The factious Hungarian opposition

Yesterday by 11 a.m. it became clear that there was no chance of an electoral alliance between the socialists and the representatives of the Demokratikus Koalíció. Perhaps there never was because, although Attila Mesterházy only a few hours before this final meeting gave a 50-50 chance of reaching an understanding, I suspect that the decision had already been reached to reject the DK proposals.

Shortly before the meeting Mesterházy claimed that his party hadn’t formulated its position on Ferenc Gyurcsány’s participation in the campaign and his advocacy of a common party list. However, most of the DK demands eventually put forth had been known for at least a week, and I assume that the socialist leadership was fully aware that Gyurcsány’s person would be on the agenda in one way or the other.

As it turned out, DK had seven demands: (1) there should be joint MSZP-DK candidates; (2) the number of districts should be based on the principle of proportionality; (3) DK should receive nine districts, three of which should be winnable, three hopeless, and three uncertain; (4) on the list a DK candidate should occupy every eighth place, again on the basis of proportionality; (5) the person of the candidate should be decided by each party; (6) MSZP should receive the first and DK the second place on the list although if MSZP doesn’t accept this DK is ready to consider their counter-proposal;  (7) DK’s top place on the list should go to the chairman of DK. So, DK was not adamant about the second place but certainly wanted Gyurcsány to be on the best DK place whichever that would be.

MSZP wasn’t in a negotiating mood. Their demands reminded me of Austria-Hungary’s ultimatum to Serbia in 1914, which was formulated in such a way that the Monarchy knew that there was no way Serbia could accept it. MSZP offered four districts to DK, none of which was winnable. Instead of every eighth place on the list, MSZP was only willing to place a DK candidate in every twenty-fifth. According to electoral mathematics, the largest number of seats the opposition can win from the list is fifty, which would mean that only one or two DK candidates would receive mandates. In addition, DK couldn’t represent its own political ideas and would have to follow the MSZP-Együtt14 line. MSZP didn’t want anything to do with Gyurcsány and, when pressed, it turned out that they also didn’t want to see Ágnes Vadai, Csaba Molnár, or László Varju anywhere near the campaign. (In addition to Gyurcsány these three people represent DK in the Hungarian media.) MSZP would have veto power over any candidate put forth by DK but DK wouldn’t have the same veto power over the MSZP candidates. This was unacceptable to the DK negotiating team.

If you recall, MSZP in January was the prime proponent of joint action with all democratic parties and groups while Együtt 2014 was stepping back from close cooperation with MSZP. They were undoubtedly afraid that Attila Mesterházy was planning to seize the opportunity to lead the future coalition. E14 decided to postpone further negotiations in the hope of gathering more support. Precious months were wasted in what turned out to be a futile effort. So, came the compromise agreement of no common list but common candidates. Some politically savvy people consider the agreement a very good idea while others view it as a failure and an indication of weakness and discord.

Együtt 2014 with its 6% of the electorate came out the real winner with 31 districts. MSZP didn’t fare as well (75 districts), especially since it was the socialists’ burden to reach an understanding with the other smaller parties. Of the three parties only DK has measurable support. We are talking about 100,000-150,000 voters for DK while MSZP has about 1.2 million. If we look only at these numbers DK’s demands sound reasonable. The real aim of the opposition, however, is to convince the large block of undecided voters. We don’t know the party preferences of about 40% of the electorate. The opposition parties’ real goal is to attract this large group to their ranks.

And here the socialists and E14 are convinced that if they embrace Ferenc Gyurcsány and DK they will attract fewer people from the ranks of the undecided. József Tóbiás in an interview yesterday disclosed that the party had conducted a poll that was designed to measure the effect of cooperation between MSZP and DK. The poll revealed to the party leadership that they would lose more votes with Gyurcsány than they would gain. This finding lay behind their decision. If this poll correctly measures the effect of a joint MSZP-DK ticket, then MSZP’s decision was logical. Of course, we know how a wrongly formulated question can distort the results.

