A quick look at the results of the Hungarian election

The interest in the Hungarian election is incredibly high on Hungarian Spectrum. The number of visitors more than doubled today. I’m sure that some of them were disappointed to see no new post analyzing the results. But the numbers began to trickle in very late, and the fate of some districts is still undecided. It looks, however, as if Fidesz will have 132 seats in parliament, enough for a two-thirds majority. This feat was achieved with only 44-45% of the popular vote. The new electoral system favors the winner that much. Four years ago Fidesz needed at least 52.5% to achieve that magic number.

Yes, the democratic opposition did very badly, but still better than four years ago. If you recall, in 2010 there was only one district in Budapest that was won by an MSZP candidate. This time that number will be considerably higher. Yes, it is true, as many of you remarked in the comments, it looks as if the Left lost everything except the capital. But four years ago they also lost practically the whole city. There are some high points. I find it amazing, for instance, that Szilárd Németh, the grand prophet of utility decreases and mayor of Csepel, lost to the candidate of the democratic opposition. And that Ágnes Kunhalmi was able to win in the district in which Gábor Simon was supposed to run. And that Ferenc Papcsák of Zugló lost the election. These are the bright spots.

Valasztasok 2014 Budapest

It is also true that the election campaign that was orchestrated by Fidesz cannot be considered a campaign in the traditional sense of the word. In democratic countries the parties of the opposition have a more or less equal opportunity to reach the electorate. This was not the case in Orbán’s Hungary.

Yet one must admit that the democratic opposition’s performance in the last four years, ever since Gordon Bajnai offered himself as the man around whom the parties of the opposition could gather, has been abysmal. This is not the time to list all the mistakes he and Attila Mesterházy made. It is enough to say that they wasted at least a year and a half of precious time. It doesn’t matter how often one repeats that a month or even two weeks are enough time to campaign, this is self-delusion, especially when one’s opponents are campaigning all through their four years in office.

When I began this post, there was no word yet from Attila Mesterházy. Gordon Bajnai made a nice speech but, if I understand him right, he is planning to go it alone and sever relations with the others in the Unity Alliance. If that is the case, I can’t think of a worse reaction to the defeat. As it stands, Együtt 2014-PM will have two parliamentary members: Gordon Bajnai and Tímea Szabó. One needs at least five people to form a parliamentary caucus. DK, if all goes well, will have four members. Again, not enough to form a caucus. Ferenc Gyurcsány hoped to be able to form a separate DK caucus, but now that it is unlikely. I assume he has the good sense to promote a joint effort of the parties within the Unity Alliance in the next parliament unless perhaps he can convince Gábor Fodor of the liberals to join him. That is the only reasonable thing to do under the circumstances. If Bajnai, who perhaps spoke too hastily, decides against cooperation, I believe he will seal the fate of Együtt 2014-PM.

In order to cheer up those who kept fingers crossed for the anti-Orbán forces I suggest taking a look at the electoral maps of 2010 and 2014 on the site of the National Electoral office. Yes, this year’s map looks terribly orange but four years ago it was even worse. That’s some consolation, albeit admittedly small.

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Guest
Kim Lane Scheppele
April 6, 2014 9:15 pm

Here’s one way to think about what just happened yesterday:

Total votes for Fidesz:

1998: 1,34 million.
2002: 2,31 million.
2006: 2,27 million.
2010: 2,7 million.
2014: 2,1 million.

