t be able to win the majority of the seats and we end up with a hung parliament. Now you probably say that in that case there’s going to be a Jobbik-Fidesz coalition and you might be right. But what other option would be left then other than absolute political chaos? What would most of the people e.g. here say if Együtt 2014 cooperated with Jobbik?

LwiiH
Guest

I’m not sure why any party is willing to concede the next election to Fidesz. There isn’t a soul that I talk to that doesn’t get that the current government’s policies aren’t good for the country and that they aren’t being lied to. Any reasonable alternative that steps up to the plate should have a reasonable chance. I understand why certain people don’t want to yield their position of power but isn’t that power just an illusion and especially if the strategy is to give up and hope for the best next time? What kind of political campaign is that? I’d say if you can’t put up a potential winner… time to step aside….

Next, can Bajnai be the saviour everyone is looking for him to be? I’d be cautious given the track record of the previous “saviours”.

Tyrker
Guest
LMP did the right thing (pun not intended). Given that the party had come into existence as an opponent of the Gyurcsány cabinet, it would have gone against their integrity to join a movement helmed by one of the former ministers of said government. Sure, joining Together 2014 would have been the easier way for some of its leaders to secure their place in parliament after 2014 but hats off to them for sticking with their principles instead. Yes, they appear to have lost more than half their voter base but this has nothing to do with yesterday’s decision. If the Medián poll is anything to go by, they had already lost those fans/voters who find Bajnai and his cronies acceptable/desirable by the end of October. Yesterday’s decision has, on the other hand, made the party a LOT more attractive to those right-of-centre voters who are increasingly disillusioned with the current government but would never vote for the Bajnai crowd. Until now these people have been rather suspicious of LMP, thinking it might be some sort of “SZDSZ 2.0” but many of them are pretty impressed now that the party has had the guts to say no to the Old… Read more »
spectator
Guest
Principles? What principles, pray tell? Their is one and only one principle and strategy and aim, or call it what you will: that is, the defeat of Fidesz and Orban. By weakening Bajnai, they’ve helped Orban. That is as uncomplicated as it is true…and beyond shameless. Hmmm…. The intended sarcasm went by with no effect, obviously my fault. Since the action of LMP defy political realism and common sense, I started from the assumption, that there could be some other reason, – like ideology – involved. Plain stupidity didn’t occurred, to be honest…. Once again, my fault. The good boys seemingly living in la-la-land, dreaming of that the people who voted them into the parliament did that for a simple reason, that their fresh and green policies were so irresistibly good, so there is no reason for a change… If you are awaken, you certainly realized so far, that LMP got the chance simply, because they were neither Fidesz, nor MSZP, not to mention the rest, the support had precious little to do with what they vowed to represent, I dare to say that the majority of their votes went against the others, and not for the LMP. If one… Read more »
spectator
Guest

Sorry, I missed the quotation marks – the first paragraph from “petofi”!

Guest

London Calling!

It’s such a pity that some of us are excluded from Galamus, Eva!

It looks such an interesting, serious, analytical site.

Can’t you persuade them to translate some of their stuff into English? – it would be good practice for them!

Regards

Charlie

(Living-on-an-island-isolated Englishman!)

Guest

London Calling!

Tryker

Integrity is a separate issue – and has nothing to do with it.

Complete unity is an absolute necessity. Pragmatism is all.

If you go down the black hole of ignominious irrelevance crying “Integrity! Integrity!” – what’s the use of that?

Reminds me of the epitaph:

‘Here lies the body of Edmund Grey
Who died maintaining his right of way.
He was right – dead right – as he sped along….
But he’s just as dead as if he was wrong’

Bye Bye LMP

(Politics can be different – but only if you participate!)

Regards

Charlie

Herbert
Guest

Schiffer is a primadonna, everyone knows that around him. He is simply not cool. But he is also the most agressive (though I don’t mean this negatively) person in the LMP. Which is natural given that he was one of the founders and he has the strongest opinions and visions, he has the most invested in the party. Also he is a lawyer which comes in handy to realize the machinations of Fidesz.

Unfortunately his personality (“hisztis”) and his doctrinair old-school leftism (which, as we all know, prevented in Italy the cooperation of leftist parties for decades) and hatred of Bajnai’s capitalism and MSZP’s supposed betrayal of the real left, is a huge asset for Fidesz. The Fidesz people are loughing hard right now (although they cannot see the future either and we all know the law of unintended consequences).

This party electoin was based on ideology, this is all. And what about the campaign machinery? Presentable politicians who one can believe can actually govern?

Readers, it is an exaggeration to declare anything signifciant, this is a fact that has to be dealt with, but nothing more.