Naturally this poll reflects only the current situation. One doesn’t know how MSZP’s rather abrupt negative attitude toward the other parties and groups will affect MSZP’s standing or the electorate’s attitude toward DK. It is possible that they will consider MSZP too high-handed and uncompromising and DK an underdog. They may think that MSZP is not serious about unity, not resolute enough in its determination to unseat Viktor Orbán and Fidesz.

opinion pollOne could also ask MSZP whether the poll inquired about those possible voters who under no circumstances would vote for MSZP, because apparently they are also numerous. What about those who think of E14 as a party with no well defined political agenda? Only yesterday Szabolcs Kerék Bárczy, the last spokesman of Ibolya Dávid’s MDF, complained about Együtt 2014’s lack of political coherence. He pointed out that although E14’s avowed aim is to attract liberal conservatives, there is not one conservative in its ranks. Moreover, how can these people be attracted to a group whose members often applaud Orbán’s nationalization or who make statements against free markets and competition? Kerék Bárczy is thinking here of some people in the PM group with their decidedly leftist views of the world. Liberal conservatives, he says, will not vote for either E14 or MSZP. Because it looks as if MSZP is going to make a sharp turn to the left since some party leaders claim that MSZP’s failure stemmed from its move toward liberalism under Ferenc Gyurcsány’s chairmanship.

Kerék Bárczy doesn’t understand why MSZP nine months before the elections suddenly stiffened its attitude and refused to negotiate with anyone. He puts forward the question: what will happen if the poll numbers change as a result of these failed negotiations and a serious attempt by DK to attract more followers? What will E14 and MSZP do? Renegotiate their agreement? It will be difficult to change course without losing face.

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Jun2
Guest

David Axelrod is plotting against Gyurcsany.
Luckily, MSZP has nothing close to the financial prowess of Kerry or Obama.
Gyurcsany must repeat the Howard Dean revolt with outpouring success.
Hopefully, Dr. Laszlo Bito may support him, and Hungary.

spectator
Guest
Losing face – or losing an election? What, if the MSZP wrong, and the DK has much more supporters and will have even more on election day, than the E14? As things progressing it wouldn’t surprise me a single bit. In my opinion the NSZP-E14 agreement is fundamentally wrong, that part certainly, what gives 31 district to an unproven entity based entirely on credit yet to be proven, while in effect freezing out everyone else from this union. So far the E14 couldn’t really show up anything or anybody for that matter beside Bajnai, so, if Gyurcsány manages with the timing to build up momentum just when it needed, there is a real possibility, that they will be the second opposition power. Not to mention that scenario, if he opens up for the other fringe parties/motions and joining forces, they certainly would reach out to those “undecided” quite successfully. Yes, of course, I am aware of the arguments regarding the alleged hate toward Gyurcsány, but I’ve already mentioned, that in my opinion people rather goes with a strong character who actually doing something – whatever in value it might be – than the soft-spoken lukewarm “nice guy” who trying to… Read more »
Paul
Guest

Orbán goes to bed tonight a happy man.

petofi
Guest

“Orbán goes to bed tonight a happy man.”

Mesterhazy is a trojan: both prophylactic and subterfuge.

Orban: sleeping…and laughing

Lwiiiiiwhiiiiiw
Guest
The undecideds are a much bigger portion than DK’s currently measured number of voters, or let’s even be generous and double the number of DK’s voters. It’s a gamble for MSZP, sure, but one they felt they had to take. And of course, they don’t like Gyurcsány as he broke off and divided the party and caused a lot of internal conflicts, and Mesterházy does not like Gyurcsány especially, who sees Gyurcsány as an obvious competitor. Once MSZP reached the conclusion that there was not much to gain through DK, they had to look tough: I mean DK polls at let’s say 1/8 of MSZP, so the latter could not treat DKas equal and generous, it would show MSZP’s usual weakness and overly generousness. But simply there were no compelling enough reasons to work together at this point. I think MSZP feels much less threatened by Együtt because MSZP doesn’t think that Együtt can be a long-term competition. It’s currently a party that was put together for one election. Neither Bajnai, nor others including Szigetvári emerged as a charismatic person threatening the position of the leader of the biggest party of the left, a position which Mesterházy wants to keep… Read more »
tappanch
Guest

New record in the Hungarian health care. There is a five-year waiting period for a knee surgery in Gyor.