Guest
tappanch
April 6, 2014 9:28 pm

3:09 AM
Outline :

categories of votes:

D= domestic voter, who voted at a precinct at his/her address in person
A= domestic voter, who voted at an embassy in person for home district
N= domestic voter, who voted at another district in Hungary in person for home district
TM= foreign (mainly Transylvanian voter) who mailed in his/her vote
TC= foreign (mainly Transylvanian voter) whose vote was dropped off at a consulate

98.89% processed from D

Fidesz 43.69%
Opposition: 26.21%
Jobbik 20.70%
LMP 5.30%
other parties 3.70%
Ethnic lists 0.40%

0% of N processed (< 120,000)
0% of A processed (24,000)
71% processed (25,000 not processed out of 88,000 that arrived n Hungary by April 6
from TM+TC,. THere are perhaps 65,000 left at the consulates.
I have to examine this futher

Guest
tappanch
April 6, 2014 9:30 pm

@Kim

Agree. +0.14 from Transylvania

Member
April 6, 2014 10:18 pm

In true Hungarian tradition, Mesterházy will blame everybody else in the World for the failure, except himself, who is solely responsible that the Fidesz got ⅔ majority again. Mesterházy’s ego is a big handicap, but more than anything else, he is not representing a true opposition to the Fidesz. An intelligent and true opposition party boss starts working on reelection, the second after he and his party lost an election and not six month before elections and haggle with his partners about who will be the Prime Minister, if they win. Mesterházy cannot be called so stupid, that he would not know this, so he had no working plans to win the election, but allowed the Fidesz to win again. He can think to himself, that eventually the people will get fed up with the Fidesz and choose anybody else, but the Fidesz. The reason is, that Mesterházy and his whole faceless and obsolete party has no clue, how to solve the millions of problems the Fidesz regime created by completely destroying the political and economic system of Hungary, making it a private Fidesz “principality” and a fascist dictatorship without a Constitution and enforceable basic human rights. Every dictatorship fails… Read more »

Guest
Mutt
April 6, 2014 10:27 pm

If Mesterhazy will not congratulate Orban im finished with him.

Guest
Jano
April 6, 2014 10:37 pm

Éva: Együtt-PM has four MP’s too, so it will be up to Fodor if DK or Együtt will have a caucus. (It might also happen that MSZP has one more winners in which case DK will have five MP’s together with László Varjú. I think then Fodor will join Bajnai so everybody will have caucus. The parliamentary election is over, now is the time to differentiate themselves from other members of the opposition, I see this completely differently than Eva. The opposition has no potential to grow together. Going their separate ways they can build more identity and attract more followers so that possibly uniting again in 2018 might actually end up as a successful alliance as opposed to this disaster. Bajnai made a very good speech looking into the future, but having the guts to admit mistakes. Mesterházy and Gyurcsány on the other hand made fools of themselves blaming solely the election system. Not that they are completely wrong but the true fact is that they got almost a million less votes than Fidesz. That would lead to a defeat in any electoral system (except the supermajority of course), and now they looked like weeping children making a laughing… Read more »

Guest
Jano
April 6, 2014 10:38 pm

Mutt: Right? I was almost yelling at my screen out loud ‘How could you be more pathetic than this?’ On what level is this a good political move?

Guest
Malna
April 6, 2014 11:34 pm

Malna here, and answering Prof. Balogh’s question as to why people love Fidesz and Jobbik, but despite the disastrous government, they do not like the Hungarian left. Of course I do not know the answer, but I have my theories, most of which will not be new. First, we have to abandon the idea that people rationally deliberate before voting. Voting is not about analyzing party manifestos, carefully weighing issues and then rationally choosing from the offering. This is a liberal myth (coming from academia and projecting a liberal ideal) and readers here are deluding themselves if they continue to believe so. By the way, Turkey and Russia are always great examples to look for proxies. People in Hungary behave much more like these Eastern people (then like Czechs or Poles) and the system in Hungary is also similarly (perhaps somewhat less) ‘rigged’ or ‘managed’. Orban is very much like Erdogan and Putin and Orban’s campaign machinery is very similar too, as well as the structure of his support. In Turkey, as in Hungary, the critical, secular, leftist power base (i.e. if there ever was one, and the actual lack of it was not disguised by the older parties) disappeared… Read more »

