Agreement is reached between MSZP and Együtt 2014

Last night after I saw Attila Mesterházy announcing the decision of the party leadership to continue negotiations with Gordon Bajnai, I thought that this time an agreement might finally be reached. I assumed that Mesterházy was stepping back from his threat on Friday to consider the earlier agreement between the two parties on the division of individual electoral districts null and void and in its place to hold individual primaries to decide which party’s candidate would run in each individual district.

Despite all the acrimony and drama that occurred during the negotiations, an agreement came unexpectedly swiftly. I for one like the solution. I consider it the most democratic way of deciding who potentially will be Hungary’s future prime minister.

So, let me outline briefly what the deal is. In the Hungarian system each voter can cast two ballots. One for the candidate in his electoral district and one for the party he prefers. In the past someone who voted for the SZDSZ candidate most likely also voted for SZDSZ’s party list. At least in the first round of the election. In the second round his decision could become complicated. Let’s assume that the SZDSZ candidate lost to the candidates of MSZP and Fidesz and therefore in the second round the voter had to decide whether to cast a ballot for MSZP or Fidesz. In this case, our SZDSZ voter most likely would have opted for MSZP’s candidate.

This time there will be no second round and a simple majority will decide the winner of the race. Under these circumstances, the opposition parties cannot afford to run alone. They must pool resources and agree on a common candidate against the Fidesz candidate running in the district. Otherwise they will have no chance. Everybody knew that from day one. The only argument up until now was what to do with the party list or lists. Should the opposition join forces here as well and create a common party list or not? The greatest proponent of a common party list was Ferenc Gyurcsány. It would have forced the parties to come up with a joint candidate for the premiership.

Gordon Bajnai and Attila Mesterházy at today's press conference Source: Népszava

Gordon Bajnai and Attila Mesterházy at today’s press conference
Source: Népszava

The new solution is a compromise that may have its benefits. There will be one single opposition candidate in each of the 106 districts, but Együtt 2014-PM and MSZP will each have its own party list. Topping the E-14 party list will be Gordon Bajnai; Attila Mesterházy will have the same spot on the MSZP list. And then the voters will decide. Assuming that the opposition prevails over Fidesz, if E-14 gets more votes from its party list, the prime minister most likely will be Gordon Bajnai. If MSZP has a stronger showing it will be Attila Mesterházy. I think this is a fair deal.

The real question is whether or not Ferenc Gyurcsány is right in suggesting that with a common party list the opposition could gather more votes than it could with two or more party lists. Those who today hail the agreement argue that this arrangement might in fact be advantageous to the opposition forces. After all, they argue, there are some E-14 supporters who would never vote for a party list headed by Attila Mesterházy and, vice versa, some MSZP supporters would refuse to vote for a list headed by a non-socialist candidate. These people, therefore, might decide not to vote at all. But with this compromise these people can have it both ways. They can vote for the common candidate and can also cast their vote for their favorite party. We don’t know, and never will know with certainty, which system would bring out the most opposition voters, but I tend to think that this is the better solution.

The quick agreement between Bajnai and Mesterházy most likely surprised Fidesz and the right-wing media. Magyar Nemzet made the mistake of publishing an article only a couple of minutes before the joint press conference announcing the agreement. In this article the author outlined the possibility of MSZP making a deal with Ferenc Gyurcsány’s Demokratikus Koalíció and the liberals (Gábor Fodor, Gábor Kuncze) against Bajnai. In the same article he reminded the socialists of all the past “lies of Bajnai” and warned the socialists not to believe him.

Naturally the government parties are not at all happy with the agreement, but for the time being the Fidesz spokespersons could muster only a condemnation of the two party leaders who “are preoccupied with their personal ambitions.” A rather peculiar reaction to an arrangement according to which both men agreed to step back and let the voters decide their fate. But who said that Gabriella Selmeczi and her colleagues on Lendvay Street are the sharpest knives in the drawer? They are capable only of repeating phrases given to them, and it seems that the top party leadership didn’t come up with the latest Fidesz response to such a speedy and unexpected outcome of the negotiations.

