Kim Lane Scheppele: Hungary without two thirds

I’m glad to be able to share Professor Kim Scheppele’s latest article, which appeared on Paul Krugman’s blog in The New York Times on March 17, 2015.

* * *

On 22 February, in a small by-election in a medium-sized Hungarian town, the governing party Fidesz lost its two-thirds parliamentary majority.

The loss of the Fidesz supermajority is a big deal because two thirds is a magic fraction in Hungarian law. With two thirds of the parliamentary seats, a party can change the constitution at will and therefore govern without constitutional constraint. But it’s not just constitutional change that requires a two-thirds vote. Over the last five years, Fidesz built so many required two-thirds supermajorities into so many different laws that it is nearly impossible to govern Hungary on a daily basis without two thirds. And each time it now confronts a two-thirds problem, Fidesz must get the support of someone – or some party – outside its own circle. This is the first political constraint that Fidesz has faced since it came to power in 2010.

When Fidesz still had the the magic two-thirds majority

When Fidesz still had the magic two-thirds majority

What will Fidesz do without two thirds? It only took a little more than a week after the by-election for a tentative answer to emerge. A two-thirds vote appeared on the parliamentary agenda – and passed. Who put Fidesz over the top to get its two thirds? An MP from the far-right party Jobbik. The vote signaled that Fidesz may now be working in effective partnership with a party that Human Rights First has called “the bloody tip of the far-right spear in Europe.”

If this is true, then why hasn’t the European Union immediately launched crippling sanctions as EU member states did when the Austrian government included Jörg Haider’s far-right party in 1999? Because Fidesz learned a lesson from that example. In Austria, the coalition was public. In Hungary, a coalition can be secret.

The constitutional rules in Hungary permit Fidesz to keep its two thirds through strategic absences rather than affirmative votes. For most two-thirds votes, no member of parliament (MP) need visibly cross the aisle to vote affirmatively with the governing party. If an opposition MP is merely missing when a two-thirds vote is taken, Fidesz can still win.

In Hungarian constitutional law, not all two-thirds majorities are created equal. An absolute two-thirds majority requires the affirmative vote of two-thirds of all of the members of parliament. An absolute two-thirds majority is required to amend or rewrite the constitution or to ratify treaty change in the European Union. An absolute two-thirds majority is also required for electing constitutional judges, the president of the Supreme Court, the head of the State Audit Office, the head of the National Judicial Office, the public prosecutor and the ombudsman – or to declare a state of emergency. For Fidesz to gain an absolute two-thirds majority now, someone must to visibly cross the aisle and vote with the governing party.

But it takes only a relative two-thirds majority to do everything else – like amend the especially important “cardinal laws” or fill seats on the electoral commission or the media council. A relative two-thirds majority requires the affirmative vote of two thirds of the members of parliament who are present on that day in the chamber, given a quorum. Fidesz can therefore still win a relative two thirds with the votes of only its own party if all of its MPs are present while any non-Fidesz MP is missing. For the vast majority of two-thirds votes, then, Fidesz does not have to win an affirmative vote from an opposition MP. It only has to procure his absence.

On 3 March, Fidesz faced its first two-thirds challenge since it lost its supermajority. Two key items were on the agenda that day, both bundles of amendments to existing laws. Parts of each bundle were “cardinal” and thus required two-thirds votes while other parts were not and therefore required only a simple majority to pass. The governing party’s tendency to mix different sorts of amendments in the same parliamentary procedure is confusing for everyone, including MPs who have to vote by different majorities on each.

In the first package of amendments, child protection agencies, social security offices, employment centers, land administration agencies, environmental protection offices and more would lose their independent and separate spheres of action and become integrated parts of the regional offices of the central government as of 1 April 2015. The second package of amendments proposed to “enhance public trust in state officials” by requiring public sector workers to disclose to their employers if they are under criminal investigation.