Member
April 7, 2014 12:28 am

Your analysis and summary is very thorough, and very good. I would like to add my spin on Mesterházy Attila and the MSZP. Mesterházy reorganized the MSZP after Gyurcsány left the party. In my opinion, from what I saw since and hearing from people who are somewhat familiar with the workings of the MSZP, Mesterházy and his party were not prepared to be in power and he and the party has no clue, how to solve the myriads of issues with a government, which does NOT have a ⅔ majority. IF, the Együtt 2014 would have won a simple majority, the Fidesz and the Jobbik together would have been able to paralyze the entire country. Also, within the various members of the Együtt 2014, there would also remain the friction, because Mesterházy is a similar dictator as Orbán, and he has a big ego also. He is intolerant and does not negotiate with anyone, who has different and opposite opinions and plans from his. This is not surprising to many, since Mesterházy once wanted to be a Fidesz politician. (I wish they would have taken him in at that time.) My conclusion is, that anyone who REALLY WANTS TO WIN,… Read more »

Guest
April 7, 2014 1:40 am

I have decided to sell my house in Hungary.

Guest
lutra lutra
April 7, 2014 2:09 am

@Jean P – isn’t that a bit like when “true” football fans tear up their season ticket after their team is thrashed 5-0? Hungary is still a wonderful country, despite Orbán’s misrule and the Left leadership’s failure to put the principles of public service above their own egos and pockets. Keep the faith!

Guest
tappanch
April 7, 2014 2:14 am

2014 vs 2010.

Fidesz: – 0.66 million
United Opposition+ LMP: – 0.18 million
Jobbik: +0.96

UNited Opposition+ LMP lost
http://index.hu/belfold/valasztas/2014/04/07/1998_ota_nem_szavaztak_ilyen_kevesen_a_fideszre/

Guest
Imi
April 7, 2014 2:19 am

Jean: remember the Rothchilds, one of whom said that the time to buy is when there’s blood in the streets.

Guest
tappanch
April 7, 2014 2:28 am

tappanch :
2014 vs 2010.
Fidesz: – 0.66 million
United Opposition+ LMP: – 0.18 million
Jobbik: +0.96
UNited Opposition+ LMP lost
http://index.hu/belfold/valasztas/2014/04/07/1998_ota_nem_szavaztak_ilyen_kevesen_a_fideszre/

correction: jobbik +0.1 million

Guest
HiBoM
April 7, 2014 2:29 am

tappanch, what is the situation with the Romanian votes? Is it still possible for LMP to fall below the threshold? Or are they now counted?

Guest
April 7, 2014 2:34 am

Imi :
Jean: remember the Rothchilds, one of whom said that the time to buy is when there’s blood in the streets.

When there is blood in the streets it is too late to sell.

Guest
umami
April 7, 2014 2:37 am

tappanch:

Yes, the issue of LMP and the United Opposition is all the more interesting, because although the United Opposition gained 200,000 votes compared to 2010, LMP lost 373,000 votes.

Some of LMP’s voters must have moved to the United Opposition as the Párbeszéd Magyarorszégért demerged from LMP and joined Bajnai’s Együtt.

So either without Párbeszéd’s joining, the United Opposition would have actually lost voters compared to 2010 or many of LMP’s voters just defected to Jobbik or Fidesz or, for whatever reason, did not vote.

But the point is clear: less people voted for the democratic opposition than voted for it in 2010.

The only party/block which could gain net voters and despite the much lower turnout was Jobbik.

Jobbik is extremely powerful now and it clearly has the momentum. As the system favors rural, outside of Budapest voters they will gain a lot.

Especially in the polls, as the member parties of the United Opposition will soon individually languish in the below-5% mark and Jobbik will prevail over the individual MSZP. This will give another jolt to Jobbik’s reputation.

Jobbik is the second party in Hungary.

Guest
Imi
April 7, 2014 2:41 am

Jean P :

Imi :
Jean: remember the Rothchilds, one of whom said that the time to buy is when there’s blood in the streets.

When there is blood in the streets it is too late to sell.

