A challenge for the Hungarian opposition: Can they cooperate?

Yesterday’s post prompted a lively discussion. My position has been clear for a very long time. Given the new electoral law, no opposition party can single-handedly dislodge Viktor Orbán’s government. There must be a unified opposition with a single list. Just as Tamás Bauer warned on the video I provided, supporters of individual parties will have to vote for people they don’t particularly like because this new unified group/party will be able to put up only one candidate in each of the 106 electoral districts. Some LMP followers will have to vote for an MSZP candidate; some MSZP supporters will have to vote for DK’s candidate. It will be hard, but it must be done.

Collaboration

As the candidate of such a unified opposition party I don’t see a better person than Gordon Bajnai. He proved himself to be a capable crisis manager. He has political experience, which is a must. One cannot pick up some civic group leader and make him prime minister. It would be a disaster. Bajnai doesn’t belong to any party, and it would be a stretch to call him a man of MSZP. Yes, MSZP-SZDSZ supported him, but not because they agreed with all that he was doing. They supported him because they knew that the economic situation was so grave that without the further austerity measures he introduced the whole edifice might collapse. For the parties that, let’s hope, will gather under the umbrella of “Together 2014” it will be easier to accept a non-party man instead of the leader of one of the constituent parties.

As for the sins of the past. In my opinion the major “sin,” if one could call it that, of the governments between 2002 and 2010 was that they refused to use antidemocratic measures against an undemocratic and aggressive opposition. Fidesz in opposition didn’t behave according to the rules of the game in a democracy. Viktor Orbán used every possible illegal means to overthrow the legitimate government–if necessary, with the help of skinhead football hooligans and criminals. For four solid years Fidesz (and Jobbik) falsified the history of the events of October-November 2006. They also falsified the speech of Ferenc Gyurcsány. One can repeat endlessly, as some people do even on this blog, that it was a speech about his own lies. No, it wasn’t. It was about all the empty promises parties had made in the hope of electoral victory. And this was true of all governments from 1990 on, and that included the first Orbán government as well. Gyurcsány was also talking about Medgyessy’s irresponsible promises and about his own two years in office. He tried to explain to the MSZP parliamentary delegation that this must stop because otherwise the country is heading toward financial ruin.

As we know, three MSZP bigwigs–and Gyurcsány most likely knows who they are–sent the speech straight to Fidesz. Orbán had his man at Magyar Rádió who picked out one sentence from the long speech and broadcast it over and over.

A new book by József Debreczeni strongly suggests that Fidesz knew of the planned siege of the television station before it occurred and that the behind-the-scene organizers gave explicit instructions on how far these criminal elements should go. It is also known that several Fidesz MPs were in telephone contact with the far-right elements who were attacking the police on October 23. It has been clear for some time that the Fidesz demonstration was staged at the Astoria Hotel in order to be close to Deák tér and that the criminal elements were instructed “to pull the police” close to the Fidesz demonstration.  The result was predictable. The two groups intermingled and some innocent bystanders ended up among the violent groups who were throwing rocks at the police.

It is also a well known fact that certain key MSZP party leaders refused to support Ferenc Gyurcsány either because they didn’t like the reforms he wanted to introduce or because of his eagerness to make a clean sweep of the corruption within MSZP. It is no coincidence that years later Gyurcsány felt that he had no choice but to abandon MSZP and establish a party of his own. So, to make Gyurcsány responsible for MSZP’s mistaken policies is unfair.

As for the much talked about corruption. One witness after the other in important corruption cases claim that they were intimidated into giving false testimony by the police or by the prosecutors. The prosecutor’s office has been in Viktor Orbán’s pocket for a long time, but until now at least the courts have been more or less independent. No wonder that one of the first decisions of the Orbán government was to fire over 300 judges and replace them with young men and women favored by the regime.