At the time of the vote on both packages, all Fidesz MPs were present, but there was one opposition MP missing: István Apáti from Jobbik. The cardinal bits in first package of changes passed, with 131 votes in favor (all Fidesz), and 65 against, with 196 MPs present – gaining the support of 66.8% of those present. This gave Fidesz just barely two thirds (above 66.6%). The cardinal bits in the second package of changes failed because only 130 voted in favor, 44 voted against and 22 (Jobbik MPs) abstained. Because only 66.3% of the MPs present voted for the law, Fidesz failed to clear the two-thirds hurdle by a bare one third of one percent.

What happened in the second vote? Lajos Kósa, a Fidesz stalwart, pressed the wrong button and accidentally voted against the package. His party promptly fined him 100,000 forints (about $343 USD) for having disobeyed a party order to vote along party lines. (Yes, in the Hungarian parliament, some political parties fine their MPs for failing to take direction on parliamentary votes!)

Fidesz castigated Kósa for making a mistake on the second vote. But, they said nothing about how the first package could pass. It gained the required two-thirds vote only because an opposition MP was missing. Had Kósa not erred, the second package would have passed as well.

Jobbik’s party leader, Gábor Vona, claimed to be furious with the missing MP Apáti and fined him 100,000 forints for violating party discipline. Vona gave an interview shortly thereafter in which he threatened anyone who might claim that Jobbik was acting in concert with Fidesz on this vote.

But the whole story got curiouser and curiouser when Apáti started explaining why he had been absent on that crucial day. He claimed he had to protect his family because he had gotten death threats from a member of a Roma gang. (Jobbik rode to popularity on an anti-Roma platform blaming “Gypsy crime” for many of Hungary’s ills.) While the threat occurred on a Saturday, he reported it to the police only on Monday, which was the day before the parliamentary vote. Journalists who interviewed many people in his town could find no one else who knew about a local “Roma mafia.” So the story just seems strange and conveniently timed.

Does this mean that Fidesz is working under the table with Jobbik? From this one incident, it is hard to say for sure. Jobbik’s leader has been at pains to claim that there is no secret coalition, and yet Vona was himself missing for another parliamentary vote on 15 December 2014 that had the same effect. At that time, Vona’s absence shored up the Fidesz relative two-thirds when a Fidesz MP, Jenő Lasztovicza, was absent due to illness. (He later died – so there will be another by-election in April.) The December vote sailed over the two-thirds hurdle with even more support than necessary because another MP, former Socialist Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány, was missing as well. Fidesz was therefore already able to pass an amendment to a cardinal law (in this case, one that nationalized and regulated tobacco shops) when one of its MPs was dying – before the party definitively lost its two thirds in February’s by-election. In December, the Fidesz victory was made possible by missing one MP to the right and another MP to the left of the governing party.

When Vona’s December absence was noted in the brouhaha over the 3 March vote, he promptly fined himself 100,000 forints to show that he was even-handed about disciplining his party’s members. He then said he would donate the proceeds of this fine to charity, raising questions about whether, under Jobbik party rules, fines issued against MPs who don’t follow party orders go straight into the pocket of the party leader.

The theory that Fidesz is collaborating with Jobbik is not far-fetched, given the record. Since 2010, when Fidesz took office with its two-thirds supermajority, Jobbik has been the only parliamentary party whose MPs have voted with Fidesz on a non-trivial number of occasions. Jobbik supported many of Fidesz’s most controversial laws – for example, the extra taxes on banks, retroactive taxation of public sector severance pay, the elimination of time limits on pretrial detention and the approval of the recent deal with Russia on nuclear plants. Jobbik even backed two of Fidesz’s appointments to the Constitutional Court (Béla Pokol and Imre Juhász).

Not only has Jobbik already voted more often than any other party with Fidesz, but Fidesz has already borrowed many ideas from Jobbik. Before the by-election, Jobbik votes were not needed to get to two thirds and Fidesz did not have to take pages from Jobbik’s platform to get Jobbik’s votes. Jobbik regularly piled votes onto Fidesz initiatives and Fidesz regularly took ideas from Jobbik anyway. A secret collaboration at this point would only take underground what has already occurred in public. Perhaps what we saw on 3 March is a sign that Fidesz and Jobbik are already working together.