What this saying means is that when all people sell because of a disaster, it is time to buy as things will sort out eventually and then the thing purchased will gain in value. You want to sell when there’s symbolic blood in the streets, when instead smart investors would want to use this opportunity to buy from people like you (it’s also called ‘buy on weakness’ in contemporary investment business lingo).

Guest
April 7, 2014 2:58 am

Gyor Calling!

R.I.P.
Democracy.

Regards

Charlie

Guest
HiBoM
April 7, 2014 2:59 am

I think Jean P is saying that he doesn’t want to own property in a country where the governing party is autocratic and unaccontable and the second party is neo-Nazi. Can’t really dispute the logic of that

Guest
HiBoM
April 7, 2014 3:07 am

I’m not sure it is RIP Democracy. After all, Fidesz could have lost if the electorate had turned against them.

It is RIP Hungary as a West European nation (which perhaps it never was, despite its urbane capital)

Guest
tappanch
April 7, 2014 3:09 am

1.
Votes from Transylvania:

63,000 were counted out of 88,000 last night (95% Fidesz – highly suspicious)
There were 35,500 votes received by the consulates by April 5 that did not reach Budapest on April 6.
Unknown votes received on April 6 (but no more than 37,000) by the consulates.

2.
Votes from abroad from people with Hungarian address.
None of the 24,000 were counted.

3.
Migrant or nomadic domestic votes (less than 120,000)

Guest
latefor
April 7, 2014 3:14 am

“Orban’s policies have included: under his government personal income tax and household power bills have fallen. a nationalization of private pension funds, swingeing “crisis taxes” on big business, and a relief scheme for mortgage holders for which the banks, mostly foreign-owned, had to pay.

Orban has pledged more of the same if re-elected, and the business community expects him in particular to press ahead with a plan to transfer big chunks of the banking sector into Hungarian hands, and impose more burdens on foreign power firms.” (Reuters) – Bad, bad man! How dare he do all the above?! Disgusting!

Guest
latefor
April 7, 2014 3:19 am

Ok….it supposed to be: how dare he does all the above

Member
April 7, 2014 3:20 am

gybognarjr : In true Hungarian tradition, Mesterházy will blame everybody else in the World for the failure, except himself, who is solely responsible that the Fidesz got ⅔ majority again. Mesterházy’s ego is a big handicap, but more than anything else, he is not representing a true opposition to the Fidesz. An intelligent and true opposition party boss starts working on reelection, the second after he and his party lost an election and not six month before elections and haggle with his partners about who will be the Prime Minister, if they win. Mesterházy cannot be called so stupid, that he would not know this, so he had no working plans to win the election, but allowed the Fidesz to win again. He can think to himself, that eventually the people will get fed up with the Fidesz and choose anybody else, but the Fidesz. The reason is, that Mesterházy and his whole faceless and obsolete party has no clue, how to solve the millions of problems the Fidesz regime created by completely destroying the political and economic system of Hungary, making it a private Fidesz “principality” and a fascist dictatorship without a Constitution and enforceable basic human rights. Every… Read more »

Guest
Malna
April 7, 2014 3:25 am

gybognarjr : Your analysis and summary is very thorough, and very good. I would like to add my spin on Mesterházy Attila and the MSZP. Mesterházy reorganized the MSZP after Gyurcsány left the party. In my opinion, from what I saw since and hearing from people who are somewhat familiar with the workings of the MSZP, Mesterházy and his party were not prepared to be in power and he and the party has no clue, how to solve the myriads of issues with a government, which does NOT have a ⅔ majority. IF, the Együtt 2014 would have won a simple majority, the Fidesz and the Jobbik together would have been able to paralyze the entire country. Also, within the various members of the Együtt 2014, there would also remain the friction, because Mesterházy is a similar dictator as Orbán, and he has a big ego also. He is intolerant and does not negotiate with anyone, who has different and opposite opinions and plans from his. This is not surprising to many, since Mesterházy once wanted to be a Fidesz politician. (I wish they would have taken him in at that time.) My conclusion is, that anyone who REALLY WANTS… Read more »