Ferenc Gyurcsány seems to be the only major opposition player at the moment who is unhappy with the result. He claims that the agreement signals the failure of the quest for unity. The announcement by Bajnai and Mesterházy is no more than a fig leaf that covers this failure. I was somewhat surprised by Gyurcsány’s reaction. But from the media I gather that Gyurcsány is offended by Bajnai’s decision not to work with DK and Gyurcsány. While Mesterházy is ready to negotiate with everybody, I gather that E-14 has no intention of giving up any of its 35 districts to a liberal or DK candidate.

I understand Gyurcsány’s anger, but I would suggest that instead of making public declarations he should negotiate first with Mesterházy and then with Bajnai, perhaps with the backing of MSZP. For the time being he should support the best E-14 and MSZP managed to achieve. It is not as bad a deal as Gyurcsány thinks.

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Jano
Guest

Surprising! I agree, it is a fair deal. Now the question is how much will they be at each other’s throat , hopefully they are going to be able to put up a mostly positive campaign. Együtt 2014’s style is more suitable for a program based discussion, I’m more concerned about MSZP’s populism.

What I am still missing is that it is not enough that the party with the most list votes gives the prime minister. That party should be the one whose ideas should dominate the future government program and this should be clearly communicated. Otherwise imagine when during the campaign they make conflicting promises all around the place and Fidesz just has to point a finger on the fact how little credibility any claim has due to the fact that it will still have to percolate through some zero transparency power wrestle.

kincs
Guest

The Fidesz response is indeed pretty lame. Expect them to come up with something more forceful and vicious when Habony Árpád or whoever masterminds their PR comes back from holiday and has a think about it.

The more important question is whether Fidesz will change the election laws so as to negate any advantages that the Socialists and Together gain from their election agreement. You know they’d love to.

tappanch
Guest

The list of the 31 E14 districts can be found here:

http://hvg.hu/itthon/20130829_egyutt_pm_valasztokeruletek

tappanch
Guest

Thinking of the young Fidesz elite:

http://index.hu/belfold/2013/08/29/tranzit_fidesz/

(Schiffer seems to feel comfortable in the company of Rogan and other fideszniks on the photo in the article)

tappanch
Guest

‘The forced nationalization of the credit unions will be followed by re-privatization to Fidesz friends and family, so it is more immoral than the nationalization of the banks by the Communists in 1947’ – says the secretary of the Union of Hungarian Entrepreneurs and Employers, who was usually pretty friendly to Orban in the past.

“A jelenlegi kisajátítás erkölcstelenebb, mint az 1947-es, mivel 66 éve a magántulajdonban lévő bankokat az akkori társadalmi célok megvalósítása érdekében vonta magához a központi hatalom. A mostani erőszakos államosítás viszont hamarosan egy profitra éhes magántőkés társaság zsebét fogja megtömni az elkonfiskált takarékszövetkezeti vagyonnal, és szó nincs az ügylet társadalmi céljáról, hasznosságáról.”

http://nol.hu/velemeny/david_ferenc__a_takarekszovetkezetek_trianonja

Member

This marriage is not built to last. Fidesz will be able to exploit the very obvious fissures to its benefit.
I stand by my earlier prognostication: Jobbik 6 seats, Egyutt-PM-MSZP-DK-MSZDP 10 seats, Fidesz-MSZMP 90 seats.

Xantippe
Guest
This is a natural and fair deal. I don’t see why is it problematic.In fact I am not sure if there could be any better deal. Sure, the big question of who the prime minister candidate will be was not decided explicitly (implicitly it was decided since it is unlikely that E-14 can gather more votes than MSZP), but otherwise this is a good deal under the current election system. The media focus on the person of the prime minister is completely misleading, it’s the political equivalent of the celebrity tabloid journalism. It is not the most important issue in politics, especially at this stage and especially in the current election system. It also means something: granted, there has been ugly and loughable negotiations, personal give and take, leaking and backstabbing, but both parties actually want to depose Orbán and can actually agree on a rather fair deal — despite all the punditry. (The latest from József Makai at Origo, JM was taken on by the current Fidesz leaning editor in chief or Origo from Magyar Hirlap. Sure, long time ago Makai was at Magyar Narancs, but he want to Magyar Hirlap and stayed on at even after it was… Read more »
tappanch
Guest

About 15% of the total corporate tax is spent on five types of sport.

