No referendum, no matter what it takes to prevent it

February 23 may be remembered as a “day of infamy” in the life of the Orbán government because it was today that, behind the scenes, somebody whose name we don’t yet know committed a criminal act. In a conspiratorial manner he organized an action that prevented a Hungarian citizen from exercising his constitutional rights.

István Nyakó, a former MSZP member of parliament, arrived at 6 a.m. in front of the building of the National Election Office, waiting for the office to open. He came with a question to be submitted for consideration about holding a referendum on the question of the Sunday closure of retail stores. (Yes, I know it sounds like Groundhog Day but, trust me, the story changes.)

Upon his arrival he encountered about 15 or 20 hefty skinheads, each with a folder in hand as if he were there on official business. As it turned out, the skinheads’ sole task was to prevent Nyakó from reaching the time clock ahead of an elderly woman and her young male companion, who was entrusted with handing her question to the authorities. And indeed, Nyakó clocked in four seconds after the woman’s companion did, although he tried his best to break through the human barricade in front of him.

Once the deed was done, the skinheads left without a word. The elderly woman steadfastly refused to answer any questions about either her identity or her referendum question. It didn’t take long, however, for the right-wing Pesti Srácok’s reporters to recognize the faces of at least two of the skinheads: Tibike Karkowski and Lóci Juhos who, according to their Facebook page, acted as security guards at the latest match of FTC’s women’s handball team. Juhos also works as a security guard at FTC’s Groupama Arena. According to Pesti Srácok, these two are not really hard-core extremists, but who knows what the reporters of this particular paper consider hard-core. Pesti Srácok’s hunch is that the heavies are freelancers.

Pesti Srácok might want to shield Gábor Kubatov, president of FTC (Ferencváros / Fradi) and vice-chairman of Fidesz. After all, as we learned recently, Pesti Srácok is in the pay of the Orbán government. In the last few weeks they published twelve pro-government articles, for which they were paid 1.5 million forints. Apparently, in Budapest journalist circles Pesti Srácok is known as Prosti Srácok, “prosti” being the abbreviation of “prostitute.” Others, like Magyar Nemzet, are not so accommodating; they point the finger at Kubatov. According to website of FradiMob, a Fradi fan club, the people who prevented Nyakó from reaching the time clock are “Kubatov’s men” who are employed as security guards by the club.

Then there is the elderly lady, whose identity didn’t remained secret for long. She is the wife of László András Erdősi, mayor of Herceghalom, a village of about 2,000 inhabitants 26 km. from Budapest. Erdősi is described by Index as someone who was a Fidesz supporter from the earliest times of the party. At first he was involved in Budapest politics, but by 2010 he ran and won as the Fidesz candidate for the mayoralty of Herceghalom. Something must have gone wrong between him and the party, however, because in 2014 he ran as an independent, and Fidesz ran its own candidate against him. But Erdősi won anyway. Whatever went wrong between Fidesz and Erdősi didn’t shake his wife’s devotion to Viktor Orbán. During her husband’s campaign against the Fidesz-appointed candidate, she was seen wearing a campaign button with Viktor Orbán’s picture captioned: “My prime minister.”

People on the scene at the National Election Office noticed that the word “Herceghalom” was visible through the transparent cover on the skinheads’ folders. So, I suspect that each of the men held a copy of the referendum question in case Mrs. Erdősi and her young companion had difficulty getting to the time clock ahead of Nyakó.

Of course, the intriguing question is who arranged for the skinheads to guarantee Mrs. Erdősi’s success. It is hard to imagine that Mrs. Erdősi, wife of an electric engineer, has skinheads among her acquaintances. It is also hard to fathom that this latest chapter in the battle against ever holding a referendum on the Sunday closing of stores doesn’t have something to do with Fidesz, which has every reason to fear the result of such a referendum.

Magyar Nemzet has it right on Fidesz and referendum Photo: Balázs Székelyhidi

Magyar Nemzet got it right on Fidesz and the referendum / Photo: Balázs Székelyhidi

Fidesz’s reaction was to blame the ineptitude of the socialists for this latest fiasco. In their opinion, the socialists are just stupid. They haven’t managed to learn the simple rules of submitting a referendum question to the National Election Office. Moreover, they themselves created the whole incident, and therefore “Fidesz condemns the whole affair and the socialists’ scandal-mongering.” This is what Magyar Nemzet called an “astonishing statement.” Origo asked its readers to vote on whom they suspect of organizing the anti-referendum action of Mrs. Erdősi and the skinheads. About 9,000 people have voted so far and 72% suspect Fidesz as the culprit.

