Ferenc Gyurcsány will not accept alms: New rounds of negotiations?

I devoted the last two paragraphs of my last post to Ferenc Gyurcsány’s unhappiness with the deal Attila Mesterházy and Gordon Bajnai hammered out. Yesterday Gyurcsány claimed that the agreement signaled the failure of the quest for unity and that the announcement by Bajnai and Mesterházy was no more than a fig leaf that covers up this failure. My reaction to this brief comment by Ferenc Gyurcsány last night was that the deal is not as bad as he imagines it to be.

Since then Ferenc Gyurcsány has appeared on every possible media outlet, starting with Kossuth Rádió, continuing with György Bolgár’s “Let’s Talk It Over,” and finally an interview with Olga Kálmán on “Straight Talk” (Egyenes beszéd). Obviously 🙂  Gyurcsány didn’t read yesterday’s Hungarian Spectrum where I suggested that instead of public appearances he should negotiate first with Mesterházy and then with Bajnai, perhaps with the backing of MSZP.

As a result of all these appearances I think I understand what Ferenc Gyurcsány is complaining about. Over the months he has never wavered in his conviction that there must be one common candidate in all 106 electoral districts. He has also emphasized the necessity of designating a common candidate for the post of prime minister. And finally, he felt strongly about a single party list. Now he claims that none of these three requirements for electoral success has materialized. After all, Mesterházy and Bajnai divided the 106 electoral districts between themselves; they created two party lists which will mean two parliamentary delegations that, in Gyurcsány’s opinion, will result in a weak government coalition. And third, by not naming a prime minister designate Viktor Orbán will face no challenger in the campaign.

As far as the candidate for the premiership is concerned, Gyurcsány has made it clear all along that he will not present himself as a contender. At the beginning he favored Gordon Bajnai, but by the end he felt that it was more appropriate to choose the top of the ticket from the largest party. He may have shifted his position on the prime minister designate because it was becoming evident that Együtt 2014’s attitude toward him was outright antagonistic and Gordon Bajnai didn’t seem to be able or willing to go against his colleagues in the party’s leadership. Or perhaps he realized that despite Bajnai’s best efforts E-14 has been unable to achieve serious popular support vis-à-vis MSZP and therefore Bajnai’s insistence on the post was ill advised and unfounded.

Instead of a secret deal between Bajnai and Mesterházy, Gyurcsány expected a new round of negotiations in which the other parties, including DK, were represented. After all, he is convinced that DK’s support is not much smaller than that of E-14. Instead, out of the blue he was confronted with a private deal that was made in secret and against the declared wishes of MSZP that also favored a common party list. I guess he felt betrayed. And he flew off the handle. He will not go and beg for crumbs and will not accept alms. As the day went by he became increasingly radical, declaring that if DK is not offered a square deal his party will run alone and will put up 106 candidates. He will show what DK and he himself are capable of. He darkly mentioned his ability as a campaigner.

Source: Hír24

Source: Hír24

According to the electoral law, in order for a party to be able to have a party list it must have candidates in at least 27 electoral districts. That’s the reason MSZP gave E-14 more than 27 districts. In fact, as it stands E-14 has 35 districts as opposed to MSZP’s 71. As far as Bajnai is concerned, if MSZP wants to give up some of its districts to DK or anyone else it is their business. He made it quite clear, however, that E-14 has no intention of yielding any of its 35 districts. Last night Mesterházy said that MSZP would be willing to give four districts to the other opposition parties. If that is the case, we can safely say that DK would receive no more than two seats and that would not satisfy Ferenc Gyurcsány who would consider this no more than crumbs. He made that much clear today. However, by tonight Gyurcsány calmed down somewhat and indicated that he was ready to negotiate and may not insist on starting the negotiations anew in order to scrap the present agreement between Bajnai and Mesterházy.