The numbers are in billions of HUF.

Revenue from corporate tax was 342 in 2012.
Corporate tax redirected to sport was 59.6 in the 2012-2013 sport fiscal year.

[The government probably matched this amount – this is my estimate.
Money taken from higher education was about the same amount,
state support was reduced from 180 in 2010 to 120 in 2012.

So the money spent on a few hundred sports(wo)men, employees, owners and a few thousand soccer fans was about the same as the support on the entire higher education,
318 thousand students, 22 thousand faculty and x thousand staff (data from 2010) !]

Supported sports:

Soccer 32.0
Handball 11.0
Water polo 7.2
Basketball 5.7
Ice Hockey 3.7

http://www.vg.hu/gazdasag/gazdasagpolitika/hatvanmilliardnyi-ado-a-sportnak-32-milliardot-kapott-a-foci-410786

tappanch
Guest

At the end of the article, additional taxpayer’s money spent on sports is cited:

So
59.6 redirected from corporate tax to the five types of sport above
35.6 allocated in the state budget
12.5 given to 16 selected types of sport [the plan is to spend 135 billion in 7 or 8 years]
8.7 extraordinary government gift a few weeks ago.

Compare this largesse with the following:

The best economics university (Corvinus, former Marx) has lost 43.3 % of its support
the best university of technology (Muszaki) 30.1%,
the best university in science (ELTE or Eotvos) has lost 40.6% in the last five years.

Orban is destroying this country.

tappanch
Guest
Support to universities in 2013: Debrecen: 14.6 ELTE: 13.4 Szeged: 12.4 Muszaki: 12.2 Pecs: 10.8 Semmelweiss: 7.8 (medical) Szt Istvan 5.4 Corvinus: 5.3 Gazdasagi 4.0 West Hungarian 5.1 (Gyor, Sopron) Obudai 4.6 Miskolc 4.5 Szechenyi 3.6 Pannon 3.3 Eszterhazy 2.9 Nyíregyháza 2.6 Kaposvar 2.3 Liszt 1.7 (music) Kecskemet 1.5 http://eduline.hu/felsooktatas/2013/2/5/Itt_a_lista_ennyi_penzt_vontak_el_az_egyete_F5JFWO
tappanch
Guest

To summarize, the Orban government is spending

123.3 billion HUF on the entire higher education in 2013, while gives
116.4 billion to sport.

Franz Kummincs
Guest

Tappanch:

right, I guess then you should vote Orbán out.

But the people have unfortunately spoken and they like Orbán better.

This means in practice that the majority of Hungarian voters prefer sports over higher education. In fact, voters will reward Orbán for his policies. It’s a fair competition: if Mesterházy thinks he wanted to kill Hungarian sports and save on that then he should say so, by the way, let people decide in 2014.

The smothering of the sport scene is officially over. Gyurcsány-Bajnai were hell-bent on killing the sport clubs because sports people tend to be right wingers and supporters of Fidesz (good question, why).

That era is over for good.

Those who bring fame to our nation, will have ample opportunity to excel. And anyway, we need workers, not some smartass intellectuals.

tappanch
Guest

@Kummincs

This is exactly what the Nazis thought about the fate of the conquered Slavic peoples.

All the educated people were exterminated, the half that was not to be exterminated by the “Kleine Planung” should be used as workers by the “Grosse Planung”, to be implemented gradually over a period of 20 years.

They were to be schooled only to the degree that they were able to execute the orders of their German superiors.

So the new casting is:

Fideszniks = Nazi Germans
Hungarians= conquered Slav(e)s

Wow, Kummincs, you revealed the core of the Fidesz thinking!

JGrant
Guest

Franz Kummincs :
And anyway, we need workers, not some smartass intellectuals.

Correction, we need them both. Any regime that juxtaposes those two are stupid and are bound to fail. For a while the populism and demagoguery works with some (and not only amongst the workers!!), but ultimately most nations work out for themselves whose ideology is constructive and whose is destructive. In the meantime, those of us who have to suffer the consequences by living here have to be brave and patient. I think all the downturned mouthed, miserable pessimists (some of whom do appear now and again on this blog) are doing a disservice to Hungary. If you understand what is going on, how can you be so arrogant as to imply (and sometimes clearly state) that the vast majority of Hungary is so thick that they will never work it out for themselves? Shame on you!

