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.

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Guest
Minusio
January 11, 2013 5:35 pm

Although it implies the “reset” I have been suggesting for the time after Orbán is finally sent into the wilderness (i.e. not in 2014) and although it goes into some important details (some also minute), this draft looks strangely antiquated.

The draft has another drawback: It goes into a lot of procedural matters, but doesn’t really explain what a DK-lead Hungary should or would look like. It looks a little like a timetable without the rails (of a railway).

Still it is the first new programme on the table. Bajnai’s speech was only a proclamation of wanting to restore democracy.

That’s only my first impression…

Guest
Whoever
January 11, 2013 5:51 pm

Poor stuff. Abolishing the minimum wage is NOT possible under EU law. There is no suggestion a Us system of healthcare helps anyone. The constitutional aspects are better, but seem bland.

Guest
petofi
January 11, 2013 5:57 pm

Hungary is a unique, political entity–corruption has been established as the norm within governments.
Therefore, addressing this problem should be the number one concern. Unique requirements should be made of government members and bureaucratic heads. A probity clause is a must. Singularly stringent
financial and penal penalties must be agreed to
my senior heads of government prior to taking control
of departments.

The rot is so great that a special court has to be set up as well to decide on the corruption cases.

Unless something of this magnitude is setup, few Hungarians, if any, will believe in a ‘new, incorruptible,
government’.

Guest
Lecso
January 11, 2013 6:32 pm

Petofi, as hard as this might be to believe, travel to Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, even Italy, and you will see a whole different level of corruption.

Guest
Minusio
January 11, 2013 7:29 pm

@ Lecso. What do you mean by that? That there are countries that are worse off as regards corruption? Why not mention countries that are exemplarily uncorrupt such as most Scandinavian countries?

Guest
Minusio
January 11, 2013 6:33 pm

As Hungary is now more polarised than ever before, perhaps – after many years have passed and a new non-Fidesz majority has been found – a “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” should be established to do a similar work as it did in South Africa.

Just a thought.

Guest
January 11, 2013 7:30 pm

London Calling!

A draft manifesto – with still a lot missing. A few aspirational principles won’t hurt either.

Unfortunately DK’s representation is so small – the draft manifesto is really a negotiating document for bartering with their ‘united’ opposition colleagues.

The Roman Cats won’t be too pleased either and will lobby hard against DK – so good luck!

Early days – but a good start.

Regards

Charlie

Guest
Minusio
January 11, 2013 7:35 pm

Eva S. Balogh :

Minusio :
<me important details (some also minute), this draft looks strangely antiquated.
The draft has another drawback: It goes into a lot of procedural matters, but doesn’t really explain what a DK-lead Hungary should or would look like. It looks a little like a timetable without the rails (of a railway).

I don’t think that they think in terms of forming a government alone. I think that is their position at the moment and it has to go though long negotiations with the other parties and groups.

I just meant, as a position paper it is a little unfortunate. It doesn’t show the long breath, the larger horizon, the vision, as it were.

Guest
petofi
January 11, 2013 7:46 pm

Lecso :
Petofi, as hard as this might be to believe, travel to Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, even Italy, and you will see a whole different level of corruption.

For its size, Hungary is unique in its achievements in Science, Culture and Sports. Thus one would expect
it to be politically and morally advanced, or at least, in keeping with the leading states in the world. In that regard, the moral decrepitude of its politicians–both Fidesz and MSZP–is the chief stumbling block in the development of the country.

Guest
petofi
January 11, 2013 7:48 pm

Minusio :
@ Lecso. What do you mean by that? That there are countries that are worse off as regards corruption? Why not mention countries that are exemplarily uncorrupt such as most Scandinavian countries?

Agreed.
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.

Member
Some1
January 11, 2013 9:39 pm

As “slim” this draft looks, I have to say that no to many Hungarian would through a whole manifesto. At this point the straight to the point “declarations” are more sufficient as a starting point and it also leaves less surface to the right-wing to attack it sentence by sentence. As you know most Hungarians get their news via the State owned media, that only provides the government’s point of view. Cleaner the better. Still of course many important points are missing. Still, this is not their official statement, it could be a working draft as far as I am concerned, so it would be a mistake to read to much into this.