During his interview with Olga Kálmán we learned that sometime in the afternoon Gyurcsány talked to Mesterházy and indicated that he would accept a fair offer. He didn’t mention exact numbers, but I gathered that ten or a dozen districts would satisfy him. However, he would insist on a joint MSZP-DK party list. I also gained the distinct impression that he would demand some concessions from E-14 as well. While in the early afternoon he threatened that DK would run alone, by the evening he said that if DK doesn’t get a fair shake it might withdraw and refuse to participate in the elections, an option doesn’t like and he wants to avoid DK’s running of its own.

In the last couple of weeks DK has been waging a campaign because polls indicated that most voters don’t even know that Ferenc Gyurcsány left MSZP more than a year ago and established a party of his own. The campaign has apparently yielded results. I heard from independent sources that since the campaign began the number of new party members has grown appreciably–as it stands DK has over 8,000 members–and that the party’s telephone campaign is also successful. The party claims that 15% of those phoned are willing to be included in DK’s database. So, I gather that Gyurcsány thinks that his party’s popularity is nearing that of Együtt 2014 which is around 6% among the voters. He therefore believes that he deserves a piece of the pie.

And here is an encouraging piece of news for those who would like to see unity of action. On Sunday there will be by-elections in Szigetszentmiklós.  There MSZP, DK, and E-14 together support an opposition candidate. Magyar Nemzet has already announced that a Fidesz win would be close to a miracle because Szigetszentmiklós is traditionally a liberal-socialist town where Fidesz barely won at the local elections.

Szigetszentmiklós is not the first town where MSZP, DK, and E-14 managed to cooperate on the local level. It’s too bad that one cannot find the same willingness when it comes to national politics.

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Paul
Guest

An odd photo – Gy has clearly been photoshopped in! And where exactly is the ‘Gy’ badge suppose to be attached?

On a more serious note – does DK have the money and resources to put up 106 candidates?

And, given the new first-past-the-post voting system (no second round if no one gets 50%, no minimum turnout threshold – just winner takes all), it’s insanity to put up more than one left/liberal candidates in any constituency. It will just split the vote and hand Fidesz even more seats.

Sackhoes Contributor
Guest

If Gyurcsany were a true patriot, he would now gracefully bow out of the political arena and leave it for others. He is such a divisive person and his participation in any deal or list is a kiss of death. He commands a tiny fraction of the electorate yet exerts enormous influence on the left. His desperate cling to power is sad to watch.

Paul
Guest

He’s looking a bit porky these days, too. The old Hungarian ‘middle-age man disease’ strikes again…

By coincidence, on the road to ‘Airport Debrecen’ today, we passed a huge poster with Gy’s face on it. We went by too fast for my basic Hungarian to cope, so I’ve no idea what it was about, but it was very strange to see his face on a poster* – I can’t remember the last time I saw that, probably before the 2006 election?

(*other than on a Fidesz poster, of course!)

Member

Why is Gyurcsany so sure, that the DK’s 2% will vote for an individual DK candidate should the DK run alone? I would not. We want Orban go – don’t care about the DK’s survival.

I like Gyurcsany, especially Vadai, I wish the party had more followers, but they don’t. The FIDESZ brainwash was so effective, unfortunately, that Gyurcsany practically became a household name for bad politician. So even if he gets a few spots from the “big boys”, I would say that person will fetch less votes then the MSZP or the E14 candidate would.

This is the beginning of the end for the DK I’m afraid.

patent kapolcs
Guest
Everyone calling for a common front for the opposition is completely right. Why? Because that provides the only way to win against Fidesz-KDNP. Has the not the current government given a rich field of failures on which the opposition can campaign? Yes it has. When over 50% of the Hungarian population lives at subsistence level or BELOW, the opposition, united, must be out in the country reminding people that it does not have to be that way. When half a million young and productive people have left the country to escape the petty, partisan, controlling policies of the Orban government, the united opposition needs to be out in the country telling people it does not have to be that way. Then there are the broken promises and lies: “a million new jobs in 10 years”, “Hungary the engine that will drive the EU out of recession”- Orban; “You can live well on 46,000 Ft/month” – Matolcsy; “There is no Horthy cult in Hungary” – Martonyi; “We do not support anti-Semitism” – Kover; “Hungary’s debt has been continuously been reduced under Orban” – Szelmeczi Gabi and so on and on. What is it about the term “United Opposition” that Mr Bajnai… Read more »
Guest

The disharmony of the democratic opposition is really depressing!