Member
April 7, 2014 9:41 am

Malna: Thanks for the comment. Here is my opinion about the corruption and the maffia state and why it is tolerated, moreover participated in, by many people in Hungary. In Central-Europe, and Hungary, where I grew up, there was 50-60 years of Russian domination and the communist, but soon “just” socialist leaders set up dictatorships, with centralized industry, education, art, etc. We all learned from the same books, only pro-government media existed and a uniform, socialist culture was advocated. The key word in socialism was, that “everything is ours, we the people own the country and everything in it.” So when little things were needed, most people took it home from the office, factory, workplace, not very valuable things, just what everybody needed and did not want to spend money on it. The stealing became little by little general and acceptable, after all, one cannot steal from himself, and we did own everything, as the leaders said. NOBODY thought, that stealing a few pens, pencils, staples, a piece of wood, piece of steel, materials for clothing, etc. or making some things for ourselves from materials and tools of the factory is a crime. Since everything was ours, it wasn’t stealing… Read more »

Guest
Klári
April 7, 2014 3:46 am

A good point: Orban will be tougher than ever, in order to keep the remaining Fidesz voters in his orbit and prevent their defection to Jobbik (nobody defects to the left). He will use more unortodox methods than ever. Those who entertain thoughts of him getting more conciliatory will be sorely disappointed.

Guest
whoever
April 7, 2014 3:49 am

The only honest, logical step would be to merge all of the ‘democratic opposition’ into a single liberal/centrist party with certain social liberal leftist tendencies. They won’t win back the eastern rustbelt, and many of us will be unenthused initially, but they’d at least be cohesive and allow a leadership to emerge from outside the mediocrities of the MSZP.

It’s also pretty impossible to currently imagine this happening. The one notable thing about these results – with the big drop in the Fidesz vote – is the extent to which the opposition buggered it up. Yes, the media situation was extremely difficult, but Mesterhazy is and was a limited communicator. I don’t get the impression of someone capable of reflection to any great extent. This is his second electoral loss – is he really going to stick it out? If so, he’s an absolute liability – or is he, in fact, playing his role exactly as planned?

Guest
April 7, 2014 4:39 am

Malna :Malna here, and answering Prof. Balogh’s question as to why people love Fidesz and Jobbik, but despite the disastrous government, they do not like the Hungarian left.Of course I do not know the answer, but I have my theories, most of which will not be new.

While I agree overall with your post, I have one big reservation: your use of the word ‘capitalism’ instead of ‘market economy’. The former is indeed an ingredient of the latter, however neither Fidesz, Jobbik nor their voters are against capitalism per se.

Guest
tappanch
April 7, 2014 4:49 am

Questions the international observers and the journalists should raise.

1. When and where will the cross/nomadic/migrant votes be counted?
Who will count them?

2. How many votes were cast yesterday at the consulates by new citizens with no Hungarian address?

Guest
April 7, 2014 5:05 am

Well, I was wrong, and I’m very happy to admit it. The opposition improved their vote quite dramatically – considering their performance and the difficulty of getting their message out (what message?) they actually did very well indeed. They increased their number of constituencies, instead of losing them all, as I predicted, and it looks like LMP could still be in parliament. I was wrong three times over! In normal times, this would have been a very good opposition result. Unfortunately, we don’t live in normal times – there was no way Fidesz were going to lose this election. But we should take heart that, despite every trick Orbán pulled, the opposition vote increased, the Fidesz vote declined and Orbán only just hung on to his 2/3 majority. Orbán will claim this as a great victory and confirmation that the country thinks his government is doing the right things, but in his heart he knows he has failed – instead of consolidating his position, his support has actually declined. He wanted a definite, strong 2/3 majority, but he has only just clung on. And, even worse, far from locking Gyurcsány up, as he promised, his arch rival is back in… Read more »

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