In order to win this election every vote counts. No one can give up 300-400,000 DK voters just because some people think that Ferenc Gyurcsány was responsible for the two-thirds majority. What about Fidesz’s behavior in opposition? What about Orbán’s lies? And what about those “liberals” who refused to vote in 2010 because their favorite party, SZDSZ, was no more? How many votes were lost there? I know people who couldn’t be convinced that not voting means a vote for Fidesz. Some of them are well known political commentators today.

I also remember so-called liberals who actually rooted for Fidesz to get a two-thirds majority because they considered such a landslide victory a sure foundation for an entirely different kind of politics. Well, they got what they asked for, but it seems that by now they themselves realize that they completely misjudged Viktor Orbán and Fidesz.

The Hungarian people must learn that there are no perfect choices at election time. You must choose the party you find the best (or the least noxious). Some people might find in MSZP, some in LMP, and some in DK the party closest to his political views. All three parties and the new civic political groups are committed to democracy, and that is the most important consideration.  We know that Fidesz is not a democratic party. In fact, Viktor Orbán is building an autocrat state along the lines of  Mussolini’s fascist Italy. This must be prevented. I suggest that everybody put aside their selfish personal interests for the sake of salvaging Hungarian democracy. What is left of it.

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Zsolt
Guest

“The Hungarian people must learn that there are no perfect choices at election time. You must choose the party you find the best (or the least noxious). Some people might find in MSZP, some in LMP, and some in DK the party closest to his political views. All three parties and the new civic political groups are committed to democracy, and that is the most important consideration. We know that Fidesz is not a democratic party. In fact, Viktor Orbán is building an autocrat state along the lines of Mussolini’s fascist Italy. This must be prevented.”

Why not mention Jobbik (whose support is bigger than DK or LMP, so you could argue it is more important), and they are also fighting against Fidesz and their laws.

Orbán has very little to do with Mussolini or Fascism, Ceausescu and Ceausescuism is a better comparison.

The only way the left wing could defeat Orbán is by uniting, otherwise it will not happen (unless something big and shocking happens).

Bowen
Guest

@Zsolt: “The only way the left wing could defeat Orbán is by uniting, otherwise it will not happen (unless something big and shocking happens)”

Like burning down the Reichstag, for example, Zsolt?

Zsolt
Guest

Eva S. Balogh :
The “left refuses to cooperate with Jobbik because they don’t consider it a democratic party. And they are right.

It is nonetheless an opponent of Fidesz.
Think about it this way, chances are, ring wing nationalist types who vote Fidesz are not going to vote Együtt 2014.
To destroy Fidesz, you will need Együtt 2014 to target the left leaning Fidesz supporters, and Jobbik to target the right wing people within Fidesz.

Zsolt
Guest

So in fact, Jobbik taking some of the voterbase from Fidesz would greatly help the Left.
Something like 30% of Fidesz supporters have Jobbik sympathies.
It would be interesting if Fidesz, Jobbik and the left wing coalition ended up having similar sized voterbases.

Kirsten
Guest

Eva S. Balogh :
Perhaps the very hard work these people put into telling the people the truth is taking hold.

That is very good news indeed.

Zsolt
Guest

Eva,a lot of Jobbik supporters see Fidesz as Zsidesz.

And what villages ( or towns) did the by elections happen in?

Kirsten
Guest

Zsolt :
Eva,a lot of Jobbik supporters see Fidesz as Zsidesz.
And what villages ( or towns) did the by elections happen in?

And you consider this a sign of their political maturity…?

Member

Zsolt,

again, continuing from the previous post. In it’s present form the JOBBIK will never be acceptable for the Hungarians. Because bringing up the Tiszaeszlar blood libel 6 months ago in the parliament is not just “criticizing the state of Israel”. They will never get more than 15% and you know it. That brings up the question why not to change if you are a real patriot? I believe because ultra-nationalism is a very good business for some. Vona and his friends want to keep their cushy 1 million a month jobs pushing buttons for the next 4 years. That’s why they they do it. They simply need votes – they duped you. So keep voting for them. You won’t help your country a bit.

