Potpourri: Forex loans, the duped MSZP, and outraged patriots in Stockholm

I decided to touch on several topics today instead of concentrating on only one. The reason? All three recent political events are still in flux. We have no idea how and when they will be settled.

Two of the three topics I’m going to talk about are not new to readers of Hungarian Spectrum. One is the story of the fraudulent video taken in Baja after the repeated by-election at one of the polling stations. The other is the continuing saga of the Swedish TV program on Hungary. And finally, today’s news is that a decision was finally made on the fate of Forex debts that over 100,000 people are unable to pay back.

Let me start with the last topic, the government debt relief scheme. Today’s announcement of the impending government action came unexpectedly and, in usual Fidesz fashion, the measure will be passed by parliament tomorrow. It seems that in the last minute the Orbán government got cold feet and didn’t dare go ahead with their original, radical plan that would have made the banks bear the entire burden. Critics warned that if the government followed through on the plan the entire Hungarian banking system would collapse. So, it seems that they settled for a less onerous solution. As I understand the proposed plan, people with mortgages in foreign currencies will be able to temporarily repay them at below-market exchange rates. Mortgages denominated in Swiss francs can be paid in forints at an exchange rate of 180 forints instead of the current 241. Those with mortgages in euros can convert them at 250 forints instead of 296. The difference between the spot and discount rates will be held in a temporary account, with the banks and the government splitting the interest and some of the costs involved. Mortgage holders will have five years in which to repay the exchange rate difference. Anyone who would wants more details of the plan should consult Margit Fehér’s article in The Wall Street Journal.

Now let’s go back to Sweden. I mentioned in an earlier post that Swedish public television broadcast a program about Hungary on October 23 which, in the opinion of the Hungarian government, contained factual errors and generalizations that reflected badly on Hungary and its people. They found it especially galling that this “anti-Hungarian” documentary was broadcast on the anniversary of the Hungarian revolution of 1956.

In my earlier post I called attention to Viktor Orbán’s order to the ambassadors to defend the good name of Hungary every time there is an alleged attack on the country. As one of the undersecretaries of the Hungarian Foreign Ministry, Gergely Prőhle, said on ATV yesterday, “the ministry’s employees are a disciplined lot” and therefore they took Orbán’s words seriously. Since Prőhle had earlier been ambassador to Switzerland and Germany, he was asked what he would have done had he been in Lilla Makkay’s shoes. It seems that Prőhle, who is among the more moderate voices in the Foreign Ministry, feels compelled to follow the official line. He announced that Ambassador Makkay did the right thing and that he would have done the same thing. He emphasized that Makkay was polite and spoke in Swedish.

I don’t blame either Makkay or Prőhle. After all, they are representatives of the Hungarian government. I do, however, blame the Orbán government which instructs the country’s ambassadors to interfere with the media of western countries. I also blame this government for creating an atmosphere that encourages the right-wing press to write an open letter to the Swedish ambassador in Budapest. We know that if Zsolt Bayer, Ur-Fidesz, opens his mouth, the consequences are always dire. I bet that after someone translated Bayer’s open letter the Swedish ambassador no longer had any doubts about whom she was dealing with. And if someone added that he is an old friend of Viktor Orbán, I’m sure she was just thrilled.

Kumin’s letter, Makkay’s scolding, and her invitation to journalists to come to the Hungarian embassy didn’t achieve anything. Or, rather, it did but not exactly what the great defenders of Hungary’s reputation had hoped for. The same program that broadcast the documentary on Hungary in the first place returned to the subject a week later and told its audience what had happened during the last week. The Hungarian government and its representative in Stockholm looked ridiculous.

confusion2And finally, there is the ongoing story of the fraudulent video. Whoever hired the four or five Roma to stage the gathering that was supposed to prove that Fidesz bought Roma votes at the by-election picked the wrong men. Their stories not only made no sense initially, they couldn’t keep their stories straight. One of their claims, that a MSZP politician ordered the tape from Róbert G., seems to have been disproved. At least this is what the politician’s polygraph test indicates.

Of course, the real question is who was behind Róbert G. and the others. It’s possible that local Fidesz politicians, Róbert Zsigó, and Csaba Kovács, hired the Romas. Some evidence points in that direction. In a conversation with Olga Kálmán shortly after the second round of voting Zsigó told her that on Saturday, that is a day before the election, he received information that the opposition parties were planning to create a video that would implicate Fidesz in vote buying. He added that he immediately went to the police with the information. A few days later Máté Kocsis repeated the same story on one of MTV’s evening programs. As we know by now, the video was created on Monday. Strange, isn’t it?

