János Zuschlag and the bogus parties: What is Fidesz doing?

As you know, I did not want to talk about the infamous Zuschlag case because I consider this man a pathological liar and a first-rate crook. But in light of new evidence, I changed my mind. It seems that János Zuschlag, a former socialist member of parliament, not only approached Fidesz and offered to write his “tell-all” book but was involved in other schemes as well.

Fidesz did everything to promote the forthcoming book and the dirt it contained. For instance, two well-known associates of Századvég, the think-tank with Fidesz roots, held a pre-publication interview with this crook in Napi Gazdaság, a publication recently purchased by Századvég. But Fidesz leaders should have been more circumspect. Zuschlag seems to be linked to a blossoming electoral fraud case involving bogus parties.

Let me explain. Zuschlag, it seems, wasn’t satisfied with profiting from book sales and the advance he most likely received from Fidesz. Since he is a born crook, he noticed sometime last year that there was an opportunity to get millions thanks to the Fidesz electoral law that allows newly created parties to compete in the forthcoming election. The law naturally was written with a view to weakening the opposition by taking votes away from the bona fide opposition parties.

Zuschlag has a long history of shady affairs. Already during his career in MSZP. In 2002-2203 Zuschlag was caught “enlarging” the county cells of MSZP and its youth organization, the Fiatal Baloldal–Ifjú Szocialisták (FIBISZ). He filled the county cells with bogus members. He started with his own district in Kiskunhalas and also enlisted like-minded friends in Vas County, near the Austrian border. When the MSZP leadership discovered the fraudulently enlarged cells, they closed them. One person who was involved in this fraud in Vas County was Péter Táncsics, whose real passion in life is to play cards.

"Watch out, business parties!

“Watch out, business parties!

Investigative journalists now suspect that the two most suspicious “business parties,” Új Dimenzió and Új Magyarország, are connected to János Zuschlag and Péter Táncsics. These two bogus parties are definitely linked to one another through the person of Péter Táncsics. Both parties are registered at Táncsics’s Kőszeg address. Originally Táncsics and his accomplices planned to organize three parties, but they had no luck with the third, Mindenki Pártja (Everybody’s Party). The other two parties, however, managed to get plenty of signatures, most of which are fraudulent. It is also clear that these two “parties” exchanged signatures and as a result they collected the necessary number of endorsements even before Fidesz did. Most importantly, these two “business parties” will receive 1.2 billion forints from taxpayer money.

The Fidesz leadership must have known about Zuschlag’s involvement with these “business parties” since Heti Válasz reported on it in its February 28 issue. But in that case why did they decide to promote Zuschlag’s book in Napi Gazdaság? Did they hope to accuse MSZP of being engaged in electoral fraud? That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. To my mind Zuschlag’s involvement with these two new parties only shows that he is a first-rate crook and that most likely his “confessions” are a pack of lies. And that certainly doesn’t reflect well on Fidesz.

As for the pack of lies. Although I had no opportunity to read Zuschlag’s book, the few details I gleaned from reviews simply don’t add up. For those who are not familiar with the story, Zuschlag claims that he received 50 million forints from Ildikó Lendvai, leader of the MSZP parliamentary delegation, to “persuade” him not to run as an MSZP candidate in the 2006 election. Lendvai rightly pointed out that one didn’t have to pay anything to Zuschlag or anyone else not to run. Parties can simply withhold endorsements. Period.

Zuschlag in his book also claims that Ferenc Gyurcsány “earlier offered him money” to resign his seat after he cracked a tasteless joke about the victims of the Holocaust which was overheard by the crew of HírTV. I do believe that Gyurcsány wanted to get rid of him, but much earlier than the 2004 incident that resulted in Zuschlag’s resignation. Gyurcsány, who headed the Ministry of Youth and Sports between May 2003 and September 2004, had a very low opinion of his undersecretary whom he inherited from his predecessor, György Jánosi (MSZP). Why didn’t he get rid of Zuschlag? I can only guess: most likely because Zuschlag had some patrons within the party who argued that he was an important asset in attracting young members to the party.

What is Fidesz doing with Zuschlag? It is hard to fathom. Perhaps someone was asleep at the switch. I don’t know. We always think that Fidesz’s communication and political strategy is faultless, but perhaps here Zuschlag got the better of them.

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tappanch
Guest

Here is the ballot sheet finalized today.

http://nepszava.hu/galeria/605/fullscreen/

Notice that there are two fake parties with names that will likely confuse some opposition voters: #14 and #16.

The real opposition party is #17.