Fidesz wasn’t alone in this dirty business. The party had its accomplices. First of all, the National Election Office, which has no intention, at the moment at least, of investigating the case. Then there were the policemen who went by the building but didn’t think it was necessary to stop by and check what the skinheads were up to. And, naturally, there is Mrs. Erdősi, who lent her name to such a disgraceful act. By the way, her referendum question was the following: “Do you agree that that the retail stores—according to Law CII of 2014—should remain closed on Sundays in the future?” This referendum question was accepted by the National Election Office. That by itself is an abomination.

Viktor Orbán wants to make sure that holding a valid referendum in this new illiberal Hungary will be impossible. He knows what a referendum can do to a government. It was Fidesz that pushed through the referendum on the question of co-pay and college tuition in 2008 which was so overwhelmingly rejected by the electorate that it shook the Gyurcsány government to its very foundations. He must have sworn that this would never happen to him. And he knows that his harebrained idea of closing stores on Sunday is very unpopular. If enough people voted in a referendum, this law would be rejected overwhelmingly. Such an action might gravely damage his government, which at the moment is under pressure from several quarters.

One of the MSZP MPs, Zoltán Gőgös, described this morning’s event as “the last flurry of a hapless dictatorship.” Perhaps this is too optimistic an assessment of the situation, but the government is in the kind of position that frequently leads to serious blunders. This latest assault on basic democratic rights may further add to the troubles of a party already feeling besieged.

February 23, 2016
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Guest

Disgusting. Beneath contempt.

Gabor Toka
Guest
I am not sure if I saw some right-wing media – Simicska’s Magyar Nemzet in particular, which has a fine editorial in the Wednesday issue about the topic – getting so morally revolted about the Fidesz regime’s authoritarian nature as on this occasion. And there are some very clear practical questions arising. This coincidence gives a nice opportunity to test one’s own own ability to foresee political developments: do you think any high-ranking Fidesz people will turn on Gabor Kubatov – the Fidesz party director who is suspected to have organized the oversized bodybuilders to be there at the National Election Office today/yesterday depending on time zone – for this story? Will any of the bodybuilders go to jail (three years appears to be term foresaw for this act in current law)? When will the next opportunity arise to submit a referendum question about Sunday trade? Will there be a referendum on the question just submitted by the elderly lady? Will there be any serious official investigation into what happened at the National Election Office? If yes, will it have any other consequence than delaying any ruling on the questions submitted yesterday for a few years (and thus preventing any… Read more »
Guest

@Gabor Toka
Today 8:54 pm

Dear Professor Toka,

In your view, what would it take to turn the average Hungarian who is currently a Fidesz supporter massively against that party by 2018, and what would be the most likely political grouping for a viable alternative majority in parliament?

And how long would you estimate before an alternative political grouping could actually attain a 2/3 parliamentary majority, which would then enable it to undo the constitutional putsch by Orbán & Co, restore a rule of law that is neither arbitrary nor self-serving, and reestablish the protections of constitutional checks and balances that were abolished by the putschists?

Alternatively, if Fidesz lost serious ground in 2018, but not enough to fall from government, what, in your view, would be the probability of a coalition with Jobbik, and what would be the likely consequences of a Fidesz/KDNP/Jobbik coalition in government?

Thanking you in anticipation,

Dr. Mike Balint
Melbourne, Australia

webber
Guest

My predictions:
1. The prosecutor will EITHER not do anything, OR will initiate an investigation that finds no crime was committed (the MSZP fellow on camera said he wasn’t exactly prevented from getting to the window), OR will initiate an investigation that takes so very long to complete that the statute of limitations is reached. That prediction takes no great prescience: it’s based on the prosecutor’s pattern of behavior so far.
2. The question submitted by the old lady, who happens to be the wife of a Fidesz mayor, will be found to be formulated improperly or not to fulfill some other technical regulation.
3. Kubatov will get a “tish-tish, bad boy” from Lazar and one or two others, and that’s it.
My crystal ball goes grey when I ask it your other questions.