But the deniability of a working coalition is crucial to its success. Would the EU sanction the Fidesz government for collaboration with a far-right party when Jobbik MPs are simply missing in action at the time a parliamentary vote is called? Since there are so many reasons to be away from parliament on any particular day – “Roma attacks,” or perhaps a strategic illness, or a well-timed flat tire – missing MPs have plausible deniability that their absence was part of a plan. One can imagine that EU sanctions would dissolve without smoking-gun proof of coordination. In addition, Fidesz and Jobbik have every reason to deny working together in order to maintain their credibility with their own voters.

Jobbik is not the only source of a crucial missing MP. Any MP willing to put personal benefit ahead of party loyalty – or any MP who could be successfully blackmailed – could agree to be absent and allow a relative two-thirds majority to form without him. All Fidesz needs is one opposition MP to disappear on a particular day and the relative two-thirds votes will still sail through. Fidesz may find that it is even simpler to get an individual MP to break from a party than to convince a whole party to collaborate.

Of course, the fact that Fidesz could seek its procured absences elsewhere reduces Jobbik’s bargaining position. So, Vona could be right that there is no permanent coalition. But there may be an opportunistic collaboration on particular issues nonetheless. If Fidesz were really clever, however, it could hide such an opportunistic collaboration by procuring a strategic absence from both left and right on the same day, just to demonstrate its independence. We already saw that voting pattern in December. It would be fascinating to know what has been promised – or threatened – in exchange for absences. Or whether the absences were generated by one of the many perfectly innocent reasons why MPs go missing for crucial votes.

Figuring out what is happening in Hungarian politics from now on will require careful attention to missing persons. We probably will not have to wait long to see the new ways that Fidesz gets its two thirds because amendments to cardinal laws come up surprisingly often in the Hungarian parliament. Cardinal laws were originally only supposed to regulate matters of fundamental constitutional importance, but they now cover so many different subjects that two-thirds votes have become the “new normal” of political life.

The parliamentary records show that Fidesz has needed its supermajority almost every week – and sometimes even every day – that it has governed. In fact, one Hungarian law blog did the count: between September 2014 and January 2015, fully 50 matters before the parliament required two-thirds votes. In the year before that, two-thirds votes were required on 214 occasions. The law on economic stability alone was amended 20 times since its passage in 2011 and, since it is a cardinal law, each vote has required two thirds. (So much for economic stability!)

While Fidesz now claims that the loss of its two-thirds supermajority is not important because revolutionary changes are over and the need for the daily two thirds has passed, the statistics don’t lie. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s new constitutional order can’t operate smoothly without its two thirds.

Perhaps the best testament to the continuing importance of two thirds is the legal framework invented for last April’s parliamentary election. Orbán clearly thought that his two-thirds majority was so important that he stopped at almost nothing to keep it. In fact, Orbán actually needed every trick in the book to win his second two-thirds parliament. He also needed a trick that was not in the book. Fidesz won its two-thirds majority in April 2014 only by counting the speaker of the house in that total, and then the party discovered that the rules of parliamentary procedure prevented the speaker from casting a vote. So the Fidesz MPs quickly voted to change the “house rules” of the parliament to allow the speaker’s vote to count. And voilà! Fidesz retained its two thirds!

After February’s by-election, however, Fidesz no longer has its magic fraction. Given the party’s plunging popularity, it may well lose the next by-election in Tapolca on 12 April** as well. The loss of two thirds is important, both practically and symbolically. But we will only be able to assess whether Fidesz’s wings are really clipped and whether Orbán has had to depend on strategic partners by closely monitoring every two-thirds vote from now on. If Orbán keeps achieving relative two-thirds majorities with only the votes of his own party, then we should wonder what price was paid for every empty seat in the room. In Hungarian politics now, out of sight should not mean out of mind.

** In the original blog post, I not only got the by-election date wrong but also misspelled Tapolca! It’s corrected here.

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Bitstream Fractalized
Guest

Whatever Kim, as long as the postcommunists and their liberal friends are in check (away from power) no really bad things can happen to Hungary. I hope there will be a lot of NGOs that can burn your ideological friends’ money (Soros, Clintons, etc) to overthrow the “regime”… so long I watch and enjoy the show.

