Dissension in the already weak Hungarian opposition

It is time to talk again about the opposition parties, especially since next week Együtt – A Korszakváltók Pártja (Together-Party of the New Age) will begin negotiations with MSZP. In case you have no idea who on earth is behind this “new party,” this is the same old Együtt 2014-PM Szövetség (Together 2014 Alliance) that was established months ago by Gordon Bajnai, Péter Juhász of Milla, Péter Kónya of the Solidarity Movement, and the former members of LMP who decided to join Együtt 2014.

But what happened to the party’s name? It took the court that was supposed to give its blessing to the name seventy days of deliberation to decide that the name proposed by Bajnai-Juhász-Kónya was unacceptable for at least two reasons. First, a few days before the Együtt people proposed the name of their movement a couple of people had already turned in a request for the name. Second, the court objected to the word “szövetség” (alliance), although Fidesz’s official name is Fidesz Magyar Polgári Szövetség. So, the group around Gordon Bajnai “temporarily” adopted this ridiculous sounding name. The way the registration of this party is proceeding it could easily happen that by the time elections roll around the party will still not be a party. Bajnai of course tries to act as if all these name changes didn’t matter, but of course they do.

While the hassle over the party’s name was going on Péter Juhász, head of the virtual Milla movement, gave a press conference in which he compared Ferenc Gyurcsány to Viktor Orbán as symbols of oppressive regimes and corrupt politics. Juhász went so far as to call the pre-Orbán times part and parcel of “the current mafia-government.”

vadai agnes femina.hu

Ágnes Vadai / femina.hu

Well, this was too much for the fiery Ágnes Vadas (DK), who addressed an open letter to “Dear Gordon” in which she inquired from him whether he approves such statements from his co-chairman. After all, in this case “you must have been a minister of this oppressive regime for three years; you accepted a position in the government of a man who put an end to democracy in Hungary and you served without raising your voice against this corrupt regime that was in the hands of a political mafia.” The letter is politely but strongly worded. Vadai wants to know what Bajnai thinks of Juhász’s attack on Ferenc Gyurcsány. As far as I know, no official letter reached Vadai as of yesterday, but Bajnai tried to explain his own position without completely distancing himself from Juhász.

Juhász has been the target of severe criticism from many quarters, and criticism was also leveled against Gordon Bajnai for getting involved with him. Back in November 2012 a portrait of Juhász appeared in Origo with the title “A good-for-nothing  activist.” Not the best recommendation for an important post at a crucial junction in Hungarian political life.

Since then others have joined Ágnes Vadai in their condemnation of Péter Juhász. Blogger “Pupu” wrote that he considers Juhász an agent of Viktor Orbán. Another popular blogger, Piroslapok, is less harsh; he doesn’t consider him an agent, just a not very smart man who likes to moralize using false postulates.

Others, like Ferenc Krémer, describe him as a dangerous dilettante who stands in the way of unity in the opposition camp. Juhász makes assumptions about “the political usefulness” of certain strategies without knowing much about the intricacies of the present political situation. In the last few months he succeeded only in driving a wedge between the different opposition parties. So, says Krémer, Juhász is serving the interests of Fidesz because the government party wants to have open disagreements in the opposition camp. According to several commentators, the best solution for the opposition would be the removal of Juhász from Együtt 2014. Then he could expound his theories as a private person. These commentators are sure that the right-wing media would welcome him with open arms.

It seems, however, that Gordon Bajnai is not ready to get rid of him. Or at least this is what he said at a meeting of the Budai Liberális Klub where he had a conversation with Zsófia Mihancsik.  But Bajnai ought to realize that the democratic opposition shouldn’t in a servile fashion follow “the narrative of Fidesz,” which also includes Viktor Orbán’s desire to push Ferenc Gyurcsány into the background.

Meanwhile Együtt 2014 or whatever it is called now is languishing  just as MSZP, LMP, and DK are. Why? Not because people are worried about whether Gyurcsány is part of the joint opposition but because they see disunity, confusion, and a struggle for primacy.

Yesterday Együtt 2014’s visits across the country ended in Budapest. Bajnai had earlier refused to negotiate with MSZP because he first wanted to undertake a campaign tour that was supposed bolster his and his party’s popularity. Ipsos’s May poll results don’t show any great change. In fact, the party dropped from the 4% support it had in April to 3%. I doubt that the June figures will be very different. Yet Bajnai is still stalling. Yes, he will start talks “next week” but the conversations will begin only on Friday. What on earth is he waiting for? A miracle? It won’t come, especially if he sticks with Péter Juhász for much longer.

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3014-free
Guest

Just for a historical memory.
The Szabadelvu Part of the Deak era has been most of time awful.
http://hu.wikipedia.org/wiki/Szabadelv%C5%B1_P%C3%A1rt
phd.lib.uni-miskolc.hu/JaDoX…/displayContent?
The leaders could not act together.
They were even decent, but a bunch of amateur.
At the end the party disappeared.
There is no hope for democracy on the Hungarian historical foundation.
A return to an absolute monarchy is the other good option.