In any case, Ildikó Lendvai was right when on Sunday in an interview on ATV she said that “we were duped,” adding that no one likes people who are considered to be saps. Endre Aczél wrote two excellent short articles about the case entitled Csali and Csali–II (The bait). I think that the scenario Aczél outlined in his first article is most likely very close to reality. But if that was the case, it was a dangerous game to play. On the other hand, no scandal is ever big enough to have much effect on Viktor Orbán, his party, or his 1.5 million strong followers.

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An
Guest

Re forex loans… I doubt this would be the end of the forex loan saga.

The article below quotes the government spokesman. “The step “would tackle the problem until court rulings concerning mortgages establish an unequivocal legal situation,” government spokesman Andras Giro-Szasz told reporters.”

http://blogs.wsj.com/emergingeurope/2013/11/04/hungary-bill-on-fx-mortgages-less-radical-than-feared/

Now in the case of any sane government this would be an indication of the government trying to back out of an unrealistic and dangerous plan…. but with Orban & Co this could just signal the start of something more sinister.

petofi
Guest

Since hapless Hungarians can’t think, it requires only that they be confused by conflicting stories to leave them thinking that the international conspiracy of jews and communists were behind the whole thing. The key is CONFUSION. Sow some, and the Bekemenet types rut into the expected conspiracy trap.

Tonio
Guest

Fidesz created a “fantastic” video, whoever did this project, will get a promotion at least. In order to plant the video I would think one needed a very daring professional (and Fidesz has many of them) and a some soft spot at the target (MSZP). MSZP is a bunch of losers by themselves, but probably also had some people who could be used for these purposes.

Nobody talks about Fidesz’ court-proven election fraud in Baja, people only remember “MSZP’s video.” Fidesz completely changed the narrative and what is more it inflicted a very deep wound on MSZP.

Fidesz always plays dangerously, but they are extremely good at it and they always prevail in the end.

Fidesz played this game already a numerous times and they always won, like when it was announced in 1998 that “MSZP survailled Fidesz illegally” and months later it turned out that nothing happened (except for Pinpoint Kft.’s Trabant-burning crazyness), but by that time Tamás Deutsch stole the media show.

Interestingly 444.hu is still unrelentingly pounding MSZP further as if it was the real culprit — but more likely the 444 guys like and dare tormenting the loser for some lough and looking down on.

tappanch
Guest

“lex Baja” is approved with extraordinary speed.

The third paragraph was taken out, so journalists cannot be jailed if they didn’t know whether the video was fake or not.

Still,

If I dress Orban in a clown’s outfit in a video [or I make a cartoon of Orban] in the future and upload it to the internet, I can be jailed for three years.

Because he did not really dress as a clown [or he does not live on a two-dimensional paper], so the video has “invalid” content.

Mockery is banned in Hungary.

Johnny Boy
Guest

Tonio :
Fidesz created a “fantastic” video

This is how the delirium of someone becomes the twisted reality ot another.
MSZP and/or DK created the video.

Johnny Boy
Guest

tappanch :
If I dress Orban in a clown’s outfit in a video [or I make a cartoon of Orban] in the future and upload it to the internet, I can be jailed for three years.
Because he did not really dress as a clown [or he does not live on a two-dimensional paper], so the video has “invalid” content.
Mockery is banned in Hungary.

I don’t know what kind of symptoms you produce but you are obviously completely uncoupled from reality.
Does it make feel you good to say such nonsense?
No harm came even to those “people” who erected a mock statue of Orbán, then decapitated it and then played soccer with the head through the city. You obviously liked this action because this is your moral and intellectual standard.
But say, does it give you satisfaction to claim nonsense?
Next time you will say the sky is green and grass is blue, and I’m sure you will feel very relaxed and good about it, maybe even feel a warming tingle about how curious and striking you were.

tappanch
Guest

@Johnny boy, stop ad hominem attacks!

I agree with you, this is nonsense. But Fidesz made it a law today.

The rough translation of the 777th (!!!) law Fidesz made since May 2010 follows:

Penal Code
226/A. § (1) If you make a sound or video tape in order diminish the dignity of other people, you can be jailed for 1 year, if other crimes you did not commit

226/B. § (1) If you publish such tape, you can be jailed for 2 years.