Econ
Guest
Schiffer is an anti-capitalist. The problem is that even if one accepts that the current operation of capitalism is unsustainable and unjust, there is nothing being offered in its stead. Mr. Róna thinks that he can control Schiffer and offer a modified, kind of compassionate capitalism. Schiffer is an ideologue (an ideology nerd if this makes sense, but he is certainly no policy wonk) in the sense that he likes to think about big issues, rights, abstract stuff and prefers not to deal with actual, down-to–earth, practical issues. All that said, Schiffer has a point, although one that he cannot really articulate. It is a huge problem: I heard him on stage last year and couldn’t really figure out what he was trying to say (and he is the best speaker in LMP, mind you). Anyway his thinking is that the Fidesz phenomenon (and the support of the majority of its supporters) is really a reaction to capitalism as it played out in Hungary. I don’t believe what Prof. Szelényi (also a leftist, but Fidesz-sympathiser, with a hatred for MSZP, in his eyes the successors of the communist who sent him away) said i.e. that privatisation was bad and instead… Read more »
petofi
Guest

Jano :
I’m very sad and pessimistic after LMP’s decision but in general, I disagree with
“Their is one and only one principle and strategy and aim, or call it what you will: that is, the defeat of Fidesz and Orban.”
Would you ally yourself with e.g. Jobbik to achieve this?
I guess the answer is no. While I deeply disagree here with the Schiffer side of LMP, their boundaries are just tighter. I don’t think it leads anywhere, but there is principle in the decision.

In a reasonable democracy, a party like Jobbik would not exist–it would never reach the required level of members for representation. But, yes, I would ally with almost anyone to defeat Orban. Now, what I would agree to give up on victory is another matter entirely.

petofi
Guest

I’ve just heard on the grapevine that Rona Peter has been made Honorary Member of the Eastern Wing of the Organization of Self-Indulgent Old Farts.

What a sad comment on this society that these prima donnas seem to predominate!

Member
I am flabbergasted by the thought that being anti-capitalist in Hungary would be a good thing. Yes, maybe from aspiring university students it sounds great. Running like Jane Fonda in the sixties against the establishment looks like such a nobel idea. (I only agree with her running against the War.) Well there is nothing cool about this. It is the anti-capitalist attitude that held back Hungary for decades. It is the anti-capitalist flag that lifted the fascist parties into power (Ok I simplified this), and I am just not sure how anyone in today’s world can think that anti-capitalism would have any positive outcome for Hungary. Yes, if you team up with Cuba and China, you can really milk it, and for sure just like in Cuba and China many would became instant millionaires under the disguise of “all for the people”, but that is exactly the game that Orban plays for a while. WHy is the LMP any different then as Orban. THey are not any different. I stated long time ago, that I do not buy into their “clean” platform, and that I do not consider Schiffer any different from Orban. Both of these man has some form… Read more »
Guest

London Calling!

Completely O/T

Now that Orban and Matolcsy have arrived at a now, non-vacillating position regarding the bank tax – (that is, gone back on their promise to halve it in 2013 – and now making it a permanent feature)……

I expect at least one major foreign bank will withdraw from Hungary entirely.

Not just close branches – as is already happening – but a complete dis-engagement.

Whilst other countries are facing ‘fiscal cliffs’ – The forint will have to withstand the shock of foreign banks withdrawal.

Watch this space!

*****************************************************************

Completely OTW (off the wall!)

I have had to suffer the pain of an in-grown toe-nail recently. But EUREKA! – It made me realise that many English people suffer in-grown toenails too – SO WE MUST HAVE AN AFFINITY WITH THE CHINESE PEOPLE!

Red dots on arse = Japanese

In-grown toenails = Chinese

I am currently drafting a letter to my MP suggesting closer links with the Chinese.

And I definitely craved a Peking Duck meal last night.

Strange!

Regards

Charlie

Kirsten
Guest
What I understand from the post and from the comments, a part of LMP, considering itself “right-wing” and “moderately conservative”, will try to attract followers from Fidesz on an anti-capitalist programme. The other part, probably more “left-leaning”, understood perhaps as “green”, “participatory”, may be critical of capitalism either but not to the extent to try to be attractive to the core Fidesz voters. Based on what Eva wrote, my hunch is that this party will at some moment split, or at least those “left-leaning” people will join other movements. Why should they stay in something that might very quickly take a position between Fidesz and Jobbik (if there is still some space left). There is a sufficient number of new movements around currently, and these certainly need new people with some experience in the business. While I do not see any problem in founding a “new” party right of the centre also to offer some platform to people who would like to abandon Fidesz, it is a bit unusual that on that side of the political spectrum there are only parties that speak of the current economy as “capitalism” and that they speak of that system as undesirable. I think… Read more »
Louis Kovach
Guest

Right after the euphoria of the Budapest marches, I wrote that the great cooperation is not going to work. Several acolytes called me the usual names for that remark. It looks like that when their hands reaches the “bili’ they are waking up. The old parties failed, beacase they were led by the old names. Pulling any of those old names out of the dusbin is not going to create new alternatives.

spectator
Guest

Louis Kovach :
Right after the euphoria of the Budapest marches, I wrote that the great cooperation is not going to work.

Would you mind to elaborate a bit more, dear Louis, just what exactly is what – in your opinion – not working? If you trying to imply, that now, as a certain part of LMP decided to count on the the disillusioned ‘orbanists’, while holding their ‘integrity’ banner high, rather than take a progressive step – good luck to them. However, their hand much sooner will meet with your proverbial pot than they- or you, for that matter, think, but just as well.