Istvan
Guest
Don’t worry Webber Orban has this situation under control. What follows is the official news report to his reaction to the story Eva related to us: Mr. Orbán was asked about scenes which developed outside the National Election Office on Tuesday in relation to the attempted submission of a referendum question on Sunday trading. In his reply, the Prime Minister indicated that this was not the first time that such “undignified” scenes had developed at the election office in relation to the initiating of referenda. According to the Prime Minister, the affair was “completely at odds with everything which we would like to see in Hungary,” in view of the fact that the Government see its task as the creation of a culture of respect. Mr. Orbán said that “as this is not the first time such events have occurred, we must conclude that such situations arise because the legislation [is] inadequate”. He added that the “rules at present do not guarantee fair and civilized conditions for those wishing to exercise their civil rights”, adding that accordingly he calls on the NEO and NEC to face up to the unsustainable nature of the situation and put forward a proposal for… Read more »
Guest
@Istvan Today 4:01 pm Orbán is cunning like a sh*thouse rat, as we would say here in Oz, so yeah, he did execute here a nice, quick flanking move. After all, West European public opinion must be kept at bay, when all is said and done. And that low cunning, among others, is why he continues to run circles around the left wing opposition. Jobbik however is unlikely to prove such a cinch for him. Because if it plays its cards right and successfully adopts a more mainstream political stance, Jobbik could easily and rapidly become a workable parliamentary majority by enticing sufficient numbers of the more radically right wing Christian Nationalists in Fidesz into its own ranks of National Socialist neanderthals. In fact, all that Jobbik needs to do is to adopt some plausible mix of the respective prewar platforms of the Magyar Élet Pártja (Party of Hungarian Life) and of the Nyilaskeresztes Párt (Arrowcross Party), and they would have it made, because that is the political comfort zone of most Hungarians. And that would well and truly take the wind out of Orbán’s sails, and no matter how cunning he might be, there would be precious little he… Read more »
Guest

Unless of course he executed some lightning fast political acrobatics, managed to shift Fidesz to the left, and suddenly put himself forward as the greatest champion ever of Hungarian left-liberalism. That way he might then succeed in scratching together a workable parliamentary majority of sorts, if only in coalition with the likes of MSZP and LMP, against what by that time would have become a Jobbik juggernaut. :-)))

I wouldn’t put it past him at all that in an hour of desperate need he would unhesitatingly resort to this kind of unscrupulous turncoat tactic in order to keep his grip on political power, and neither would I put it past the Hungarians to just as readily swallow lock, stock and barrel his turncoat act. In fact, all that they would be likely to say was that he was being “ügyes” [smart], then promptly vote him back into power. As to Brussels and the left-liberal European elite, they would be delirious with delight to welcome back the prodigal son into their loving embrace.

Guest

Question.

Why didn’t Nyakó just kept totally mum about his intention to present a referendum question on that particular day, leaving Fidesz completely in the dark about it, then just suddenly turn up in a car at precisely 6 am that morning to present it without anybody in Fidesz being any the wiser for it?

Or was it that the real intention behind Nyakó’s action was actually to provoke Fidesz to do something really stupid and despicable, on which they did indeed deliver like clockwork, or perhaps more accurately, like Pavlovian dogs?

webber
Guest

Fidesz has moles inside MSZP.

petofi
Guest

-that would be no surprise…

Bowen
Guest

Because they wanted to let the public know they were submitting a question?

Because this shouldn’t be a game of ‘who can sneak into the National Election Office’?

Observer
Guest

Fidesz stooges file the questions on the first day possible after the term of the previous review expires. This is one of the ways they can keep the review process going indefinitely.

You can safely take it that a referendum can be held only if the regime allows it. The referendum procedure is a complete farce, but the efforts of the opposition and civilians bring up more proofs re the nature of the regime.

Guest

Good questions, ambalint, and I don’t really know how all this works, but can’t an ordinary citizen present such papers to the government, at 6am?

If so, I will be right there, though presumably by now Fidesz thugs will be there round the clock, making sure that any unknown persons who are not bona fide Fideszers, are not allowed a hearing or a presence.