To us (that’s my wife , her family and me) it seems that Gyurcsany’s name for many people is equivalent to “lies, lies, more lies …” so that he really should disappear into the background and let others, younger untainted people do the fighting against the Fidesz mafia.

PS and OT:

We’re in Germany right now, I’ve had a small operation but it all wnet well, I’m not writing too much but reading everything.

My wife just told me again that she’d prefer living in Germany – it’s so much nicer here and people like her and accept her – but of course her family is in Hungary and we don’t want to just skype and phone. And for them travelling to Germany regularly is way too expensive …

Carlito
Guest
Patent kapolcs: I have to spread some wisdom (osztani az észt), sorry. Politicians want power. And if they have it, they want more of it. That is how the system works and has worked since humans established communities more complex than the family unit. As a result there should be no surprise that politicians have personal ambitions which almost always turn out to be more important than proffered national interests. Since there are three distinct organizations here (MSZP, E-14 and DK) and Együtt has, in addition, Milla and Szolidaritás it is no surprise that the the working together of at least five “big name” politicians, meaning individually ambitious and co-equal (at least in their minds) primadonnas (you should know these guys) will be more than difficult (especially as many of them never actually governed). This is how Orbán planned all along: he knows firsthand that even for him with his almost unparalleled power over his domain he has to compromise at times which makes governing rather difficult and exhausting (he is much more successful in pushing through laws and constitutions than with policy). With five big guys, it is simply impossible to govern or agree on anything. Period. I am… Read more »
Guest

What Carlito wrote are exactly my wife’s thoughts too:

Hungary will have to endure another four years of Fidesz’ reign and then (maybe!) it will be time for a return to normal …

So more people will leave the country and the rest will turn into a feudal society again with a few rich and a majority of underprivileged poor – and of course the crime rate will rise and Fidesz will claim:

It’s all the (insert the usual suspects here …) fault!

Paul
Guest

Glad your op went well, Wolfi. Always a bit worrying having to go into hospital, even for minor things – especially for those of us who are not as young as we were. You never know if you’re going to come out with more complications than you went in with!

Interesting to hear your wife’s views. Even my Fidesz-supporting wife is starting to say things about how much better the UK is and how she’s glad she doesn’t live in Hungary any more. Although it’s funny how she can see the problems, but not understand why they’re happening.

For instance, she moaned all holiday about the new transaction tax – every time we pay by card, we get charged £1! But when I pointed out that it was down to her man Orbán, she wasn’t convinced, blaming it instead (predictably) on the banks.

A Reader
Guest
So where are the Hungarian people during all this? – Where are the people that were ready to hang Gyurcsány for a 300 Forint fee just a few years back? – Where are the Hungarian people that were screaming, crying and kicking when Bajnai suggested to remove the 13th pension pay-out? – Where are the people that spit the left side politicians in the face while walking home because the fuel price spiked at one stage during the previous government? – Where are all those people that caused outrage in 2006 because they didn’t have the brains to actually read the whole ‘Őszödi beszéd’, instead listening to a single media bite? – Why is it 600,000 people had to leave Hungary yet they couldn’t even organize a single demonstration with at least a minimum 600,000 people? The questions just go on… It’s time for the Hungarian people to take back their country, sure the politicians can be a good tool but it wont be enough to sit back this time. At the risk of quoting a U.S. politician or two: “My fellow Americans (edit Hungarians), ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for… Read more »
Member
A Reader : So where are the Hungarian people during all this? – Where are the people that were ready to hang Gyurcsány for a 300 Forint fee just a few years back? – Where are the Hungarian people that were screaming, crying and kicking when Bajnai suggested to remove the 13th pension pay-out? – Where are the people that spit the left side politicians in the face while walking home because the fuel price spiked at one stage during the previous government? – Where are all those people that caused outrage in 2006 because they didn’t have the brains to actually read the whole ‘Őszödi beszéd’, instead listening to a single media bite? – Why is it 600,000 people had to leave Hungary yet they couldn’t even organize a single demonstration with at least a minimum 600,000 people? The questions just go on… It’s time for the Hungarian people to take back their country, sure the politicians can be a good tool but it wont be enough to sit back this time. At the risk of quoting a U.S. politician or two: “My fellow Americans (edit Hungarians), ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you… Read more »
Kirsten
Guest