If the waiting period is longer than 6 months, the patient can go abroad to seek treatment.

http://hvg.hu/egeszseg/20130912_Rekorhosszu_varolistak_van_ahol_majdnem_5

Guest

My late neighbour’s wife was told she’d had to wait at least a year for that knee joint – she was lucky that her son packed her in his car and took her to a private hospital in Budapest …

A few days later she returned home with her new joint …

He paid around one million HUF for his mother’s operation – she couldn’t have afforded that as a widow on a small pension …

tappanch
Guest

There is no limit…

The company of the mayor of Felcsut will receive taxpayers’ money to build sewage in Budapest.

http://hvg.hu/gazdasag/20130911_A_fovarosban_is_tarol_a_felcsuti_polgarme

Ron
Guest

tappanch :
New record in the Hungarian health care. There is a five-year waiting period for a knee surgery in Gyor.
If the waiting period is longer than 6 months, the patient can go abroad to seek treatment.
http://hvg.hu/egeszseg/20130912_Rekorhosszu_varolistak_van_ahol_majdnem_5

Really, and who is paying for this? The patient or the Social Security Office, or alternatively the Social Security Office only partial and the rest the patient?

Ron
Guest

tappanch :
There is no limit…
The company of the mayor of Felcsut will receive taxpayers’ money to build sewage in Budapest.
http://hvg.hu/gazdasag/20130911_A_fovarosban_is_tarol_a_felcsuti_polgarme

As it is the EU paying for most of it, and since the other Fidesz companies are scrutinized by the EU, they need some fresh blood.

tappanch
Guest

Porn billionaire Gattyan just opened a luxury store in Andrassy Ut for the super rich of Hungary.

By accident, who is coming out of the store? This is Mr Habony, chief advisor to Orban…
(from 1:15 to 1:30)

http://index.indavideo.hu/video/A_luxushaborunak_vege_nincs_fenyzobb_aruhaz_Magyarorszagon

Pelikan elvtárs
Guest
Unfortunately, there is some very hard truth in this article (see link below, in Hungarian), Orbán telling his views about the opposition. About the left likened to a bizon who became too complacent (and grew old and rare) while Fidesz, according to Orbán, is more like a greyhound (I guess meaning, what is true actually, nonstop working, never stopping thinking about political dangers, managing its organisation, managing the media, etc.). According to Orbán, the ideology of the left is represented by Szárszó (“elszárszósodott” referring to Balatonszárszó, a place at Balaton, where some media personality holds a summer party for leftist dinosaurs, as if it was 1995, the early MSZP-SZDSZ government) meaning the same old leftist people meet, who were there in 1992 (or in 1986), and there is practically no new blood or ideas going into the left. All those Haha guys and the other demonstrators of the spring — they are just a bunch burgeois kids complaining about their iphones, no real adversaries of Fidesz. And while I agree that Orbán’s circle is still there after 25 years, the ideologic right consists of a lot of new and old intellectuals, who became famous or active relatively recently. That said,… Read more »
tappanch
Guest

Mr Gattyan is the biggest taxpayer in the country and must be a good employer.
His best “model” earned almost $32,000 in August alone. He pays bi-weekly.

—-

On the other hand, the state Health Care fund OEP, which is not in deficit (as opposed to the government) has not been paying the cleaners of the hospitals. The cleaners are owed 53 billion (!) forints.

http://nol.hu/gazdasag/_milliardokkal_tartozik_az_oep_a_takarito_cegeknek

tappanch
Guest

The Kuria (formerly called Supreme Court) rejected the challenges to a referendum against parts of the “tobacco license” legislation.

The referendum can now go ahead after 200,000 preliminary signatures are collected.

1. Do you agree that the state-guaranteed profit of the tobacco shops should be rolled back to 3.3% from the current 10%?

2. Do you agree that the tobacco shops should sell tobacco products only?

http://www.lb.hu/hu/sajto/tajekoztato-kuria-dohanytermekek-arusitasaval-kapcsolatos-orszagos-nepszavazasi

An
Guest

@Pelikan elvtars: ” And the current left cannot attract younger people because it’s not cool to associate with MSZP or Együtt. ”

Fidesz is working very actively to propagate that image… as the Orban interview clearly shows. Yeah, of course, MSzP is too old to be “cool”, the HaHa kids are just kids … just look at what happened with the fresh faces in the opposition, like Milla, LMP.. they just get lumped together with the “Left” and suddenly they are very uncool… how convenient! I think that without Fidesz’s active “help” (Fidesz is practically telling the population what to think of everybody), the opposition’s image would be a lot more “cool”.
The lesson is: don’t let yourself be influenced by Fidesz propaganda.

tappanch
Guest

Eva S. Balogh :
Re Referendum. I think that will sail through.