But if journalists should be there too, to record exactly what happens in this “so-called” democratic member state of the EU, then we take the government to an EU court. Cannot undersatnd why the wheels of justice grind so slowly….

Guest

Brilliant time4change! (“so-called”)!

Observer
Guest

Eva writes “[the regime] had its accomplices. First of all, the National Election Office, … the policemen …”
Puppets I would rather say. There are no independent national institutions in Hungary today.

And, yes, NEO accepted a question the essence of which is – Do you support the stable status quo? This is an obvious legal nonsense as the eventual positive result of the referendum would instruct a parliament (with no intention to do anything on the matter) to do nothing. Such question cannot be the subject of a referendum. hence the envisaged referendum would be only a demonstration of political support for the government’s decision, which is also unlawful.

NEO may be going against the law, but the puppet goes where the master pulls.

And pls don’t start me on whether there is democracy in Hungary.

Guest

@Observer
Today 3:54 am

OK, OK, let’s make peace about that terminological dispute between us. :-))

There is in fact no disagreement between us about the utterly foul nature of the political system in Hungary, none whatsoever.

petofi
Guest

Government of Hungary–scenes from a future film of Kusturica…

Observer
Guest

Love this !!

Guest

Re: ‘future scenes’

From another ‘observer’ far far away . With the way some things in Magyarorszag look so off kilter the skinhead stuff can be perhaps a dream-vision of elections in 2018. Lotsa hanky panky sure to go on.

Guest

Sunday morning, my wife still in bed, I go to the nearby bakery to get some fresh bread rolls and a fresh newspaper for our extended Sunday breakfast. When I have entered the shop I find myself in front of a take a number dispenser. I take a number in unwavering confidence that I will be served before the next customer who takes a number.

When I heard about the new episode at the front of the National Election Office I thought that such incidents could be avoided if the office had a take a number dispenser. But, alas, I immediately realised that such a devise could also be barricaded by disruptive people.

I then came to think of why some people are compelled to barricade the place where petitions for national referendums must be submitted, as there is ample back-up in adminstrative rejection possibilities and adverse court decisions. Don’t they fully trust the court?

Guest

Only in Hungary!

The system in Hungary doesn’t mean you’ll be served in a particular order!

In the immigration office they turn the system off during lunch! Even if you have a ticket. So the wait time is meaningless. Except to say it was a very long time.

Look there’s no queue! – I suspect it was to defeat the statistics that these systems can produce – but it was Kafkesque!

They didn’t appreciate this Londoner telling them to turn it back on! (” He’s trouble”).

In another system you see the numbers going down – but suddenly another much bigger number appears – then another and another. You have no idea how many in front – this is Magjar Telecoms system.

When you insist on being served by two laughing staff chatting at an empty counter all hell breaks loose.

Hungary doesn’t understand queing!

Guest

Jean – you don’t appear to understand. It’s a system designed only to be manipulated so only Fideszians can suggest a referendum that obsequiously supports every ‘great’ decision made by the Great Leader Orban. Self-perpetuating propaganda. The opposition should not engage in the farce.

Guest

and btw! – You’re breaking the Hungarian male’s code! “….my wife still in bed”!!

Whatever next! – She’s meant to be serving your every need and desire for goodness sake. And making babies.

Don’t tell your mates – you’ll be a laughing stock.

And don’t you dare touch that washing up either!

Guest

Maybe the question in the last section of my comment was a bit cryptic. I shall reword it. Why is the barricade necessary when there seems to be enough other possibilities for the government to shoot down unwanted proposals? It can be done administratively and if that fails by a Fidesz controlled court. A possible answer could be that Fidesz doesn’t trust that it cotrolls the court without fail.

Let alone the photo opportunities the public participation of thugs in state matter offers.

Guest

@charliecharlieh
Today 5:50 am

Primitive Balkan mentality on full display. Just like the Arabs. I just can’t help wondering what the EU was smoking when they invited countries like Hungary to join the club.

webber
Guest

It wasn’t that he didn’t get to the window (he did), it’s that because the goons held him up he got there second, and that makes all the difference, because the time stamped on MSZP’s petition is just a few seconds later than the first petitioner’s. You see, Fidesz made a regulation that when a petition has been submitted for a referendum on a particular issue, another petition cannot be accepted (or will automatically be rejected) if it is submitted on the same issue. So, now the office and courts have to make a decision on the petition submitted first, and nobody can submit a petition for a referendum on the same issue until a decision is brought.