Dan
Guest

While we’re on the subject of Fidesz agents, I often entertained the idea that it was Gyurcsany who is the secret Fidesz agent. He was the one who handed them the super majority. Have you noticed how a picture of Gyurcsany is always in the Magyar Nemzet, usually with Bajnai. The attention they give him far outweighs his significance. The editors know more Gyurcsany = less votes for the opposition. He is Fidesz’s secret weapon. But that aside, Egyutt and the MSZP need to field joint candidates in key areas and Bajnai has to agree to be Meszterhazy’s deputy.

Max
Guest

Discredited policians in left and right still want to convince the electrorates about their agenda. The whole political class in Hungary is a compromised bunch of people, the same old faces masquerading in different costumes, while the country goes to the dogs. Without properly functioning institutions of checks and balances they merely resemble to a white collar organised crime syndicate – and indeed they function as such.

Ervin
Guest

I tend to agree with Dan. Gyurcsány is a discredited and failed politician and this has nothing to do with whether or not one likes him (I happen to like him, but that doesn’t alter the fact that he is an enormous political liability.) I know this, 90 percent of Hungary’s population know this, Bajnai knows this,, the MSZP knows this, Orbán knows this (Orbán and the FIDESZ want to have him in Bajnai’s corner, who is, by the way, the only politician Orbán worries about, which is clear from the amount of attention and money they spend on discrediting him), and what those bloggers mentioned above think in this regard proves that they are totally disconnected from reality. I know for sure that I will not vote on a formation that includes Gyurcsány, not because I dislike him (quite the contrary), but because that this would only energize the large number of crazy hoodlums this country has and that is exactly what Orbán wants.

szomszéd
Guest

“..Fidesz’s official name is Fidesz Magyar Polgári Szövetség. So, the group around Gordon Bajnai “temporarily” adopted this ridiculous sounding name”.

It is not only this ridiculous sounding name what they adopted. They adopted also, and only temporarily, part of Orban´s agenda – Hungarian citizenship of ethnic Hungarians in neighbouring countries – as we heard from Bainai when he visited Slovakia recently. He talked something about specific position of Hungary in this respect and that national identity of Hungarians whereever they live is an important national aim.

Why should people vote for this substitute and not for authentic Orban´s agenda?

Sopotnik
Guest

First you register an entity, then you can change its name. That’s 101 for lawyers.

But again, with Tordai the chief lawyer and the amateurs of Együtt, they have no idea. They just stand there in the abbatoir like the cattle about to be slaughtered.

They did not even suspect that Együtt’s name was gonna be ‘stolen’ so that another bunch of people (I guess smart Fideszniks) would submit their application with a similar name just before Együtt can do so.

Oh my god, the dillettantism — these guys would seriously go agains the Orbán-Handó-Polt-Áder-Szájer- Constiturional Court power front??

Juhász is a lose cannon to say the least, he is probably nuts too. Either you have a 100% loyalty and staying on message like you have at Fidesz or at Obama’s campaign or forget about politics.

Fidesz does not have to do anything, the left will self-destruct before it could take off. I guess we will have a nice summer holiday while the left commits seppuku.

Member

Ervin :
Gyurcsány is a discredited and failed politician and this has nothing to do with whether or not one likes him (I happen to like him, but that doesn’t alter the fact that he is an enormous political liability.)

All true. But you leave out that Gyurcsány was wrongly discredited, by Fidesz smear tactics and FUD that have since become Fidesz’s signature tools of trade.

Is this what those who repeatedly (and validly) accuse the opposition of naivete would like to see them imitate?

Fidesz is certainly giving Realpolitik a whole new flavor: a Hungarian dish that hardly does the nation — ostensibly so starved for an unjustly denied glory — any credit.

I’d say that as long as Gyurcsány continues to be successfully portrayed and perceived as a pariah, Hungary remains in the demagogic thrall of Viktor Orban — Hungary’s real historic liability — and it is Hungary that will remain the pariah.

Member

I’d say the biggest lie of all was that Gyurcsány was trying to compound corruption rather than combat it. As long as this lie persists, Hungary is (in) a state of deception.

Ivan
Guest

Steven, agreed completely. That Gyurcsany ‘speech’ at Balaton was actually one of the most positive and honest speeches ever made in Hungary, possibly the EU. I refer, of course, to the full text, not the remixed Fidesz version – which is the only version 99% of people have ever heard (the hysteria was like the old hysterical book condemnation by people who hadn’t – and refused to – read the tomes in question). The ‘betrayal’ by leaking the speech should not really be an issue, therefore, but the misrepresentation of the speech, with the stamp of authority, to an ill-informed population, was a disgrace. All modern Hungarian political problems, stem, in some way, from those events.