Paul, in Bp the Gyurcsany posters were just announcing that he has a new party. I think that should be related to what Eva wrote, people do not know that he is not in MSzP anymore. (Strange but…)

The changing views of your wife are reassuring, even if she does not yet see the connections to OV. In the end football stadiums will not be more relevant than education or health care or the decay of the public sphere.

About the election law: the ‘lists’ must have some meaning, so it is not a pure majoritarian election law. But I have not yet understood either to what extent the lists can change the composition of the parliament.

The split in the opposition is for me based mainly on the interpretation of the past 20 years. It is certainly not easy to understand why cooperation with MSzP is ‘better’ than with DK, but what is necessary is a very self-critical stance of both MSzP and DK (people in it). Just to make sure that a ‘fourth republic’ will emerge and not some third reloaded.

Christopher Adam
Guest

Maybe it’s time for Gyurcsány to bow out gracefully. He is a good campaigner and I acknowledge that he has been clearer and more consistent than either Bajnai or Mesterházy in his stinging critique of the Orbán regime. I also think that DK’s political platform is much more clearly defined than that of the somewhat nebulous Együtt 2014, but this only matters to political junkies (like myself) who actually follow these developments, and we are a small minority of the electorate. If nearly two years after leaving MSZP and establishing DK, most voter still don’t know anything about the party and many don’t even realize that he has left the Socialists, maybe it’s time to call it quits. It’s abundantly clear that he is now a third wheel when it comes to the Mesterházy-Bajnai duo.

But Gyurcsány is correct in noting that the failure to field a single candidate for PM (in fact, the failure to nominate anyone at all) is a real problem. I would not be surprised if Orbán ducks out of any televised debate, using the excuse that there is no alternative candidate for PM for him to spar with.

petofi
Guest

Eva S. Balogh :
E-14 managed to get an exceptionally good deal. 31 districts with its 6% share of the votes. Given their standing they didn’t deserve that much.

Orders direct from the commissar: “Give them enough rope to hang themselves.”

The dogs are barking and the natives joyously laughing in Felcsut…

Guest

Totally OT (or maybe not …):

A new parliament will be elected in Germany on Sept 22 and there’s an on line program called Wahl-o-mat where you answer 38 questions – your answers are compared with the party programs and you get a percentage of agreement for the different parties.
Now I did this just for fun and can you imagine my percentages:
79 % Pirate Party!!!
78 % Left aka Communists – which I couldn’t imagine ever voting for
77 % Greens
75 % Social Democrats
56 % Liberals
and even
45 % Christian Democrats !!!
which just means that there are a lot of common ideas between these parties – like keeping the €, staying in NATO etc

Only the loonies don’t want to allow same sex marriage, ask for leaving the EU and want border controls between the EU states again …