Guest

London Calling!

Just as I believe that the opposition MPs should not take their seats in this sham of a parliament – then they should not engage in this game of referendums.

They should operate outside the game – and have a ‘Street Referendum’ – if they can get the support – which I doubt. They might however get a body of people to wear check Klinghammer shirts – but that’s about it. (All quiet on the home front – except in BP where they are manning the barricades apparently – it must be real chaos there with there burning and dissent – but Gyor is peaceful!)

To even try to submit a referendum under the present rules legitimises this commocracy.

Naively some believe they can have a plebiscite in this corrupt regime.

Ninc.

Regards

Charlie

webber
Guest

Strange. So many movements in Hungary start in Győr.

Guest

@charliecharlieh
Today 5:08 am

The same point was made very forcefully years ago by László Bartus, editor of Amerikai Népszava, a Hungarian-American internet news portal that has been fiercely opposed to Orbán and his gang from the outset.

Guest

I thought the talk then was to boycott the elections?

Guest

@charliecharlieh
Today 3:06 am

Yes, of course, primarily that, but also a boycott of the broader political and parliamentary processes.

Observer
Guest

Fascist violence http://librarius.hu/2015/12/14/megtamadtak-markos-albertet/

A small but indicative incident in Sepsiszentgyörgy, where a CELLO PLAYER !!was heavily punched and lost a tooth while verbally defending a Jewish member of the quartet from antisemitic attack. The attacker is allegedly a local politician.

Guest

@Observer
February 24, 2016 6:22 am

Reminds me of my own “good old days” during my early teens in communist (communist!!!) Hungary where I was assured by self-satisfied policemen and smirking teachers that there was no Jew-hatred in Hungary.

This particular incident took place in “Balkan” Romania, but could just as easily have happened in oh so “Européer” Hungary too, which is of course no less a Balkan place than the oh so despised land of the “bocskoros oláh” (“moccasined Vlah,” a demeaning, derogatory term in Hungarian for Romanians – talk about falling out between Lilliputians!!).

As they say, plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, or the more things change, the more they stay the same.

dos929
Guest
Dear fellow readers, you all correct, but at the same time you are (nearly) all wrong… The important issue is not who gets first to the counter to hand in a petition. The trouble is that YOU HAVE TO HAND IN A PETITION, and hand it in under such primitive circumstances… What kind of democracy can create and uphold such incredibly undemocratic law? One may turn their attention the Swiss-model, where all important issues are put to a referendum. Hungary is clearly not Switzerland. But to make such a law on the first place, then to force the petitioners to undergo such an inhuman process to hand it in is beyond every normal standard. I may add also that there were many organisations present at this fiasco, but one was missing; namely a representative form the EU. It was widely known that this petition was to be handed in. It was also known that this game was played once already under similarly atrocious circumstances. Why, may I ask, those EU officials who are so keen on upholding democratic values were absent? Can they explain it? For what on earth they are drawing salaries if they cannot fulfil this most basic… Read more »
Guest

dod929 – I think you are being a bit unrealistic if you expect the EU to intervene at such a granular – low – level. And if I’ve read you correctly.

However in their unfailing, expeditious and insatiable quest to defend democracy in all its colours (*******irony alert here*****) they might have intervened in the passing of this (and all) aspect of the constitutional law.

In this so-called democracy.

Guest

@dos929
February 24, 2016 7:29 am

All the evidence in hand would indicate that Hungary is too small a fry for Brussels and the core EU countries to give even a fig about what goes on inside Hungary.

I think that the left-liberal opposition in Hungary must swallow and digest this bitter pill and act accordingly.

Guest

@dos929
February 24, 2016 7:29 am

All the evidence in hand would indicate that Hungary is too small a fry for Brussels and the core EU countries to give even a fig about what goes on inside Hungary.

I think that the left-liberal opposition in Hun
gary must swallow and digest this bitter pill and act accordingly.

Guest

This duplication was due to an error on my part.