Guest
Turkmenbasi
January 12, 2013 1:55 am

Minusio : As Hungary is now more polarised than ever before, perhaps – after many years have passed and a new non-Fidesz majority has been found – a “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” should be established to do a similar work as it did in South Africa. Just a thought. I fully agree. That Commission enabled the South African (SA) society to face the crimes of the apartheid regime, settle old grievences and recapitalise the black community. I case of Hungary it would mean the opening of the communist secret service archives so that the society faces those who operated the Soviet puppet regime. If it were allowed to face its own history, people would see present developments in a different light. For example, why is a former officer and collaborator like Matolcsy allowed to ruin Hungary’s economy more than two decades after the change of regime?! The Commission in SA also ruled that the black community gets a certain stakes of state owned companies as they had contributed to the national wealth, but have not received their fair share along the way. In some respect the roma community has a similar story here. Contributing to the wealth of the Kádár… Read more »

Guest
Ron
January 12, 2013 2:11 am

Eva S. Balogh :

Whoever :
Poor stuff. Abolishing the minimum wage is NOT possible under EU law. There is no suggestion a Us system of healthcare helps anyone. The constitutional aspects are better, but seem bland.

I’m afraid, you’re wrong about this. Germany, for example, has no minimum wage requirement.

Yes, and Germany try to implement this for a long time. EU has no requirement for minimum wage, but having not a Minimum Wage is not desirable.

An article on Minimum Wage in general, and why we should have this you find here:
http://www.social-europe.eu/2012/10/minimum-wages-in-europe-under-pressure/#_ftn2

On Germany on Temporary Minimum Wage for temporary workers is here:
http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/eiro/2012/02/articles/de1202029i.htm

Furthermore, I think it is rather poor, but this is Népszabadság’s view on the party program. It would be better for DK to put this online, and ask people to comment/suggest/adjust it. More democratically. The same I would do with the Constitution or Basic law and election law. But after first approval in Parliament, I would hold new elections (and not a referendum) for new constitution and election law.

Guest
LwiiH
January 12, 2013 4:57 am

Turkmenbasi :

Minusio :
As Hungary is now more polarised than ever before, perhaps – after many years have passed and a new non-Fidesz majority has been found – a “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” should be established to do a similar work as it did in South Africa.
Just a thought.

I fully agree. That Commission enabled the South African (SA) society to face the crimes of the apartheid regime, settle old grievences and recapitalise the black community.

I’m not sure that following SA’s example is the best way to proceed. Current SA policies have rushed to fix the inequities of the previous regime and all that has done is triggered the law of unintended consequences to kick in. These policies have resulted in a serious levels of brain and capital being drained from the country. Well, they control capital flight but then that just puts the brakes on foreign investment. The result is you have a country that offers a less competent work force and therefore is less competitive. Point being, can’t force fix an inequitable situation by creating yet another equitable situation.

Guest
Minusio
January 12, 2013 7:56 am

@ LwiiH. I don’t agree with the present SA government at all. However, the “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” had nothing to do with economic competitiveness or social inequalities. So you may have misunderstood it’s function and effects. It was there to heal the wounds of a divided country with its traumatic clashes. I still think it did a lot of good. Something similar might also help Hungary – one day in the far future. You know, when I let my mind wander over historical comparisons to the Orbán regime I come up with elements of Lukashenko (autocratic rule), Pol Pot and Morgenthau (to basically change society to a backward developmental level), Hitler (swift and ruthless occupation of all positions of influence, Ermächtigungsgesetz, Gleichschaltung, clever propaganda), Arafat (doublespeak: conciliatory in English, incitement to hate in mother tongue) and 1984 (newspeak: black is white, all is to your own best interest). One may be tempted to think what Orbán might have done good with all his power (list all the reforms here necessary to put Hungary on a growth path). But I think the idea of a “benevolent dictator” has never really worked, although some people point to Singapore… Even Plato’s “Politeia”… Read more »