Franz Kömény
Guest
JGrant and tappanch, sorry guys, you are right, I was kidding. But. But there are two separate issues. One is the taming of the higher education by brutal cuts (note that the top university administrators accepted everything without a peep) which is bad indeed, terrible policy. But Orbán did it because he could. No leftist government would have dared it, as they are inherently too weak and cannot control lobbies. Orbán gave orders and top university administrators cheered. That is how you do it, if you must. But Orban had to do it as he had to conquer each and every potential power constituency, that is his nature. Mission accomplished. By virtue of their (ie. administrators’) acceptance of the cuts without resistance their importance was devalued immediately. But it has nothing to do with sports. I think you misunderstand sport completely and fundamentally. One is a political issue. Top sportsmen (ie. sport heroes, celebrities) love and stand openly by Fidesz and the right wing and thus right wing politics will stand by these people. The question is why sportspeople are Fidesz-oriented: in short because they are by nature disciplined people, who accept unquestioningly the authority of the trainer and in… Read more »
Bowen
Guest

Franz Kummincs :Those who bring fame to our nation, will have ample opportunity to excel. And anyway, we need workers, not some smartass intellectuals.

See also: Pol Pot.

Let’s see if Fidesz also start banning radio stations (oh, they’ve already tried!), forbidding knowledge of foreign languages (not much point here, since so few Hungarians know one), or shooting people who wear glasses.

Marcel Dé (@MarcelD10)
Guest

Franz Kömény :
I think you misunderstand sport completely and fundamentally.

I think you’re confusing sport and professional football, whose only rule is profit.

Pro Football doesn’t mind at all endorsing some ‘liberal values’ if it assumes it’s good for show business. Of course the hooligans will huff and puff, but for instance you’ll probably see more and more non-‘White’ players in the NB1 in the years to come. Another example:
http://www.politics.hu/20130719/christian-dems-deeply-dismayed-by-football-family-discounts-for-gay-couples/

Football used indeed to be a good tool for conservative social control… until real money started pouring in. The more money it handles, the more of a double-edged sword it becomes for any government.

petofi
Guest

@ Franz Kumincs:

“And anyway, we need workers, not some smartass intellectuals.”

One must always ‘interpret’ Hungarians, even when using a foreign language:
Hungary doesn’t need workers, it needs slaves; and of course, smart ass intellectuals are quite useless anywhere.

On the other hand, people who ‘think’ and can weigh policy and have intelligent, fact-based, opinions are another matter. Never too many of them.
Problem is, independence and good thinking are an off-shoot of an open society and there is anything but that developing now.

Hungarians want nostalgia; the gratuities from their masters; and, most of all,
an alchohol-soaked mustachio.

googly
Guest
Franz Kömény : JGrant and tappanch, sorry guys, you are right, I was kidding. But. But there are two separate issues. One is the taming of the higher education by brutal cuts (note that the top university administrators accepted everything without a peep) which is bad indeed, terrible policy. But Orbán did it because he could. No leftist government would have dared it, as they are inherently too weak and cannot control lobbies. Orbán gave orders and top university administrators cheered. That is how you do it, if you must. But Orban had to do it as he had to conquer each and every potential power constituency, that is his nature. Mission accomplished. By virtue of their (ie. administrators’) acceptance of the cuts without resistance their importance was devalued immediately. But it has nothing to do with sports. I think you misunderstand sport completely and fundamentally. One is a political issue. Top sportsmen (ie. sport heroes, celebrities) love and stand openly by Fidesz and the right wing and thus right wing politics will stand by these people. The question is why sportspeople are Fidesz-oriented: in short because they are by nature disciplined people, who accept unquestioningly the authority of the… Read more »
Ferenc Kummincs
Guest
Googly: I have actually lived in a pretty big and developed provincial town (it already has a stadium so it does not feature in the news that much) for quite long, although last time more than 10 years ago. But given demographic trends (these days there are significantly less younger people who more often go out) it probably had a bigger night life then. Still, those days evening were very calm, which is what many people like and that is ok. Anyway, I was exaggerating, but I guess I made my point and wanted to relay how fideszniks think. No political party is consistent on ideology, neither is Fidesz. But there is demand for and logic in their policies, and actually I think many of their ideas are way too underrated by leftist and liberals, as good ideas get lost in the general craziness. I for one think that the rural public work policy on balance is quite positive and many of the discipline-oriented ideas in the otherwise terrible education policy are also useful. You should not forget that Fidesz’ core constituency is the rural (meaning people living outside of Budapest, not people in small villages, a Hungarian town of… Read more »
tappanch
Guest