Member

Orban already burnt Soros’ money, Bitstream. Are you afraid that liberals would give back the private retirement savings that Orban and his gang nationalized? Oops too late, Orban already spent it. You are right, who needs Soros’s money as long as Fidesz can spend Hungarian taxpayers money. I had no idea Clinton give away money. Can you amuse us wit some more info on this roadshow of Fidesz and his clowns?

Bitstream Fractalized
Guest

@Some1:These people: https://www.americanprogress.org financed the liberal white hope of the last election, Bajnai. This organisation is linked to Hilary Clinton.

The next item in the roadshow will be the further reduction of income tax. Kim is already preparing herself to connect the low income tax with the emerging of fascism. She is smart.

buddy
Guest

“These people: https://www.americanprogress.org financed the liberal white hope of the last election, Bajnai.”

What proof do you have of that?

I see that there was an article in Heti Válasz alleging this, but that of course does not mean proof.

Bitstream Fractalized
Guest

Yeah, sorry. I was wrong, he was not financed by the CAP, my apologies. This is why he failed at the elections obviously.

Member

Exactly. This is why Orban was able to win, but he financed himself with taxpayers money, and financed the “civil” organization COF with taxpayers money.

Bitstream Fractalized
Guest

@Some1, @buddy:http://bajnaigordon.hu/tenyek-es-hazugsagok/kik-tamogatjak-egyutt-2014

And now, your apologies are accepted. Thank you!

Member

My point was (let me help you) that Orban already got financed by Soros, and now he is financed by others. Whichever way the wind blows. Jobbik is being financed by Russia and other questionable organizations. While Bajnai has no problem to disclose where he is getting money from, Jobbik and Orban never came out with a list of “suppliers”. YOur conspiracy theory that because someone gets financed by a liberal organization would do damage for Hungarians is non-sense. Certainly Jobbik was never afraid to advertise their xenophobe, ant-semite, anti-roma propaganda. I guess that is a cause that is closer to your heart. So yes you can sit back an relax while your Jobbik friends try to destroy any decency that remains in Hungary.
And now, your apology is not accepted. Ay person with any moral integrity would stay away from Orban and his gang and from Jobbik.

Bitstream Fractalized
Guest

Orbán was financed by Soros at a time when Hungary was opressed, it was logical for him to accept such an opportunity. At that time many Hungarians were very naive. But since then many things have changed, especially the left liberals have shown several times that in contrast to their claim they are unable create economic growth in Hungary which is a basic condition for a government – so it is no nonsense to expect from anyone who has left-liberal affiliation to do damage for Hungarians. Sorry, they failed a couple of times, and there is no reason to believe them again. I hope you can easily understand this with your intact moral integrity.

buddy
Guest

Sorry, what should I be apologizing for? Please be specific.

Bitstream Fractalized
Guest

@buddy: you needed proof for that the Center of American Progress funded Bajnai. The link I provided refers exactly to that and it is probably the only source you would trust.

Member

Orban has a third leg hidden under his arm. Lazar has four ears. It must be true now, as it is now published on the Internet!
You remind me of my grandma-inlaw , who when sees something on the news stand reports back to the family, and finishes her sentence “it is true, I read it on the cover of the [insert the stupidest magazine’s title here].

So, where is the fact about your financing conspiracy? I actually believe Putin Finances Orban, and there is a strong proof of some extremist movement financing Jobbik.

Albrecht Neumerker
Guest

Is not the Fidesz postcommonistic? Why not the courage to make public who were the ‘spitzli’? Why the old secret service is behind Fidesz?

Why are the same people still in power who made the life ‘sauerkraut’ for many of us?
Warum?