Tyrker
Guest

Robert Kennedy, Jr, on the refugee crisis: “The million refugees now flooding into Europe are refugees of a pipeline war and CIA blundering.”

http://www.politico.eu/article/why-the-arabs-dont-want-us-in-syria-mideast-conflict-oil-intervention/

Guest

Tytrker, don’t you have anything to say on Hungarian issues?
Then f*ck off!
You’re behaving like a really ugly troll …

Observer
Guest

OT although Tyrker is tying to dig here …

RFKj offers very good analyses laying out the most impossible entanglement of ethnic, religious, geo and local political, and finally economic factors in the world. He could have gone a bit back in history and find out e.g. that “Byzantine politics” was coined to describe this regional mess 1000 years ago, well before the Turks, Sunni/Shia, oil or the USA appeared.

First part is obviously influenced by the critical history of the CIA -Legacy of Ashes, by Tim Weiner. I doubt that RFC junior knows the current CIA activities well.

RFKj does not provide an answer by stating that:

“only when we see this conflict as a proxy war over a pipeline do events become comprehensible.” Shamefully simplistic in the wake of his own analysis.

And he advises that: “It’s time for Americans to turn America away from this new imperialism and back to the path of idealism and democracy…” I tried to recollect when was America on such path, but memory failed me.

In my humble opinion RFKj has an distinct political agenda here.

Guest

@Observer
February 24, 2016 8:47 am

You are absolutely right on all your points in your post above.

Anyway, it is very characteristic of most comment and analysis by journalists and pundits to start off their pieces with a bang, but end them in an incoherent whimper.

Istvan
Guest
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is a spoiled millionaire (worth about $50 million) who went to elite prep-schools, Harvard, and the London School of Economics. In the 1980s he was a heroin addict, in the 1990s he became an environmental activist. He was also a serial philander who may have driven his wife Mary Richardson Kennedy to suicide by hanging herself in an outbuilding on the couple’s Bedford ­estate in 2012 after she discover he was documenting his extra martial sexual affairs in a diary. As far as I can tell he has no background in Middle Eastern studies or for that matter foreign policy issues. He has never served in the US military or held a position in the State Department. The Politico article linked in the post of this blog is the only one he has ever written on US foreign policy as it relates to the Middle East. Only a Fidesz operative could find Kennedy as an authoritative source on US Middle Eastern policy going back decades. I would add that while Kennedy puts together his facts they are completely out of context of world affairs. In his narrative there was no cold war, in fact the only… Read more »
webber
Guest

Hear, hear!
One might add that RFK is on the loony-left end of the spectrum – so it’s cute that Fideszniks imagine they approve of his views (my guess is they are also popular in Putin’s circles).

Member

Surprise? Not Politico again?

petofi
Guest

@ Istvan

You’re red neck is showing.
What kind of condemnation are you suggesting with, “…went to elite prep-schools, Harvard, and the London School of Economics”?

Guest

@Istvan
February 24, 2016 2:07 pm

For some strange reason, this two-faced, ingrate and ignorant little beneficiary of inherited American wealth reminds me a little bit of jet setting former VP Al Gore, also a wealthy member of the East Coast loony left elite, holding piously forth on the urgent need to reduce hydrocarbon emissions, and doing so with a straight face.

egon
Guest

Poor Orban, I am afraid he’s working way too much.

http://munchausenparokaja.tumblr.com/image/139908275316

spectator
Guest

Naah!
You’d better use allergy-tested eye liner when in drag, the cheap stuff can have this effect. May ruin your entire day afterwords…

Guest

London Calling!

Orban’s doing a sort of ‘Cameron’!

He’s holding a referendum of his own.

A so-called referendum in Hungary means asking a leading question to which you know the answer….

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/feb/24/hungary-viktor-orban-will-call-referendum-on-eu-refugee-quotas

He’s a bit disappointed that world coverage has left him in the dark.

(And he needs to distract all those riots going on in BP!)

Regards

Charlie

webber
Guest

Someone explain this please: Orban is saying he didn’t sign anything in Brussels and the quota (therefore) doesn’t effect Hungary. (is that three lies he’s told, or four?)
So why does he want to hold a referendum on something that doesn’t effect Hungary anyway?
And now I read that according to the constitution Orban made, you can’t hold a referendum on this sort of thing. So why does he want to hold a referendum on a question that is irrelevant, and which violates his own constitution?