Member
OT: Why people fear? Why people elect Fidesz buddies? Your answer is in Esztergom. People vote for Fidesz out of fear. Look at Esztergom and Hodmezovasarhely. What will happen to you if you go against Fidesz, and what will happen to you when you support Fidesz? Look at the land leases, the tobacco shops, and the credit unions? All Fidesz believers are saved, while those who went against the tide were stripped off of their livelihood. Back to the peculiar situation of the city, Esztergom (or more so its mayor). As this has been discussed over and pver on Eva’s blog I spare you form the details regarding the conflict but I included the appropriate links at the bottom of the page. In short the city brought on itself the wrath of Orban and his busy Fidesz minions when they decided to kick out and say goodbye to the provenly corrupt Fidesz mayor and democratically elected the highly qualified Eva Tetenyi. If you want to learn more about Tetenyi, you should NOT read the English version of wikipedia, as with most things related to Hungary on wiki is taken over by the friends of Fidesz, who in full time boot… Read more »
Member
Eva S. Balogh : The Orbán government revived the tradition of military schools. The only difference is that before 1948 the poor boys began their studies in these military gymnasiums at age of 10, now they will start at age of fourteen. The first one just opened in Debrecen. The school accepted 70 students and apparently it is so popular that only one out of ten applicants was accepted. I am not sure why is this makes me feel so uneasy. I have many friends’s who’s children is enrolled as Cadets here in Toronto (http://www.aircadetleague.on.ca) and they have so much fun. I know girls too who are in the program. It is lots of fun and they learn discipline and survival technique. Why is it that I do not feel the same about the Hungarian efforts? Maybe it is because the cadets here is an extracurricular activity that becomes “full time” only for the Summer, and because the motivation has little to do with the hopelessness of finding a job after school. I am not sure what motivates so many kids to sign up to a military school in such young age. I know that military career is cool in… Read more »
Margot
Guest

Thank you for the recommendation, Eva. The book is available on Kindle, the English title is “School at the frontier”. I just ordered it.

Guest

Ottlik must have been quite a guy:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%A9za_Ottlik
The novel was also published in German: Die Schule an der Grenze
He also translated a lot of famous authors into Hungarian: George Bernard Shaw, Evelyn Waugh, Thomas Mann und Stefan Zweig

Guest

Here’s a very positive review (in the prominent German Deutschlandradio):
http://www.dradio.de/dkultur/sendungen/kritik/983340/
Btw, the novel was only published in Germany in 2009 ???

Paul
Guest

Margot :
Thank you for the recommendation, Eva. The book is available on Kindle, the English title is “School at the frontier”. I just ordered it.

Unfortunately, only on Kindle. Anyone know if you can read a Kindle download on an Android phone?

Member
Eva S. Balogh : Re Some1′s worries about military schools. It is possible that Canadian military schools have a good reputation but as far as I know the U.S. ones do not. When one hears about a military academy (basically a high school and boarding school) one thinks of a bunch of boys who have behavior problems and their parents decided that these military schools will take care of all their problems. They will come home as well-disciplined model children. I also gained the impression that these schools are academically inferior. By the way, Albert Wass, the controversial, mediocre and Nazi Hungarian (Transylvanian) writer who was condemned to death in absentia after the war in Romania taught in one of these so-called military academies in Florida. Hungarians not familiar with the status of these military academies thought that this academy was a very reputable institution, something like West Point. I had to straighten them out that teaching in one of these schools meant nothing. I just checked a very embellished Vikipedia entry on Albert Wass and there I learned that he got a degree in forestry at the Economic University of Debrecen. But the problem is that there is nothing… Read more »
An
Guest

Paul :

Margot :
Thank you for the recommendation, Eva. The book is available on Kindle, the English title is “School at the frontier”. I just ordered it.

Unfortunately, only on Kindle. Anyone know if you can read a Kindle download on an Android phone?

Yes, Amazon has the Kindle app for Android as well.

Thomas
Guest

Ottlik was unbelievable man, writer and bridge player and bridge writer. I had the privilege to play bridge against him. ( of course my game was at a much lower level, nevertheless it was fun.) His book was translated into many languages. A masterpiece.

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