I think the new “National” Election Commission with 3/4 Fidesz super majority will trip the referendum sooner or later.

Fideszniks promised to preempt it with new legislation: they might lower the guaranteed profit to 3.3% and give the rest of the profit in an indirect way.

They do not want an anti-Fidesz referendum. (according to the new law on referendums, the turnout must be 50% or more – are ethnic Hungarians in Transylvania included in the 100%?)

Member
I think the opposition is as much responsible the disgrace of Hungary as Fidesz and Orban. We can put it whatever way we like it, but most of Hungarian politicians are there for one thing only, for their own interest. It is not about what is the best for Hungary. Hungary is the centre of the Caucasian Chalk Circle. Honestly the EU, Fidesz, MSZP and all of them could care less. If they would care they would act properly. Many visitors on this blog over analyzing the whole political nonsense, but in reality it has no bearing. Hungarians themselves (with a few exceptions) fail to act, except this nonsense, believe in some sort of deus ex machine. I am sad to see Hungary going to the dogs, but most Hungarians deserve it. THere is no empathy for the poor, there is no uproar against the education “reform”, there is no protest about the lost retirement money, no people march on the street for democracy. THe Hungarian football hooligans are able to collect more people for their “uprising” then most local “protest”. The students who went against Fidesz will leave the country soon with their education, leave behind the scum that… Read more »
Pelikán elvtárs
Guest
An: you are right. But politics is about perception. If young people think and more importantly has been thinking so for 10-15 years that MSZP is uncool than it’s a fact, even if it is was just a perception, supported by Orbán originally. Why does not have Fidesz the same kind of image problem?? None of the younger HaHa etc. kids wanted to be associated with the organised left in any way — although admittedly anti-party sentiment is everywhere, it’s not unique to Hungary. Also, surely the kids thought that Fidesz would even more oppose their causes if they reveal themselves as leftists. That said, the truth is that there is no new and loyal leftist party ideology in Hungary. Crazily, the most sophisticted leftist analyst is still TGM, but he is not a party ideologue. Whereas all the writers, intellectuals at all the new right wing/conservative periodicals, journals, all conservative teachers etc. all support and come out for Fidesz. They are not just any right wing intellectuals, they are also, above all, Fidesz supporters. That you certainly don’t have on the left. Who are those MSZP or Együtt big names other than Iván Vitányi, Ágnes Heller (even if I… Read more »
tappanch
Guest

“Minden nemzetnek olyan kormánya van, aminőt érdemel. Ha valami oknál fogva ostoba vagy komisz emberek ülnek egy bölcs és becsületes nép nyakára, akkor a nép azokat a silány fickókat minél hamarabb a pokol fenekére küldi. De ha egy hitvány kormány huzamosan megmarad a helyén, akkor bizonyos, hogy a nemzetben van a hiba. ”

from a novel by Miklos Suranyi 1936 [so this is NOT a genuine quote from Szechenyi],
resurrected in 2002 by the the defeated “right wing” as a saying by Szechenyi.

“Toute nation a le gouvernement qu’elle mérite”

Maistre, 1810

http://www.urbanlegends.hu/2007/03/minden-nemzetnek-olyan-kormanya-van-aminot-erdemel/

googly
Guest
Some1 : I think the opposition is as much responsible the disgrace of Hungary as Fidesz and Orban. We can put it whatever way we like it, but most of Hungarian politicians are there for one thing only, for their own interest. It is not about what is the best for Hungary. Hungary is the centre of the Caucasian Chalk Circle. Honestly the EU, Fidesz, MSZP and all of them could care less. If they would care they would act properly. Many visitors on this blog over analyzing the whole political nonsense, but in reality it has no bearing. Hungarians themselves (with a few exceptions) fail to act, except this nonsense, believe in some sort of deus ex machine. I am sad to see Hungary going to the dogs, but most Hungarians deserve it. THere is no empathy for the poor, there is no uproar against the education “reform”, there is no protest about the lost retirement money, no people march on the street for democracy. THe Hungarian football hooligans are able to collect more people for their “uprising” then most local “protest”. The students who went against Fidesz will leave the country soon with their education, leave behind the… Read more »
An
Guest