If your opinion about the old names would stand, then there wouldn’t be anybody in position neither from Fidesz, nor KDMP, just to name a few.

The whole question of unity will take a turn as soon as the average people recognize, that indeed, they should think with their own head – and that’s will be the end of orbanism, for good.

Member

Louis Kovach :
Right after the euphoria of the Budapest marches, I wrote that the great cooperation is not going to work. Several acolytes called me the usual names for that remark. It looks like that when their hands reaches the “bili’ they are waking up. The old parties failed, beacase they were led by the old names. Pulling any of those old names out of the dusbin is not going to create new alternatives.

Can you quote where anyone called you the usual names for the remark you wrote that the great cooperation is not going to work. I doubt that anyone called you names for that simple remark.

Paul
Guest

It’s all a little academic (although still very depressing) because I can’t see LMP geting many, if any, seats in 2014 anyway.

As I understand the electoral, etc changes Fidesz have put through*, it’s going to be nigh on impossible for little parties to put up candidates or get on the party list. I would expect the post-2014 parliament to still be mainly Fidesz (although probably without the two thirds majority), roughly the same percent for Jobbik, and a considerably better showing for MSzP (although far short of enough to do anything), but with Gyurcsan and Schiffer sitting as the sole representatives of their ‘parties’ – but probably not even that.

*Big caveat here, as, although I looked at the original proposals for electoral reform in detail, I haven’t kept up with the many changes and U turns Fidesz have made since. It might now be less difficult for small parties to win seats – or indeed harder.

Herbert
Guest

Please try to understand that the intra-leftist debate, ie. who is really a leftist and who sold out to capitalsts, was always more important on the left then the common goal to unite and try to govern.

That is a fact and Schiffer hates the MSZP who in his eyes sold out and are really right wing capitalist in disguise (this is what Fidesz also says). It is bullshit but they are realy competeing on different fields, MSZP accepts capitalism and is a leftist on that playing field, Fidesz and LMP deny capitalism (for different reasons of course) and on such playing field they are trying to position tehmselves somehow.

Schiffer will never, ever agree with Bajnai. Schiffer is not a pragmatist, his thinking is not strategic.

Louis Kovach
Guest

For Some1 October 25, 2012 at 2:45 pm | #28 Quote
Louis Kovach :
I am still bemused by the drooling over the Oct 23 speeches…it is basically “we will march together…in different directions.”…..Nothing changed since the ga-ga-ga-ga started.

Call yourself a patriot, Louis (or just a schmuck?) Here’s a man–Bajnai–who’s come out swinging with a speech noone expected him capable of and your 10 cent,
truly Balkan, mentality can’t wait to mock it.
You’ve missed your period by 400 years, Louis. You’ve just qualified yourself as a 4 carat, Orban cheerleader.

Louis Kovach
Guest

Dr Balogh: “Disagreement with Louis means, in his eyes, a terrible insult.”

See above, I thought, at times, you also read and not only write……

Louis Kovach
Guest
spectator: “Would you mind to elaborate a bit more, dear Louis, just what exactly is what – in your opinion – not working? If you trying to imply, that now, as a certain part of LMP decided to count on the the disillusioned ‘orbanists’, while holding their ‘integrity’ banner high, rather than take a progressive step – good luck to them. However, their hand much sooner will meet with your proverbial pot than they- or you, for that matter, think, but just as well.” What I am stateing is that ex party and government heads lost the confidence of the population as exhibited by the last election. There are probably , now, many disgruntled ex-supporters of the FIDESZ also. There were various “groups” formed to oppose the FIDESZ, but they are not parties and they do not have a detailed or even a common platform. They are promising that “there will be a party” and there will be a platform…however, at the present time the only ones known are individuals and groups most led and supported by politicians who in the past did not perform adeqately. In my opinion popularity among anti-FIDESZ blog readers and similar folks is not adeqate… Read more »
Member
Louis Kovach : For Some1 October 25, 2012 at 2:45 pm | #28 Quote Louis Kovach : I am still bemused by the drooling over the Oct 23 speeches…it is basically “we will march together…in different directions.”…..Nothing changed since the ga-ga-ga-ga started. Call yourself a patriot, Louis (or just a schmuck?) Here’s a man–Bajnai–who’s come out swinging with a speech noone expected him capable of and your 10 cent, truly Balkan, mentality can’t wait to mock it. You’ve missed your period by 400 years, Louis. You’ve just qualified yourself as a 4 carat, Orban cheerleader. Let me repeat the question Louis: “Can you quote where anyone called you the usual names for the remark you wrote that the great cooperation is not going to work.” Where are you saying in your incomprehensible text that you do not think cooperation is going to work? You mean the “we all march together…in different directions” “ga-ga-ga-ga” That translates to the opposition will not cooperate? I thought that you are simply mocking Bajnai. I also have news for you. Actually there were a very few comments on that thread that predicted that cooperation will not be possible, so you do not have to portray… Read more »
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