Just a remainder: the Together 2014 is NOT the “left” uniting. It’s just some lame right wing FIDESZ propaganda from those who use the word left as a curse word.

Zsolt
Guest

Mutt :
Zsolt,
again, continuing from the previous post. In it’s present form the JOBBIK will never be acceptable for the Hungarians. Because bringing up the Tiszaeszlar blood libel 6 months ago in the parliament is not just “criticizing the state of Israel”. They will never get more than 15% and you know it. That brings up the question why not to change if you are a real patriot? I believe because ultra-nationalism is a very good business for some. Vona and his friends want to keep their cushy 1 million a month jobs pushing buttons for the next 4 years. That’s why they they do it. They simply need votes – they duped you. So keep voting for them. You won’t help your country a bit.
Just a remainder: the Together 2014 is NOT the “left” uniting. It’s just some lame right wing FIDESZ propaganda from those who use the word left as a curse word.

You are so right, Jobbik are a bunch of lying con artists, I might consider voting for the honest non corrupt MSZP, Fidesz or DK, thank you for enlightening me!

Zsolt
Guest

Eva S. Balogh :
And this is something to be proud of?

It was to show what Jobbik supporters think of Fidesz.
@Kirsten, please dont be a hypocrite, slandering goes both ways.

Member

Zsolt :

Mutt :
You are so right, Jobbik are a bunch of lying con artists, I might consider voting for the honest non corrupt MSZP, Fidesz or DK, thank you for enlightening me!

You are welcome!

This was easy …

Member

Oh Sweet Jesus, That is exactly we need on this blog, a supporter for Jobbik, who will show us that Jobbik is actually a friend of all living thing, wants to make friends with all HUngarians and on its way to set up the Salvation Army versus the Hungarian Guard and its reincarnation. Zsolt, get a grip. You will not find support on this blog for and even crazier bunch than the one is headed by Orban. Fidesz and Jobbik? With your “zsidesz” comment, how serious are you about democracy and Hungary in general? It is a joke what you are saying Zsolt, you either need to grow up or start reading real news, not the Jobbik propaganda.

Kirsten
Guest

Zsolt, I am still thinking what to think about your arguments. I admit that you are employing something that can be broadly considered “arguments”, even if I have not yet fully understood why you put yourself into the services of Jobbik. That they are not really in the centre of the political spectrum can also be inferred from the parties that they form an alliance with in the EP.
But as I am not Hungarian, I am not really familiar with what is already considered “hypocrisy” and why.

Zsolt
Guest

My biggest issue with the Fidesz goverment is that its not Jobbik and their allies (HVIM, etc) who are in power.

Mutt, I hope my sarcasm got across, I will keep voting Jobbik and not the Goose Thief.

Kirsten, I guess its all relative. Compared to SZDSZ, Jobbik is far right, compared to Hitler they are conservatives.

However, the lies spread about Jobbik are really sad.
They want to help Hungary and the Gypsies, and take on a fresh approach of coexistence between them and us.

Zsolt
Guest

Some1 :
Oh Sweet Jesus, That is exactly we need on this blog, a supporter for Jobbik, who will show us that Jobbik is actually a friend of all living thing, wants to make friends with all HUngarians and on its way to set up the Salvation Army versus the Hungarian Guard and its reincarnation. Zsolt, get a grip. You will not find support on this blog for and even crazier bunch than the one is headed by Orban. Fidesz and Jobbik? With your “zsidesz” comment, how serious are you about democracy and Hungary in general? It is a joke what you are saying Zsolt, you either need to grow up or start reading real news, not the Jobbik propaganda.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4VvIA92qtY&feature=player_embedded

In the clip, you see “neo nazis” (as you put it) helping homeless, including Gypsies, giving them food and clothes.