Guest
LwiiH
January 12, 2013 5:19 am

Hit the post a wee bit too early. @Turkmenbasi Roma have their own cultural norms which make the a distinct group but instead of being respected, they are causing this group to be ostracized. In the Americas, you have a mix of cultures that have some how come to some agreements on how to interact and respect each others ways. It has allowed people to retain cultural identify yet without being ostracized from the greater whole. Obviously this is far from perfect one another ways. In a recent CBC Idea documentary on new Canadians they interviewed a person from Saudi Arabia. He’d lived in a couple of different places but finally decided on Toronto during a visit there. He’d always felt he was an outcast in Saudi because he was different. In Toronto he said he felt at home. He got this feeling when he sat on a bus and looking around realized that he was in a place where everyone was different. Different was accepted as the norm. This interview really hit home because it fit with my experiences in that I moved to a place where different isn’t the norm and that tends to marginalize. This was something… Read more »

Guest
Lecso
January 12, 2013 8:17 am

Minusio :
@ Lecso. What do you mean by that? That there are countries that are worse off as regards corruption? Why not mention countries that are exemplarily uncorrupt such as most Scandinavian countries?

I only meant that it could be worse.
And comparing Hungary to Scandinavia is apples to oranges. Scandinavia remained fairly untouched from WW1, WW2, communism and the transition to the so called demokracy in the 90s. These factors had major effects. Hungary was given a different set of cards than Scandinavia, so its unrealistic to compare them.

Just look at the corruption index 2012
http://www.transparency.org/cpi2012/results

Pretty much everything east of the Iron Curtain has high corruption. This is not something that is unique to Hungary, but the whole region, so to solely blame Hungarian culture and mentality for it is ridiculous.

It will take several decades for the problem to get fixed, it ever, and it certainly won’t be done by any of the currently existing parties.

Member
Some1
January 12, 2013 9:14 am

LwiiH : A person [….] from Saudi Arabia [on a bus in Toronto] got this feeling when he sat on a bus and looking around realized that he was in a place where everyone was different. Different was accepted as the norm. It is true. Toronto is very fantastic, and I think people should “study” what is going on here. Anyone who have visited us from Hungary is blown away how natural and smooth things are in schools, buses, streets and in the stores. We live in a moderately wealthy part of the city, but we also have public housing and several demographical community falling into our district (Ukranian, Polish, and Somalian). In the school kids play together, and after school they have playdates together. Parents socialize regardless of economical standing, like the lawyer, the postman, the doctor, and the waist management employee actually do get together. What is the secret? People are not blaming each other, and do not try to find what the other is doing wrong. THe schools celebrate differences, and teaches it. By grade 6 kids are taught about differences in sexuality, and for a long time about the various cultural, and ethnic backgrounds in the… Read more »

Guest
Fermat
January 12, 2013 10:41 am

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.

Guest
An
January 12, 2013 11:59 am

@Eva, I think the extended use of “meg” started as slang, to go give a joking emphasis to the verb. It is becoming widespread, though, so I guess it is becoming part of everyday language. As for “kitisztazni”… never heard of it. “Letisztaz” would be the form I’m familiar with that means make something very clear, or clear up some misunderstanding. I think Hoffmann just misused the word, but who knows… I’ve been away a couple of years now myself. Language does change.

Member
Some1
January 12, 2013 12:46 pm

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… Read more »

Guest
Minusio
January 12, 2013 1:09 pm

Three things:

(1) I don’t know how to reply to a comment so that it will be sorted in where it belongs.

(2) Recent comments to Éva’s posts tended to go off on a tangent (that doesn’t mean that they don’t interest me – and Éva happily followed suit).

(3) Let’s try not to compare nations (some good examples of helpful measures and policies should be exempt from this rule, though).

Szia! :-)

Guest
nyaripal
January 12, 2013 3:56 pm

“For its size, Hungary is unique in its achievements in Science, Culture and Sports.”

You hear this all the time, but is it actually true? And even if it is true, not all the people involved were born in the new, small, Hungary. If we were to go back pre-Trianon, when Hungary was three timess as big, would this still be so true?