226/B. § (2) If you publish it to wide audience or if you cause “substantial damage” to the interest of other people you can be jailed for 3 years.

http://www.parlament.hu/irom39/12865/12865.pdf

I think this is a totalitarian “law”.

Csaba K. Zoltani
Guest

Contrary to the attempted spin re: the fraudulent video, today the MSZP spokeperson resigned and it was admitted that the video came from the MSZP.

tappanch
Guest

@Csaba

The first part of the sentence is true – the spokesman has resigned.

I did not find any news about the second part – “admitted that the video came from the MSZP.” – I guess you made up the second part.

Csaba K. Zoltani
Guest

tappanch: A more thorough search of the media could convince you otherwise.

tappanch
Guest

What I am reading is that a committee will oversee Chairman Mesterhazy’s activities from now on:

http://index.hu/belfold/2013/11/05/lendvai_ildiko_es_kovacs_laszlo_lesz_mesterhazy_attila_tanacsadoja/

spectator
Guest

Csaba K. Zoltani :
Contrary to the attempted spin re: the fraudulent video, today the MSZP spokeperson resigned and it was admitted that the video came from the MSZP.

So, let’s see:
“..it was admitted..”>/i> – by whom? Would you mind to elaborate a bit, please?
“..that the video came from the MSZP.” – came to where, please?
Came to you, came to light, or to the Police?
What nobody denied so far, that the video went through the MSZP at one point, but nobody has managed to prove, that it originated there – in order to came from you know.

Please, pay a little more attention regarding your facts next time, will you?

szabad szabad szabad
Guest

There must be a mass movement to investigate the dirty tricks of finkelstein/orban.

The baja-tape must be a wake up call for, before the country will be lost.

Tyrker
Guest

spectator :
the video went through the MSZP at one point, but nobody has managed to prove that it originated there

Oh sure, they got their hands on a video that they thought showed their opponent buying votes – but instead of organising a huge press event to triumphantly show the recording to the assembled press, they singled out one news portal, gave the tape to the editor-in-chief in secret, and denied any involvement in discovering and delivering it for as long as they could, all out of modesty. Yeah sure! Come on, give me a break.- the very way they treated that video tells us they had a hand in making it in the first place.

spectator
Guest
Tyrker : spectator : the video went through the MSZP at one point, but nobody has managed to prove that it originated there Oh sure, they got their hands on a video that they thought showed their opponent buying votes – but instead of organising a huge press event to triumphantly show the recording to the assembled press, they singled out one news portal, gave the tape to the editor-in-chief in secret, and denied any involvement in discovering and delivering it for as long as they could, all out of modesty. Yeah sure! Come on, give me a break.- the very way they treated that video tells us they had a hand in making it in the first place. So you have a prof? Great! Problem solved then. I wonder, though, why dont you just “organise a huge press event” and present it..? Isn’t it so, that you’re committing the same mistake as the MSZP – nominally: both of you “assuming” something, but treating and presenting as fact? At the same time you already have the chance to know better – it didn’t worked to them either – so why don’t we wait with the condemnations till when it justified?… Read more »
spectator
Guest

Prof – proof, I hope you have guessed.
Sorry!

Johnny Boy
Guest

tappanch :
@Johnny boy, stop ad hominem attacks!

You know, this is the funniest response I’ve seen here. Ever.
There is absolutely nothing else against me here other than ad hominem attacks, but you want me to stop mine?

I agree with you, this is nonsense. But Fidesz made it a law today.
The rough translation of the 777th (!!!) law Fidesz made since May 2010 follows:
Penal Code

This law is against those like MSZP and/or DK. Who find it perfectly acceptable to forge videos to abuse their opponent. And this is a due law to prevent them from using their only means to get back to power.

Vasquez
Guest

To Csaba K. Zoltani and Johnny Boy/Girl:

Let’s make it clear for the record:

(A) nobody from MSZP admitted that he/she made or arranged to have the video made;

and

(B) no evidence emerged until now which would have proven that MSZP made it.

Instead, all circumstantial evidence, the modus operandi, previous pattern of behavior, opportunity, motivation point to Fidesz, to take down MSZP in classic kompromat style. It is not surprising why Fidesz is protecting the old guard security apparatus, they are pretty useful after all.

qaz
Guest

Two interesting citations to follow up on Tonio’s contribution that are relevant to the situation in Hungary
“He who allows himself to be insulted deserves to be” (Corneille)
“When you allow people to choose between the corrupt and the stupid, they will go for the corrupt” (Finkelstein)

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