HiBoM
Guest

I’ll be accused of being a Fidesz troll for this but hey ho, I’ll press ahead anyway. This sentence raised my eyebrows somewhat: “Why didn’t he get rid of Zuschlag? I can only guess: most likely because Zuschlag had some patrons within the party who argued that he was an important asset in attracting young members to the party.” No, knowing the MSZP, it is rather more like that he had patrons in the party who were benefiting from his criminality and that what he was up to was just part of a much larger web of deceit that in part, made it hard to eject him. And I’ll repeat what I was told by someone with strong MSZP contacts back in 2005: Zuschlag was given a 50 million forints pay off to resign his seat following the Holocaust comments. Not exactly the story he is telling but a bit of a coincidence nonetheless (and I did go to Magyar Narancs with it who had heard similar).

I think Fidesz are pretty confident that people will focus on the Gyurcsány/MSZP aspects of Zuschlag and not care (or perhaps not even be informed) of his shady dealings with bogus parties.

Szabad Magyarorszag!
Guest

Liberation of Hungary is our dream again.

Liberation from oppressing historians, lawyers, doctors, mayors, prime ministers.

It will be nice when the same people, after admitting their mistakes, will work on the liberation from oppression.

Orban may run the country again if he cleans up the street from soccer hooligans, and the ministries from crooked lawyers and industrialist.

A little refund from his fabulous wealth will be also appreciated.

Marcel Dé (@MarcelD10)
Guest

Eva S. Balogh :Lendvai rightly pointed out that one didn’t have to pay anything to Zuschlag or anyone else not to run. Parties can simply withhold endorsements. Period.

Theoretically speaking, couldn’t he have threatened to run as an independent, possibly diverting votes from his former party? I don’t know about Hungary, but in other countries this is often dealt with at a certain cost (though fortunately seldom in cash).

tappanch
Guest

Fidesz uses local government money and organization for its party campaign – a view from the ground level of district 11.

http://index.hu/bloghu/szentimrevaros/2014/03/11/egesz_palyas_letamadas_avagy_kampanyolas_kozpenzbol

Nu
Guest

It is simpler than that.

Zuschlag is one of MSZP’s sub-brands. He is linked inexorably to MSZP.

As a result, the more Zuschlag is involved in any new shenanigans the better it is for Fidesz, because Zuschlag will still be associated with MSZP by most people.

People will just conclude that Zuschlag is out of prison and immediately he is involved in shady deals. Thanks, but we do not want any such MSZP people in the government again.

borski
Guest
OT: Jobbik is coming up. There is a huge momentum. More and more mainstream articles write about it (like now origo.hu) in an admiring manner (about Jobbik’s calm but effective campaign), but even at a Kormanyvaltas campaign event Jobbik’s activists were there distributing flyers, according to an index article. Jobbik, like Republicans in rural US took over the working class/ poor white vote, which normally should have gone to the left. People just hear that jobbik is coming up, good, smart etc. all the time, really. These news articles both show and reinforce the momentum (in a way, this comment too). Or in other words, Fidesz and Jobbik could together take in more than 2/3s of the party list votes, relegating the entire left field to a mere 30-35%. It does not matter that with 40% a party could get 2/3s if the other side is divided, it is very bad for a party which aspires to govern to languish in the 30-35% zone (ie. the left). I am afraid that there will be a lot of soul searching after the elections, but what is sure Hungary will further move to the right. There is no way Orban will now… Read more »
An
Guest

@Borski: The Origo article also says that about half of the new Jobbik voters come from Fidesz. So many of these voters are coming from the right, not from the left. Another big group are those young people who will vote the first time.
So, the democratic opposition’s failure is that they couldn’t attract these voters who are now disappointed in Fidesz.

It’s pretty good article, worth the read.
http://www.origo.hu/valasztas2014/20140311-honnan-erkeztek-uj-szavazok-a-jobbikhoz.html

borski
Guest

An: yep, but the bottom line is that (a) young people simply do not vote for the left, they are done with it and (b) people with any real job outside Budapest do not vote for the left either (local elite votes Fidesz, working class Jobbik) and (c) white people in the most rural places who compete with the roma for the very few resources also vote for Jobbik or Fidesz.

The 64,000 dollar question then: who remains for the left?

If I am not mistaken there are certain people in Budapest and perhaps some of the retired people in mid-sized towns.

Not a big coalition. Yep a 30-35% nationally seems realistic for the left, with 40-45% in Budapest, 30-35% in bigger towns, and 20-25% everywhere else. Since rural districts make up most of the spots, that looks like a pretty hopeless proposition for the left.