I haven’t checked, but I imagine the UK is smaller than the old ‘Greater’ Hungary, and we’ve had a fair bit of success in Science and Culture (if not in sports!).

And how many of the achievements in science were actually made in Hungary?

And as for culture, how on earth is this measured? Hungary is proud of its playwrights and poets, but how many are performed or read outside Hungary. And how many internationally famous Hungarian artists are there?

Guest
January 12, 2013 4:34 pm

What hasn’t been mentioned (again):

Many (if not most!) of the successful Hungarians were Jews – who got their fame after they had been forced to leave Hungary. For me as a mathematician and physicist the names von Neumann, Szilard, Teller, Wigner (The guys from Mars – they were called in the Manhattan Project), Karman and many more not as well known come to mind …

Guest
January 12, 2013 5:22 pm

London Calling! Great minds think alike – Idiots seldom differ!” Minusio Your “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” thought is a good idea! – Although you don’t say for what…… This is what I wrote in March 19, 2012 at 3:59 pm | #31 Quote For me the answer is very clear. One of the most cathartic of processes that dealt with the horrendous human-rights crimes of post apartheid South Africa was the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Although not perfect it has enabled SA to move forward; everything is in the open and old enemies have come to terms over who did what to whom. No one is able to be blackmailed or threatened – the principle is to lay everything in the open and grant amnesty. On the other hand – if it is allowed to fester then you have a situation similar to Spain – where old enmities never die. Some of the murderers are living side by side with their victim’s families. Many families still suffer because the don’t know where their relatives are even buried – a fate worse than death sometimes – never any closure. But above all no forgiveness or amnesty. (‘The Ghosts of Spain’ is… Read more »

Guest
January 12, 2013 5:50 pm

London Calling!

From my understanding of Rózsa Hoffmann’s mangling of Hungarian – she may be the candidate for the George Bush award for solecisms!

I find some of the ‘changes’ in language uncomfortable too sometimes!

At the moment I am trying to come to terms with some of our sports commentators using the term ‘Stand out’ performance or ‘Stand out’ achievement. AAAAggghhhh!

I know this is different from changing the structure of words and tenses but it’s gaining a hold!

(Not to mention ‘Medalled’; ‘Going forward’; ‘Moment in time’; and many others!)

Regards

Charlie

Guest
January 12, 2013 5:56 pm

Btw Minusio

Eva has turned off ‘nesting’ so all our comments are ‘linear’ – and this was determined through a democratic vote (well almost!)

“Going off at a tangent” is allowed by Eva – and providing it does’t hijack Eva’s main thrust, then it adds to the rich tapestry for which her blog is renown! (Certainly by me anyway!)

I have learnt so much from these ‘unnecessaries’ about the Hungarian psyche – and culture that I hope they continue.

You just have to duck and dive!

Regards

Charlis

Guest
Minusio
January 12, 2013 6:13 pm

Thanks for the clarification, CharlieH!

But why should I do a duck-dive? I had to at Atlantic College, but why now?

Guest
January 12, 2013 6:00 pm

London Calling!

(Last one I promise!)

Some1……..

Do you think that was Fermat’s last theorem?

Regards

Charle

Member
Some1
January 12, 2013 6:13 pm

Minusio :
Three things:
(1) I don’t know how to reply to a comment so that it will be sorted in where it belongs.
(2) Recent comments to Éva’s posts tended to go off on a tangent (that doesn’t mean that they don’t interest me – and Éva happily followed suit).
(3) Let’s try not to compare nations (some good examples of helpful measures and policies should be exempt from this rule, though).
Szia!

Point well taken. Still I feel that it is very important to any party to address education, as the lack of proper education that creates a society where racism is adamant. THe schooling system has a responsibility to pass on morals and ethics that maybe some household lacks. The current Hungarian education system as presented by Orban and Hoffman will not only not create a more cohesive society but will push the opposite direction, as it reinforces negative stereotypes, and glorifies shady figures of the Hungarian past.
I was simply saying that Canada’s (Toronto) success in its cohesive society can be contributed to proper education.

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