And what does CÖF have to say….

ticsa
Guest

webber: C’mon. Who cares about these intellectual details?

Politics is not about logic or consistency. Orban didn’t sign it, but it doesn’t apply to us anyway. Or the other way around. Or whatever. Orban resists, he is a fighter, that is the message.

As you may have read it by now, Jobbik submitted a proposal to amend the constitution yesterday. Apparently Jobbik was briefed about Orban’s announcement, which is not a surprise as Jobbik is a wing of Fidesz. They work hand in hand and always have been.

The goal – obviously – is to “thematize” public discourse, most likely the internal security will engineer another bottle neck in the migrant flow in the summer just before the referendum.

If you want to seem busy and statesmanly and want to hide your incompetence in other issues then wage a war and blame problems on the refugees, jews, the EU etc.

It works for Cameron, worked for W. Bush etc. and will for Orban too, I’m afraid. Probably some 85% will support him (Fidesz and JObbik will make sure of that) at the referendum.

webber
Guest

I don’t think it’s working for Orban at the moment.
He’s lost the plot. His spin doctors have a seriously unbalanced set of details to harmonize.
It can’t work.

frogman
Guest

As they say it in Hungary aki időt nyer, életet nyer or more or less “he who gains time gains everything”.

Guest

@webber
February 24, 2016 12:26 pm

Excellent points.

As Emerson said, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.”

And who among us would dare to say that Viktor the Victorious has only a “little mind”? After all, to a man of such lofty intellect as his, that darned consistency is merely an irritating nuisance .

But seriously, it will be most fascinating to watch how he will surely get hoist on his own petard and ever tighter entangled in ropes of his own making.

Guest

Of course, Orban’s doing what I predicted.

He’s doing his ‘I will save Europe’ bit – playing the almighty saviour and thus drawing the sting of having to deal with the teachers and the grumbling health service.

OK they’re having fun with their check-shirt protest and it’s harmless enough – but I – the Great Leader – am dealing with much more important existential issues.

As long as Balog keeps the lid on I’ll keep him in the job – but if it gets restless I have somebody lined up.

Yes I’m too tied up.

Now where did I put those plans for my choo choo trains?

Queen Elizabeth has just opened her ‘Elizabeth Line’ – I’m going to think long and hard over what to call mine. The Viktor Loco Line? The Puskas Loop? Orban Orient?

Hmmmm I dunno…..

Guest

@charliecharlieh
February 24, 2016 5:39 pm

Very good, charliecharlie. I love your sense of humour!

Guest

And he’s pretending he doesn’t want the helicopters now – when the EU said he couldn’t buy them.

Putin won’t be pleased!

http://uatoday.tv/politics/hungary-decides-not-to-buy-30-helicopters-from-russia-597409.html

webber
Guest

The loser is apparently getting used to being pushed around.

Guest

With the skinheads it surely appears the mooks are running wild doing their damage on the streets of the ‘mafia state’. There’s more intelligence lying on the bottom of ponds than in the upper stories of the ‘kopasz gang’ and their capos.

cyborg
Guest
Istvan
Guest

I read about this American and also IMF spy story too. As an American citizen who visits Hungary every few years I am concerned because it has implications for me I guess. Many American Hungarians have filled out residence permit applications for longer stays in Hungary with family that require us to provide an official letter of invitation or an invitation from our family, a certificate of the average income of our inviting family, and a copy of the passport or the personal identification document of our primary family member we are staying with among other things. When I read a story like this it sends a chill down me for my family in Hungary given my US military background.

There are serious implications relating to NATO in this case from the little that the Hungarian National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has released to the media. It’s pretty disturbing. For sure I am going to keep future visits under 90 days to avoid this paper work.

webber
Guest

Istvan
Nothing has changed, really.
Under the first Orban govt. a journal edited by L. Juszt ran a piece claiming that the Hungarian secret services had new instructions to watch all American citizens in Hungary. That journal was closed down the next week on charges of violating state security, allegedly related to another piece it ran, and all copies of that issue not yet purchased by the public were confiscated.

Guest

@Istvan
February 24, 2016 5:17 pm

Re implications for NATO.

