Democratikus Koalíció’s party program

Népszabadság got hold of the plans of the Ferenc Gyurcsány-led Demokratikus Koalíció for their party program. The program is not in its final form. First it will be discussed by the party members and “friends” of DK at several regional meetings. On January 26 DK will hold its congress and then the delegates can vote on the final version.

So, let’s see how DK envisages a post-Orbán Hungary. According to the program, Hungary’s situation is grave. The present government created “subjects” (alattvalók) from citizens, and it serves only the interests of the Christian-conservative middle class. DK wants a western type of country and wants to create “a new European world.” “The Demokratikus Koalíció’s program doesn’t promise immediate improvements or that the citizens’ lives will be a great deal better after 2014. We are aware that the heritage of Orbán will require years of pain. It will be necessary to take steps that might affect certain groups in the electorate, certain sectors, and certain areas of the country. We want to talk about these possible developments frankly,” says Ferenc Gyurcsány, whose signature is affixed to the document.

The rule of law and the constitution

DK is of the opinion that Fidesz cannot be part of the restoration of constitutional order because this party was responsible for its destruction. On the other hand, Fidesz, by then in opposition, must take part in the creation of a new constitution. The new constitution must be approved by a referendum.

After the victorious elections DK would immediately suspend the present constitution and all the newly adopted cardinal laws. In addition, the party would like to restore the original competence of the Constitutional Court and would abolish some of the name changes in the judiciary. For example, the Kúria would again be called the Supreme Court. They would rescind the Proclamation of National Cooperation and change the official name of the country from Magyarország (Hungary) back to the Republic of Hungary (Magyar Köztársaság), the name adopted in 1990.

DK would stick with a smaller parliament (199 members) but would make it more proportional. DK would prohibit members of parliament from holding any other job, whether political or professional.

“The prosecutor’s office, despite its structural independence, has been under the influence of party politics in the last decade. Therefore it is necessary to place it under the jurisdiction of the government.” In addition, DK would abolish the position of “supreme prosecutor.” At present the supreme prosecutor is Péter Polt. DK suggests the creation within the prosecutor’s office of a separate unit that would deal exclusively with political corruption and other political crimes.

Church and state

DK wants to strictly enforce the separation of church and state. They would like to renegotiate the agreement with the Vatican signed by Gyula Horn in 1997. DK would like to put an end to church leaders participating in state functions. They are against priests or ministers blessing or consecrating buildings or statues. State subsidies to the churches should be reduced to the minimum because otherwise the state can have an undue influence over the churches. On the other hand, DK would increase the size of offerings by the citizens to 2% from 1% of their income taxes. “Beyond this and the compensation for real estate all financial assistance should be stopped to activities that are connected to the religious functions of the churches.”

Economic policy

DK would put an end to the nationalization frenzy of the Orbán government; it would restore the Budgetary Council and would begin negotiations to join ERM2 (Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM II), which is considered to be the first step toward entering the eurozone.

It would end the practice of extra levies on certain sectors of the economy. It would allow employers and employees to work out the minimum wage instead of the state imposing its will on them.

They want to introduce a stable and reasonable tax system. They would spend more money on research and development. They would increase the length of unemployment benefits which the Orbán government lowered to three months. DK suggests 6-9-months as desirable. The generous tax cuts for people with large incomes and a minimum of three children would be abolished. DK would limit cash transactions over a certain amount; larger bills would be paid only by debit or credit cards.

Education

DK is not in favor of the inclusion of religious studies or ethics as separate subjects in schools. Teaching religion (hittan) should be something the churches themselves undertake. The training of teachers, including kindergarten teachers, should be on the master’s level. They would raise teachers’ salaries and restore the age of compulsory education back to eighteen. (The Orbán government lowered the age of compulsory education to sixteen.) DK believes in local government supervision of the schools. Parochial schools would receive state subsidies only if they are involved in educating the disadvantaged.

DK logoAs for higher education, DK supports the complete switch-over to the Bologna system. They would introduce reasonable tuition fees from the second year on. Tuition-free places would be available for the financially needy.

Healthcare

The system should be based on solidarity and individual responsibility. Health insurance would be compulsory. Every visit should be accompanied by an invoice. They would introduce private initiative in the  healthcare system, including maintaining walk-in clinics. “We must reintroduce the possibility of private concerns running hospitals again.”