@ Franz/Ferenc Kummincs/Kömény

Are you/are you related to Fidesz propagandist Ferenc Kumin?

tappanch
Guest

Mayor Tarlos made a cute anti-Semitic remark on television yesterday.

The opposition party DK used a quotation from the Psalms to oppose Tarlos’s plans to expel the homeless from Budapest.

Tarlos remarked that when the opposition looks at the Bible sometimes, “it always opens at the Old Testament for them […] I read the New Testament more often.”

http://hvg.hu/itthon/20130830_Lezsidozta_a_DKsokat_Tarlos_a_HirTVben

tappanch
Guest

I apologize for occupying so much space here, but there is always a new thing bugging me…

Several news media write that for the first time, more Hungarians oppose the EU than support it, according to a new poll by TARKI.

http://www.tarki.hu/hu/news/2013/kitekint/20130829_eutagsag.html

TARKI says the same thing in its report, but look at the enclosed chart:

The graphs do not intersect, so there could NOT be a change in the ranking of opinions.

So
EITHER the legend of the chart is messed up, therefore always more Hungarians thought that the EU membership is bad for Hungary,

OR there are still more people appreciating the EU than blaming it, i.e. 22% think that the EU is bad, while 32% still think it is good for Hungary.[I guess the latter is true]

Dear Tarki, correct your report.

Member
<b<Olga Kálmán I have always been a great admirer of ATV’s Olga Kálmán. She is extremely intelligent, articulate, skillful in dialogue and elicitation, well-informed — and her heart is quite clearly in the right place. But lately she sometimes seems to be getting a bit unhinged — most recently in connection with the Bajnai/Mesterházy foot-dragging. She seems more inclined toward prolonged haraguing rather than toward resolution and moving on. Yes, the long negotiations were unfortunate and wasted precious time, probably more because of personal ambitions than state needs. But just as B&M need to set those things aside and get on with it, OK needs to do so too, instead of dragging out the reproaches — deserved, but once, not over and over and over — about B&M’s foot-dragging. I also think Olga should give a rest to the “Na ez megint micsoda?!” routine with which she keeps starting many of her interviews. It’s gotten old, and somewhat irksome. I know that she often needs to play devil’s advocate in order to make her interviews sound less partisan, and that’s fine, but I think she sometimes gets carried away and starts to harangue instead of moving forward. (She also sometimes… Read more »
Member

Above heading should have been boldface: Olga Kálmán

Ron
Guest

Steven: I think that a lot of people are frustrated with what is going on, and not only in Hungary, but also in the rest of the EU. Tappach graph shows this frustration. I expected more fireworks this year than the years before. Although the year is not over yet I have not seen too much about the future, except it looks orange.

Ferencz Kuminn
Guest

Tappanch: no relation, it was a sign that the fist comment wasn’t serious. It was indeed a reference to our beloved Kumin Feri.

Ferencz Kuminn
Guest

Tappanch:

the way you should read the chart is that the historical data points are not connected to the last sample. The current polling shows that according to 39%, the EU membership is a bad thing, 32% good thing, 22% neither bad or good and 7% does not know, can’t decide.

There has been no sampling since May 2011 and the negative opinions increased significantly since then.

Essentially Fidesz was able to increase the negatives from 20% to 40% within two years, this is how efficient they are in spreading the unified message all through the various media channels.

One should never underestimate the power of the media (which is controlled by Fidesz). Blaming everything on the EU and fighting against them was successful.

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