Member

We can write or speculate about the workings of the Fidesz/KDNP/Jobbik/MSZP Government, but it is of no use. Hungary became a small, private principality and a piggybank for a maffia gang and the Hungarians are not doing anything worthwhile for over 5 years.
This means, that they are not unhappy enough, they are not willing to care enough to do anything, to make changes.
It takes pro-active, informed and intelligent, honest citizens to have a democratic society, and a “government of the people, by the people, for the people”, WHICH “shall not perish from the earth.”
I don’t think the Hungarian people ever had, and I am sure they will never have a society, which can achieve this ON THEIR OWN AND OF THEIR OWN FREE WILL!

walkstone Kristóf
Guest

“government of the people, by the people, for the people” This was an Abraham Lincoln quote, and Lincoln quoted the Hungarian Louis Kossuth with this sentence.

Webber
Guest

Only Lincoln may not have gotten that from Kossuth, whose wording was actually a little different, as someone else (Tappanch?) has already revealed elsewhere on this blog. The 14th century English theologian John Wycliffe (c. 1331-1384) wrote: “This Bible is for the government of the people, by the people and for the people.”
Lincoln would surely have known Wycliffe’s work. He might have borrowed a phrase or two from Kossuth, but this one was used by Wycliffe centuries before Lincoln or Kossuth were even born.

Blacksters
Guest

Lincoln was a devoted Kossuth fan, so the Kossuth quote is not surprising from Lincoln.

Webber
Guest

Not surprising, but in this instance perhaps not the case.

Albrecht Neumerker
Guest

@gybognar

Sadly, I have to agree. I have always hoped that hungarians were more competent in a lot of fields, like freedom, democracy, self determination etc. It is not an easy task to face the fact that you either obey or hit the road and most people do the first.

petofi
Guest

Hungarians are only good at one thing–hating. They’re specialists. They hate all, especially each other and themselves. All a political group in Hungary has to do to get elected is to focus the hate on jews. The poor slobs are so happy to have someone to trod on, to have a group they are directed at as being superior to…that it’s enough to make them think they’re in the ante-room of Heaven. Idiocy to the power of 7. But it works, otherwise why did the Russian KGB pick Hungarians to experiment their new, bogus, political structures on?

petofi
Guest

I might’ve added ‘gypsies’ (er, Roma) along side ‘jews’, but that group seems to be quite
satisfied with the current run of things, I would say…

Webber
Guest

You generalize just a little too much about an entire nation for my taste.
As to anti-Semitism vs. anti-Roma sentiments in Hungary today – there is no contest. Anti-semitism in Hungary today – deplorable as it is – is very weak in comparison with anti-Roma feelings.

petofi
Guest

@Webber

You haven’t an inkling of what’s happening in the country. Has the government made any outright anti-Roma acts? How about anti-semitic acts? Should I list
them to you beginning with Orban’s lies to the jewish community, and that outrageous statue? But there’s so much more–you seem to have no idea. Everytime there’s a mention of banks, of ‘west’, of the ‘com chicks’…they’re all hidden signals that Hungarians understand to refer to jews. You obviously don’t understand that.

In fact, if you believe as I do, that Orban has done a host of things for the ‘Roma’, than you’d realize how pretty they–the Roma–are actually sitting in the Hungary of today. Forget Jobbik and the odd anti-Roma act–that’s just window-dressing to appease the die-hard country mustachios. The 1,000,000 Roma do not face anywhere near the hostility that the 50,000 jews of Hungary face in a myriad of forms.

Webber
Guest

You are quite wrong. I understand the coded anti-semitic messages very well. I am only saying that Gypsies have a much, much worse time of it in Hungary than Jews (who also aren’t living in heaven, to put it mildly). Comments about them aren’t even hidden in metaphor.
Don’t take my word for it. Look at surveys on attitudes toward minorities that cover Jews and Roma. Andras Kovacs does research on anti-semitism in Hungary – look at his results, for instance. Then look at attitudes toward Roma. They are in a far, far worse position.
They, too, were victims of the Holocaust.
http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005219
Roma were murdered just a couple of years ago in Hungary, for being Roma – http://444.hu/tag/ciganygyilkossagok/

Blacksters
Guest

I doubt that there are only 50,000 Jews in Hungary. There are at least 100,000 according to Israeli statistical office, but it did not inclue the partially Jewish people (50% or 25%) which can reach even 300,000.