Magyarságpolitika

Now here is a word that is almost impossible to translate. It means policy concerning Hungarians living in the neighboring countries. According to DK, “the right connected citizenship to the common historical nation; it created a present active right from a spiritual historical right without setting up obligations for the present.” Therefore, DK would change the law concerning acquiring citizenship but wouldn’t take it away from those who have already received it.

There are separate chapters on the Roma minority and on culture. Unfortunately, Népszabadság didn’t seem to find them important enough to summarize.

37 comments

  1. “Why can’t Hungary import that Finn with all the ‘a’s in his name? Let him run the country for 10 years and all will be fine.”

    Do you mean PM Katainen?
    Or who?

    I don’t think it works like that.
    Let’s not fall into the usual trap of saying it’s the leaders’ fault. The politicians are like that because average Joe tends to be like that. Because Charlie’s autobonto friend is like that.

    View Comment
  2. Some1 :

    Fermat :Toronto is located in a small group of Western petro states, like Norway or Australia. Without the tax income from mining and extractive businesses Canada arguably would’nt be anywhere globally. I can’t name a single global Canadian brand. Canada is huge, so it can provide oil, gas, gold and other raw materials for ever, at least it will be enough for long for a relatively small population.If there ever has been an apples v. oranges comparison then it is Canada vs. anything else (except for Au. or Norway). They are exactly ike Qatar, KOSA, Kuwait or Russia, all money comes from raw materials, but Canda is Western and democratic, so it has a different image. In addition, Canada, like the USA and Australia was founded by immigrants, which is a very different history from the European countries, many of which went through the nation state period in the 19th century.Cool place, but the whole world can’t be like that.

    You really do not know what you are talking about, do you. We are not talking about economical comparison, but here you go for your enlightenment: RBC ($7,93 billion),Bombardier, Blackberry, MAC cosmetics, Westjet, IMAX, Bell, TD ($9,6 billion), Tm Hortons ($3.44 billiion), Lululemon THese are jusy from the top of mu heads as I have to gout. BUt I can go on if you wish.….and our biggest natural resource is not oil or gas… but fresh water!

    Dear Some1, before you get too angry, perhaps you should start reading publications other than the Toronto Sun. But referring only to Wikipedia, which I am sure you have access to, it says the following in the third sentence in the article on Canada’s economy: „Canada is unusual among developed countries in the importance of the primary sector, with the logging and oil industries being two of Canada’s most important.” And “In 2009, agricultural, energy, forestry and mining exports accounted for about 58% of Canada’s total exports.” The net energy export was equivalent to almost 3% of the GDP in 2009; and the exports of extractive businesses allowed the balance of foreign trade (i.e. a lot of imported goods, which were consumed). In addition, the article on oil industry says: “Petroleum production in Canada is a major industry which is important to the economy of North America. Canada is the sixth largest oil producing country in the world.” It is also a well known phenomenon of the Canadian economy that commodity prices have an outsized influence on the rate of the loonie (Canadian dollar), similarly to the Australian dollar. It seems that products which are really a function of the geography of Canada (including agriculture, forestry, oil, metals, and water, though I guess this will be more important on the future) play a very important role in the economy – especially when compared those of Japan, Taiwan, South Korea which have no substantial natural resources of their own, but nevertheless were successful (but one may also mention Germany, France, Austria etc.). In addition, the relatively cheap and the constantly available energy (it’s not like Russia turns off the tap or Libya stops exporting oil), as well as the proximity of a huge market of the US were paramount in establishing the manufacturing and service sectors. What I wanted to say was that given Canada’s special geography it is especially well-endowed with resources which are in constant and in generally increasing demand v. a relatively low population. With these special circumstances, not available to many other countries, the financing of liberal causes is much easier. Sure, money does not in itself mean liberal and democratic institutions (i.e. the resource curse), as we have seen in Russia, Nigeria, the Kingdom, Kuwait etc., but in the Western world it can mean. I am not saying that in Hungary everything would be much happier if we had twice the money to spend (I certainly don’t wish that we had such resources, because we would certainly fall into the cursed category) but it would solve a lot of problems (probably more money for teachers, who would be recruited from a wider pool etc.). For example the current culture war (taking over theatres, schools and the like) may be interpreted as a struggle for economic resources: the people on the right need what they feel is their fair share of the nice salaries and power positions, which are of limited supply given the size of the economy.

    View Comment

Comments are closed.