I and others have already drawn attention to Gy’s (very successful) attempts to root out corruption in the health service. The people, steered by Fidesz, overwhelmingly rejected these reforms in a referendum, seemingly happier to carry on the traditional old illegal ways.

Worst of all, these comments made here cannot be shared openly in today’s Hungary (as I know to my cost). Any less-than-negative comment on Gyurcsany MUST be the product of the pan-global-liberal-conspiracy-going-back-to-the-dawn-of-time against Hungary – for everyone KNOWS he’s guilty … of EVERYTHING!

tappanch
Guest

Botka (MSzP)
Konya (Egyutt)
Vadai (DK)

A winning trifecta. They are the least wishy-washy in the opposition.

3014-free
Guest

The horizon is dark. The leadership should be in the hand of Ferenc Kremer. Jozsef Debreczeni, Agnes Vadai, or Niedermuller. These people see clearly the Hungarian failures and the objectives.
Gyurcsany, Bajnai, Mesterhazy, Juhasz, and Konya are just talking about many subjects superficially, but can not phrase moral and political goals.
The Orban rule is held together by force. He has the freedom to spew so much nonsense, and spread so much confusion, while his backers assure his rule by force.
His future is a picture from the Mubarak, Erdogan, or Assad book.

Guest
Gyor Calling! Bajnai, Vadai and Gyurcsány should form a tripartite team and form the ‘Restore Party’- forget the fact that Gy may be regarded as poison ivy – and devise an intelligent manifesto of ‘recovery’ and democratic ‘repair’ – fully compliant with EU principles and values. 100% compliance with the spirit and letter of the rules of the club. 100%. All egos should be swallowed – the primary objective is the manifesto. I am sure the population will recognise their genuine values and yes, integrity, as Orban’s government turns increasingly rancid in the run up to the next election. By contrast, the ‘integrity’ premium of the Restore Party will grow, slowly and inexorably. There are already many undercurrents of dissatisfaction and even if the press is shackled there would be quite an effective alternative ‘communication tree’ in operation – there must be with all those ‘undecided’ voters. Only those who reside in Hungary – a definition of which should be a top priority – but should exclude those who are resident in other countries as a matter of principle, should be eligible to vote. This will NOT win the election – but will be a precursor to the possible intervention… Read more »
3014-free
Guest

I add that the Gyurcsany speech in Oszod was a bright spot.
An honest outcry.
He has governed Hungary according nice principles.
Just failed to pull Hungary out of the turbulent waters.
He could not find the inner decisiveness to combat the dark forces of the other Hungary.
He was a prophet on a narrow path.
The unfortunate nation needs a little more to end hundreds of years of self-destructive acts.

Guest

The commenters on HS and possibly also the opposition politicians in Hungary seem to be divided between two mutually exclusive approaches with regard to handling a type like Orbán.

Adherents of approach #1 will be conciliatory, support parts of Orbán’s policies, suppress their own views, and abstain from telling the voters what they really think about Orbán’s doings. All in the hope of reaching an understanding with him.

Adherents of approach #2 will confront Orbán on all issues. They are convinced that he considers conciliatory talk as weakness. They will tell the voters that Orbán is a criminal who should be prosecuted as soon as possible, and his revolution should be immediately undone without regard to legal niceties.

Let us call approach #1 the Chamberlain approach and approach #2 the Churchill approach.

petofi
Guest

Eva S. Balogh :

szomszéd :
“..Fidesz’s official name is Fidesz Magyar Polgári Szövetség. So, the group around Gordon Bajnai “temporarily” adopted this ridiculous sounding name”.
It is not only this ridiculous sounding name what they adopted. They adopted also, and only temporarily, part of Orban´s agenda – Hungarian citizenship of ethnic Hungarians in neighbouring countries – as we heard from Bainai when he visited Slovakia recently

I don’t know how other liberal voters think about this issue but I’m dead against voting rights for ethnic Hungarians in the neighboring countries.

Of course, purely on historical grounds…didn’t the Americans fight a war for ‘no taxation without representation’?

Of course, brilliant Hungarians no better: now they will (or, already have…) introduced ‘representation without
taxation’. This is Orbanic ‘genius’ in a nutshell…

Hajra, Magyarok!!

petofi
Guest

Stevan Harnad :
I’d say the biggest lie of all was that Gyurcsány was trying to compound corruption rather than combat it. As long as this lie persists, Hungary is (in) a state of deception.

This, of course is correct. But there was/is no greater threat to the political cabal of Fidesz/MSZP than attempts to reform. Hence the so-called ‘revelation’ of Gyurcsany’s speech, which of course, was no secret anyway, only Orban and some MSZP backstabbers made it seem so. Gyurcsany had to be got rid of and both parties were complicit in achieving that. For the media to have gone along with that, and for the people to have believed it, is what makes hopefulness in Hungary’s future well nigh hopeless.