Why do you want to deny the Number of Hungarian Jewish descendent people? Do you work for Jobbik?

Webber
Guest
That comment about Roma being “quite satisfied with the current run of things” is also a bit nasty, in my view. What do you base that on? On statements by Roma “leaders” who have been bought off by this government? Surely you don’t believe they represent the views of anybody but themselves? I understand that many Roma voted against Fidesz in the recent by-elections. But back to the question: Which Hungarian government since the fall of communism has done anything truly positive for the Roma? They are the “losers” of transition in every sense. A study a few years ago found that, with the exception of Jobbik, ALL existing political parties in Hungary are more-or-less anti-Gypsy (Jobbik is an extreme outlier, some of whose members openly fantasize about murdering Roma). A friend of mine mentioned that several years ago when she advised LMP to run a Roma candidate, just one, to attract Roma votes, they rejected the advice outright, and the comments the leadership made to her were quite racist (snide things about not wanting to worry about silverware). Don’t forget, the serial murders of Roma happened under the Gyurcsany government, and evidence leads to involvement by members of Hungary’s… Read more »
Realitycheck
Guest

Yeah right, I am sure the Roma are satisfied.

http://budapestbeacon.com/public-policy/leaders-of-hungarys-roma-community-protest-ethnic-cleansing-in-miskolc-to-ec/

I am glad to provide other examples of their current level of satisfaction.

walkstone Kristóf
Guest

It is only the Jobbik who hates the Jews. All other parties have significant Jewish descendent membership in the parliament.

Guest

Our “new” contributor frac*** bit*** is as pompous as he is ignorant …

Low income tax is obviously good for the rich – while the 27% VAT (btw the highest in the EU …) is a tax on the poor mainly, the rich spend their money mainly outside Hungary …

So Robbin’ Orbán’s motto is proved again:
Steal from the poor to give to the rich!
And as someone from Fidesz said some time ago (forgot the creature’s name):
If you have nothing then you are nothing!

PS:
With your claimed intelligence and knowledge you should at least be able to write names correctly:
It’s Hillary – you meant Mrs Clinton?

tappanch
Guest

Janos Lazar, now Orban’s prime minister [de facto]:

“akinek nincs semmije, az annyit is ér.”
If somebody owns nothing, s/he is worth nothing.

Guest

Thanks, Tappanch, for that link!
Unbelievable – but from a creep like Lázar anthing can be expected …

Guest

“If somebody owns nothing, s/he is worth nothing.”

This is what Lázár learned in Sunday school. It follows from reformed theology. Calvin called it predestination.

István
Guest
I have been fascinated by the speculation of Fidesz supporters of a US based conspiracy to overthrow the Orban regiem in Hungary. Many months ago I linked to this blog a declassified government report on how the US actually government overthrew the government of Grenada, if the US government wanted to overthrow Orban’s government as I have said before creeping influence would more than likely not be the strategic approach. For my honesty I was subjected to an extensive attack including from a few regular posters on this blog who simply could not believe a non-conspirator could post what I did. Instead what we are seeing here in the USA is a growing awareness from people like Kim Sheppele of the evolution of the government of Hungary. This is a good thing in my opinion, if the population and government of the USA listened exclusively to the American Hungarian Federation and the American Hungarian Coalition our people would be led to believe that the current Fidesz government was comparable to a conservative Republican government here in the USA. The work of people like Kim and our blog’s sponsor Eva is critical in explaining the situation in Hungary and is not… Read more »
Member

@bitstream Your insight is amazing … No shit, Sherlock. Liberals help liberals. How did you figure this out? Let me expand your horizon. Dictators help dictators, like Putin helps Orban. Similis simili gaudet. So?

Yes, watch the show until it is on. Because your favorites are already planning your betrayal. They came to empty your and our pockets and now they will not wait until the Titanic hits the iceberg and they go to prison. They will quietely lose the elections and go enjoy their riches. After that you will get stuck with the ideological sludge they will leave behind. In a few years the circus will reverse. We will be laughing at your act in the middle.

spectator
Guest

I’m afraid while time it will reverse, there isn’t anything left either as reason to laugh at!