An
Guest

Fidesz may have miscalculated this one. Their relentless “left-liberal” bashing helps Jobbik more than Fidesz.

Now, I know some think that Jobbik is just a subsidiary of Fidesz, but I think they have outgrown that status. I’m sure Fidesz doesn’t mind forming a coalition with Jobbik if it needs a couple of seats for 2/3… but only if Jobbik is not too strong. I don’t think that Fidesz is actually expecting to having to deal with a strong coalition partner. Such a situation may take them by surprise.

In any case, Jobbik’s coming up is bad news for the country, I’m not arguing that.

bob
Guest

Zuschlag was a criminal in the MSZP leadership just like Gábor Simon is NOW.

Zuschlag was stealing for the MSZP Party, not for himself, he was simply following orders. Yet he got 6 years in jail no wonder he is pissed. It is easy to look up the bosses in the sports ministry during the time of Zuschlag criminal activity. The sports minister was Ferenc Gyurcsany, and the undersecretary was Attila Mesterházy. The chief of staff and main political adviser was Viktor Szigetvári. These people found themselves a new fall guy, a new patsy this time Gábor Simon who will go to jail for crimes he committed on behalf of MSZP. The MSZP crime bosses will pretend they knew nothing just as in the case of Zuschlag.

Normal people by now are disgusted by the MSZP various criminal activities. They will vote for LMP or Jobbik. At this point people who vote for MSZP can almost be considered crooks themselves. At the very least they do not care about mega-corruption, criminal activity and stealing. They will vote for thieves just like Gábor Simon.

Ulbrich
Guest
bob : Zuschlag was a criminal in the MSZP leadership just like Gábor Simon is NOW. Zuschlag was stealing for the MSZP Party, not for himself, he was simply following orders. Yet he got 6 years in jail no wonder he is pissed. It is easy to look up the bosses in the sports ministry during the time of Zuschlag criminal activity. The sports minister was Ferenc Gyurcsany, and the undersecretary was Attila Mesterházy. The chief of staff and main political adviser was Viktor Szigetvári. These people found themselves a new fall guy, a new patsy this time Gábor Simon who will go to jail for crimes he committed on behalf of MSZP. The MSZP crime bosses will pretend they knew nothing just as in the case of Zuschlag. Normal people by now are disgusted by the MSZP various criminal activities. They will vote for LMP or Jobbik. At this point people who vote for MSZP can almost be considered crooks themselves. At the very least they do not care about mega-corruption, criminal activity and stealing. They will vote for thieves just like Gábor Simon. bob: and a good morning to you too! Please send my regards to Mr. Paul,… Read more »
KalSan
Guest
OT: in Hungarian, a nice recap of the real statistics about the Hungarian economy. Some highlights: There is now less capital investment than there was in 2001 (although there was a minimal increase in 2013, due to EU-funded projects, the rate was still the smallest in the region). The private investment is especially catastrophic (translate: nobody who has money trusts the government or trusts that there could be sustained growth). All in all investments stand at 16-17% of the GDP which ratio is barely enough to cover depreciation, there sure will not be any sustained gdp-growth in the coming years. Market-based jobs actually decreased by about 10,000 from 2010 to 2013 (ie. any growth in the figures came entirely from GDP-consuming public jobs and from massaging the numbers). The actual debt / gdp has been stagnating in the 80-81% range and no sign of any improvement and the structural budget deficit is actually 4% after adjusting for the statistical tricks like the nationalization of the private pension funds. 75% of all the costs of the flat rate personal income tax accrued with the top 15% earners, who, as could be expected by reading any economic textbook, did not spend more,… Read more »
jaka
Guest

Zuschlag is a nobody. Anything he did, was over 10 years ago. He has zero influence on the election. Not a threat to us. The Zuschlag case (in the courts not the farce now), only proved that Gyurcsany is against corruption and hates Zuschlag.

The problem is Gabor Simon. His case is all over even the independent media. There is something new every day. How he had fake passports from Africa, how the money is not his. Every day this continues is a problem. Something must be done to avoid the damage or the election will not be only lost it, will be a catastrophe. I don’t know what to do but the opposition needs to attack somehow. And keep attacking instead of trying to defend.

oneill
Guest

“The Origo article also says that about half of the new Jobbik voters come from Fidesz”

I have mentioned before about my own observations from one of the more gritty w/c areas in District 7- Fidesz won the seat last time from the MSZP.