Ivan
Guest

Yes. The Chamberlain approach seemed to work fantastically well for Britain, in the very very very short term … But pragmatism trumping morality caused untold suffering for so many … and didn’t work in the long term anyway. History teaches.

petofi
Guest

@3014-free

“He was a prophet on a narrow path.”

True.
Unfortunately, PROFIT doth not in such a direction lie.

Guest

Gyor Calling!

Yes Ivan “I have in my hand a piece of paper signed by Herr Orban….” will not bring ‘democracy in our time’…..

It has to be ‘Churchill’. (Thanks Jean!)

(Maybe ‘Attraction’s’ art work was prophetic!)

Regards

Charlie

Kirsten
Guest

Well it appears the one thing missing here is the very person of Churchill…

Sackhoes Contributor
Guest

I don’t know how other liberal voters think about this issue but I’m dead against voting rights for ethnic Hungarians in the neighboring countries.

I strongly disagree with Ms Balogh on this. A great many democratic countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, consider voting to be a fundamental right of a citizen, regardless of foreign residence or having (dual) citizenship of another country. If you think about it, the most fundamental act of democracy is voting. Everything else stems from it.

spectator
Guest
Eva S. Balogh : szomszéd : “..Fidesz’s official name is Fidesz Magyar Polgári Szövetség. So, the group around Gordon Bajnai “temporarily” adopted this ridiculous sounding name”. It is not only this ridiculous sounding name what they adopted. They adopted also, and only temporarily, part of Orban´s agenda – Hungarian citizenship of ethnic Hungarians in neighbouring countries – as we heard from Bainai when he visited Slovakia recently I don’t know how other liberal voters think about this issue but I’m dead against voting rights for ethnic Hungarians in the neighboring countries. Completely agree, Eva! The whole idea was/is phoney and dishonest from day one. If the Hungarian government would really care, what- and how the over the border ethnic Hungarians really really think, how they would like their problems treated, they would have been provided with a possibility to delegate their own PM to the Hungarian parliament, not a possibility to interfere with domestic policies. But, of course it wasn’t the case. From my point of view Bajnai is dead wrong jumping on this populist track, partly, because the whole voting sucks altogether, none the less, Orbán doing this so much better anyway, that Bajnai has no chance to beat… Read more »
Member

Sackhoes Contributor :
A great many democratic countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, consider voting to be a fundamental right of a citizen, regardless of foreign residence or having (dual) citizenship of another country. If you think about it, the most fundamental act of democracy is voting. Everything else stems from it.

Well, if 250,000 Mexicans were given US a passports for this Christmas, I believe the your views would suddenly change drastically on voting rights.

Guest

Kirsten :
Well it appears the one thing missing here is the very person of Churchill…

How about G

Member

Don’t be too obsessed with truth and moral. The only thing that matters is VOTES in 2014. So try to see (and support) Bajnai’s efforts from this perspective.

The voting rights is an awful idea, Professor Balogh is right … but if they are willing to vote against the Fidesz … then god bless my Hungarian brothers. Consider that the 90% of the Hungarians in Romania support the RMDSZ and they don’t take orders neither from Budapest or Bucharest.

The same logic could be applied to Juhasz. He’s wrong when he is moralizing about Gyurcsany, but hey, talk to the average Hunky. If Juhasz can rake in votes with this bullshit … then why not.

Every vote counts. If we win, there will be a coalition of anti-Fidesz forces. So don’t be negative. Only criticize things that gives votes to Orban. What are you worrying about? The MSZP gets less? So? The point is to get in the parliament. There will be one round of voting so make sure all forces reach the limit to get in. Don’t preach about the disagreement on the left. You are fueling it. Yes, you …

Guest

Gyor Calling!

People who willingly choose to become a member of a country, having satisfied residency rights, should be allowed to participate in that country’s politics. If they pay, or have paid, taxes then they should be entitled to a say in how the country is run.

They may even be a member of a minority – but they should be treated equally – that is the key.

Residents outside the country should invest their democratic ‘shilling’ in their chosen country of residence.

The phenomenon of allowing residents in other countries, as opposed to just being domiciled temporarily, to vote, is a Triannonite trick to subvert treaties set in stone and is just a fraudulent device – causing friction in the region.

Butter wouldn’t melt in Orban’s mouth – Oh! No! Szajer and Orban really do know what they are doing – this should be factored in to the eventual EU sanctions.

And the Baj-Vad-Gy trio need to get a move on.

Regards

Charlie

Member
tappanch
Guest

GULAG Hungary – mandatory work in prisons. Earnings: $100/month

http://velvet.hu/sztori/2013/06/16/rabmunka/

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