Or it really all is about viewpoints?

“Everyone deserves a break sometimes”- said the iceberg.
“Oh, well…” – said the Titanic

petofi
Guest

This is suitable analogy: Hungary will be a wreck. And the culprits are already being
lined up by your friendly Fidesz/Jobbik/Catholic gendarmerie–the West; the Bankers; the EU et.al. Certe, the culprits will be gone and the Russkies will point to Hungary and say: ” This is what awaits all who side with the West and the EU.” The play has already been written, we need but a little time to act out scenes 4 and 5.

And Hungaricoes, like the Mad character, will look around dumbfounded and say, “Why me?”

Bitstream Fractalized
Guest

You pretty much sound like how I sounded when the lefts and liberals came back to power in 2002. I was so upset, and see: I was right: the left-liberals lead Hungary to near bankrupcy till 2010, just as I fearfully predicted in 2002. Now you expect the same from the current govement. There are three more years to go. Have fun foreseeing the dark future despite the promising economic data!

Member

This exactly my point. Today it’s your government, tomorrow is mine.

Then why the disrespectful, infantile comment on Prof. Scheppele? And why is it a problem when organizations receive foreign help? It wasn’t when our Viktor went bing drinking to Oxford on Soros’ dime (and escaped the exams). And who the hell is the communists in 2015 Hungary? I assume the “post-communists and liberals” are not just euphemism for Jews …

I will have as much fun as you did between 2002 and 2010 predicting the gloom. Enlighten me by the way about the promising economic data! I missed it somehow. You mean like Standard and Poor upgraded us from junk to trash?

Bitstream Fractalized
Guest

Most important indicators that mirror the state of the economy: GDP, CPI, Gov. Budget Defizit. Money Supply M2, Unemployment Rate, and these show a good tendency.

Mutt, you misunderstood me, I meant that I have fun with you guys who spasmodically predict the economical demise of Hungary, and it just does not happen, whereas in my case I predicted it when the left-liberals were in power and it happened.

Member

Lucky you, there was a world crisis …

The GDP growth is good but is way lower than the post-communist region average. The unemployment rate is good, but the forced labor program is costly and has little return, plus the number of civil servants is at least 3 times than it was under the socialists. The national debt is higher, the private pension funds are gone (the 10% of GDP). Foreign investment has slowed down, because of the hostile, capricious taxing system and the unpredictable legislature. Healthcare is almost flatlining. Higher education budget is cut. And last but not least the poor are doing much, much worse.

But there is good news! There is a new soccer stadium at every tree.

So you should ask yourself how did they finance these numbers? Was it worth it?

Guest

The whole behaviour of the Orbán regime and its relationship to the EU/NATO aka “The West” and its admiration of Putin on the other hand reminds me of Horthy and his sucking up to Hitler/Mussolini …

To quote Karl Marx:
History always repeats itself: The first time as a tragedy, the second time around as a farce …
Let’s hope that it’ll really be a farce and not another tragedy for the Hungarian people!

spectator
Guest
Once again the whole issue turning around moral integrity – or better to say the lack of. There is the whole chamber of the Hungarian Parliament to look at and perhaps on a better day one can see a handful of people who still have something to do with Vertebrates, let alone belonging to. Then there is a so called “democratic” party which actually issue fine to those party members, who vote different from the party-doctrine, who may happen to act on moral grund even! So how is it, really? Are the voice of the party echelon really supposed to override not only the common sense, but even the Holy Scriptures? Or could it be that even those with theology background just didn’t learned the Book? Or – God forbid – there is that sum which make such shameless act “right” and hypocrisy acceptable? Imagine that they are – or supposed to be – the Christian conservative democrats, who don’t even grasp the concept of forgiveness, compassion, solidarity or any of those characteristics which essential in the life of every believer. And there are the lies, the cheating, the stealing and the betrayal – just to name a few of… Read more »
koeszmeod
Guest

New interview with Kim Lane Scheppele in Hungarian:
http://www.atv.hu/kulfold/20150322-a-fidesznek-eleg-ha-valaki-defektet-kap

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