There are Jobbik young (and that “young” is important) activists everywhere in the area giving out leaflets, manning stands at the market.

Fidesz, the MP of whom looks like a dolled-up, mutton dressed up as lamb, bourgeouise helicoptered in from Roszadomb, are nowhere to be seen. The democratic opposition have very few people out and about and those that are seem to be belong to another pre-regime change era. in our area Jobbik are Fidesz’s main danger not the democratic parties, unfortunately.

Marcel Dé (@MarcelD10)
Guest

oneill :There are Jobbik young (and that “young” is important) activists everywhere in the area giving out leaflets, manning stands at the market.Fidesz, the MP of whom looks like a dolled-up, mutton dressed up as lamb, bourgeouise helicoptered in from Roszadomb, are nowhere to be seen. The democratic opposition have very few people out and about and those that are seem to be belong to another pre-regime change era. in our area Jobbik are Fidesz’s main danger not the democratic parties, unfortunately.

I agree regarding the VII., where Jobbik has been active long before the present campaign. In the VIII., it’s mostly Fidesz booths – I remember one the other day, fifty meters away from the DK headquarters…

tappanch
Guest

The Constitutional Court just approved Orban’s January decree banning campaign ads on public places like electricity pylons. The decision came by a 8-7 margin.

http://mkab.hu/download.php?h=702

Guest

@Ulbrich and KalSan for reacting promptly to “bob” and clearing things up!

And now back to real life:

I just exchanged some €s into HUF and got exactly 310 HUF per € – that clearly shows the efficiency of Fidesz’ economics policy, but still they’ll win the elections overwhelmingly …

What a sad state (of affairs) – something’s deeply rotten in the state of Whorbanistan (copyright Viking at pol.hu) …

Kezd Okos Lenni Magyar
Guest
Kezd Okos Lenni Magyar

Mega – corruption, mega – connections to uncivilized Russia, mega-anti EU, mega – pro-Horthysm, mega – dilettanti economical management. mega-success in demolishing liberal legal structures. mega rightwing press, mega rightwing media.

Who enjoys it?

Istvan
Guest

In reference to the Origo article that An linked to I found it interesting that the Jobbik leadership found anti-EU sentiment so universal among potential Jobbik and Fidesz voters that it hardly needs to discussed in their electoral campaign. This indicates that the left’s general self portrayal as being pro-EU will not cut into that voting block. A much more critical approach to the EU needs to be taken, but I suspect that there is fear of losing to core pro-EU copter base if that is done and the fact that some MSZP people are effectively EU bureaucrats themselves also makes such a shift difficult.

tappanch
Guest

A blogger is astounded that Matolcsy and Orban got their crazy ideas from a book of the tabloid writer Tamas Frei, as the blogger wrote as a joke two years ago.

http://fedor.blog.hu/2014/03/06/ilyen_nincs_valoban_freitol_veszi_otleteit_orban

tappanch
Guest

The applauding extras are paid 800 HUF an hour on Orban’s official March 15 celebrations.

http://cink.hu/tenyleg-orankent-800-ert-szerveznek-bertapsolokat-marc-1542033417

petofi
Guest

A grand welcome to Ulbrich and KalSan: it’s nice to know that genuine ‘minds’ join us as well as an increasing number of Orbanistan Trolls-

Oct
Guest
Istvan, like it or not, EU is disliked by most people in Hungary. Fact. But people will not even vote based on issues like EU, Paks 2, flat tax rates or anything else. There is no reason for the left to campaign with issues, because people do not care about those anymore. People either want to protest or they want to express their loyalty. That’s it. If people want to protest a lot will go with Jobbik now that everybody hypes them up for their “professional campaign”, but hopefully still more with the Left, and those who are OK with their lives and want to be part of a winning community will vote for Fidesz, so at least they can be winners once in a life-time. It’s a substitute for a religion, and many actually do understand the situation but they want to believe regardless and consciously do not want to exit the matrix. Anything beyond these is irrelevant. People do not react to issues. The only “issue” they reacted in four years was the idea of “rezsicsökentés”, but like it was said not necessarily because of the money but perhaps as people took it finally as a sign that… Read more »
Jano
Guest

Zuschlag is not just a first rate crook, he’s a complete sociopath. Probably some of what he’s been saying is true, and I don’t buy the the poor innocent MSZP didn’t realize it story either, but his most recent stories have more and more ludicrous elements. He claims to have received death threats, that he was ‘too smart for the party leadership’. It’s impossible to tell anymore what’s reality and what’s made up in his head.

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