@Pelikan elvtars: You’re right, the left and the opposition should do a better job to manage their image. But we could start the image management on the left by not propagating Orban’s definitions of cool and uncool any further… if you keep lamenting on how MSzP is uncool, you just further reinforce this image… and that’s’ exactly why Fidesz throws this idea out there in the press from time to time.

All I’m saying, while retrospection is good, you still shouldn’t let Fidesz define you.

An
Guest

Sorry, I mean introspection.

Guest
This is all so depressing – only ” Pelikán elvtárs ” made me laugh today, a tanu is still one of my (and my wife’s …) favourite films … I think that a lot of the left’s problems are because it seems that there was no clear cut in 1989! I wasn’t here in Hungary of course but the experience in East Germany was very clear: Everybody who was politically active in the old system was tainted – and only a few managed to return to the political scene – unless you count our crazy communists/Stalinists aka “Die Linke” … A bit OT: Some of these so called communists tried in the middle 80s to convince me of the superiority of East Germany aka the DDR in comparison with the BRD – in culture, sports. freedom (!) – only the production of cars was a bit backwards, but that would soon change! There even was a book where someone calculated that “real communism” might come to fruit in the year 2015 or 2020 … That was a funny, almost extra-Galactic experience listening to these people – and even today I’m not sure whether they really believed what they were saying… Read more »
Pelikan elvtárs
Guest

An: got it, true.

petofi
Guest
Some1 : I think the opposition is as much responsible the disgrace of Hungary as Fidesz and Orban. We can put it whatever way we like it, but most of Hungarian politicians are there for one thing only, for their own interest. It is not about what is the best for Hungary. Hungary is the centre of the Caucasian Chalk Circle. Honestly the EU, Fidesz, MSZP and all of them could care less. If they would care they would act properly. Many visitors on this blog over analyzing the whole political nonsense, but in reality it has no bearing. Hungarians themselves (with a few exceptions) fail to act, except this nonsense, believe in some sort of deus ex machine. I am sad to see Hungary going to the dogs, but most Hungarians deserve it. THere is no empathy for the poor, there is no uproar against the education “reform”, there is no protest about the lost retirement money, no people march on the street for democracy. THe Hungarian football hooligans are able to collect more people for their “uprising” then most local “protest”. The students who went against Fidesz will leave the country soon with their education, leave behind the… Read more »
Paul
Guest

“I think the left apart from Gyurcsány still does not understand its adversary well enough.”

Or at all.

Rather bizarrely, Hungary’s only hope is Gyurcsány. He is the only one who understand clearly what’s happened and knows what needs to be done. And he is also the only one who can get those messages across. He is sewing the seeds for the eventual overthrow of Orbán.

But Fidesz aren’t stupid, they will soon realise this (if they haven’t already done so). They will step up their anti-Gy campaign, but It won’t make any difference (how much more damage can they do to GY?). Eventually, they will have to stop him – somehow.

petofi
Guest

“Image”…”smimage”–what nonsense.
Hungarians want something: MSZP sometimes buy off a segment with the 13th month of pension. Not being in power, they’re at a loss.
Fidesz? They steal the country blind but give the people ‘hopes, dreams, and nostalgia’.

That’s sumptin’, ain’t it?

spectator
Guest

petofi :
Fidesz? They steal the country blind but give the people ‘hopes, dreams, and nostalgia’.
That’s sumptin’, ain’t it?

Except there is no hope. the rest is correct, doubtless.

spectator
Guest

“…Why did the members of DK allow Gyurcsány to even join them? That last question can be answered by the fact that Gyurcsány has the money and the power, but he also obviously has a huge black mark against him that he hasn’t done a very good job of getting rid of. “
Googly, for the record: Gyurcsány didn’t join to the DK, he created it, the others joined to him.

wpDiscuz