Guest
London Calling! Zsolt One of ‘Jobbiks’ main constituencies are young students – possibly still at university – or still ‘in touch’ with their university experiences. To us ‘Wessies’ it is a matter of great curiosity – that, in the main, students in Hungary are much more right wing than those in western societies. We don’t get it. Students the world over – except in Hungary – start off ‘red’ and retire ‘blue’ – in the English version of those colours. That is, students are lefty idealistic liberals (reds) and as they get to become ‘old gits’ – end up conservatives – or right-wing colonel blimps (blue). (Care required here when talking to Americans because the colours mean the exact opposite.) Except in Hungary. A curious phenomenon. Now I would guess that you are youngish student type – on the right-wing of the spectrum. As I said – the archetypical Jobbik demographic. I do hope you read Eva’s link about your so-called heroes. And I won’t touch on the truly awful link with Iran that Jobbik is cultivating. You are definitely a mystery – and if you are Hungarian – your English is very very good. And I would have to… Read more »
Zsolt
Guest

I want to ask you all a question, have any of you ever went outside, and help the Homeless, the Hungarians and Gypsies who live in poverty, just like those “evil neo-nazi extremists” did? (And this was not the first or last time)

If the answer is no, who are you to judge the Magyar Gárda, who actually go outside and help people, including the Roma you claim they despise.
Gypsies in Tura have requested Jobbiks help, and even voted for them in Tiszavasvári.

This is the other side of the coin you ignore, while the one you do not ignore are the lies, hysteria and exxagerations about Jobbik.

I am not racist, and I feel closer to Jobbik voting Gypsies than DK voting Hungarians.

Kirsten
Guest

There is nothing reprehensible in charity, but not everybody shares the objective of running a whole country as a charity under the guidance of people with a very rigid idea of a society and what is allowed and what is not allowed. Or who will be helped and who will have to work on compulsory labour. Social policies in a free society can also target those that are most in need of it. And by the way, I think we understood your point. Perhaps you need not hijack Eva’s blog further for Jobbik’s campaigning.

Zsolt
Guest

Charlie what is the problem with Iran? Are you a racist who hates Muslims or Persians?

Member

Zsolt :
I want to ask you all a question, have any of you ever went outside, and help the Homeless, the Hungarians and Gypsies who live in poverty, just like those “evil neo-nazi extremists” did? (And this was not the first or last time)

Yes.

Look, this is very nice. But again until they drop the racism and anti-semitism no chance for dialog. Their choice.

Zsolt
Guest

Mutt :

Zsolt :
I want to ask you all a question, have any of you ever went outside, and help the Homeless, the Hungarians and Gypsies who live in poverty, just like those “evil neo-nazi extremists” did? (And this was not the first or last time)

Yes.
Look, this is very nice. But again until they drop the racism and anti-semitism no chance for dialog. Their choice.

And I ask you, what racism or antisemitism?
Sure, they attract some far right people, but they cant exactly say ” Stop voting for us and go away!”

Guest

London Calling!

btw Yes too.

For many many years.

Some of us have an affinity with the dispossessed that you will never understand the depth.
And that is why many of us in here know that there is something seriously wrong and festering in Hungarian society.

And we speak as friends of Hungary.

Don’t question our bona fides – question your own

Member

The plight of Klubradio detailed:

http://nol.hu/belfold/20121124-tenger_a_cseppben

Zsolt
Guest

CharlieH :
London Calling!
btw Yes too.
For many many years.
Some of us have an affinity with the dispossessed that you will never understand the depth.
And that is why many of us in here know that there is something seriously wrong and festering in Hungarian society.
And we speak as friends of Hungary.
Don’t question our bona fides – question your own

Arent there any problems in Britain you could worry about instead of Hungary, a country you have no business in?
Iran is a friend of Hungary, Poland is a friend of Hungary, but not you.

Member

New guests on the next peace march: http://bit.ly/TbXb91

Member

I would like to ask Mr Gati & Mr Palmer to push for the resumption of the Hungarian service of Radio Free Europe – the situation requires urgent steps.