I myself cannot for the life of me figure what NATO might have been smoking when they invited Hungary for membership of the club.

Guest

The 90-day rule is extant now – You have to report to immigration now if your stay is longer than 90 days…..(and have done since Hungary joined the EU in 2004, I believe.)

Rigó Jancsi
Guest

Given that Orban’s plan to hold such a referendum is most likely against EU law, the Kuria or the Constitutional Court (or even the Election Committee) should refer the matter to the ECJ.

This would not just hold up the process, but could be a very important EU public law precedent too.

Of course both the Kuria and the Constitutional Court are staffed with loyal Fideszniks, so admittedly this is not likely.

But who knows maybe there will be a huge pressure from the EU on the Hungarian judicial bodies to refer and they might oblige.

Istvan
Guest

The referendum will be as follows: “Do you agree that the European Union should have the power to impose the compulsory settlement of non-Hungarian citizens in Hungary without the consent of the National Assembly of Hungary?” There is an English subtitled video of PM Orban making this announcement at http://www.kormany.hu/en/the-prime-minister/news/hungarian-government-decides-to-call-referendum-on-compulsory-resettlement-quotas

Guest

And the German media already report on this:
http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/ungarn-warum-viktor-orban-ein-referendum-ueber-die-fluechtlingsquote-abhaelt-a-1079110.html
Loosely translated:
O is trying to incite/instigate Hungarians against the EU …

petofi
Guest

Let’s ruminate some here: there seems to be huge shift in Russian (read, Pyutin) posture in recent days. No threatening military flybys; a hastily suggested (and agreed upon) ceasefire in Syria with the US; a lessening of anti-american propaganda. Can we surmise that powerful, grey elements in the Russian power structure have ‘read the riot act’ to Mr. P? After all, what’s the use of billions if you can’t enter the fray and buy some of those fabulous condos in Miami, New York, or Los Angeles? Perhaps they’re suffering from the pangs of Gucci-withdrawl? (Or, atleast, their wives…) When you’ve already enslaved 140 million and controlling the resources of the largest country in the world, why teeter-totter with brinkmanship? (American generals should have it so good.)

In this scenario, I can see Russia dropping Hungary like a hot potatoe; and then, dear readers, the Fidesz Hungaricoes can bend down and kiss their assets goodbye…

Istvan
Guest

There are a lot of ways to look at this Petofi. One could be Putin wants a breathing space for Bashar Assad to consolidate the gains his forces have made with Russian air support and then will allow Assad to break the cease fire. The Russians used this same tactic in Ukraine. Another less likely possibility is the Russians have grown tired of the expense of this whole project in Syria.

I don’t see US combat soldiers calling Putin “Uncle Vlad” any time too soon. I had an in-law who was a US Army sergeant in WWII who always referred to Stalin as “Uncle Joe” until the day he died, much to my distress.

Guest
@petofi February 24, 2016 5:09 pm I do not see any particular mystery about Putin’s latest moves. He has achieved his objectives both in the Ukraine and in Syria. In the Ukraine, his objective was the annexation of Krim and the permanent destabilisation of the rest of the country until and unless it was willing one way or another to return to the loving embrace of Mother Russia. In Syria, his objective was to enable Assad reestablish his hold over all parts of the country that really matter, while consolidating Russia’s position as the real power broker in the region, crushing once and for all similar ambitions by Turkey which sits on the Bosporus long coveted by the Russians. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Putin would in fact soon link arms with the US in active support of Syrian Kurds, seemingly in support of their war against ISIS, but in reality to knock the Turks down a further notch or too, not to mention directly threatening Turkish national security by further emboldening Turkish Kurds in their struggle for secession, or at least full regional autonomy. That could also have the side benefit of probably forcing the Turks to… Read more »
Guest

Of course, none of that excludes the possibility that after the Turks got well and truly crushed and dealt out of the Syrian and broader Middle East game of thrones, the Russians would extend a surprisingly magnanimous hand to the Turks and ultimately even enter an “entente cordiale” with them which would guarantee the Bosporus for Russia and integrate Turkey into the Russian economic sphere, which would of course be a very nice match for both parties.

Whether the US and NATO would take this kind of development lying down, that is an altogether different matter.

petofi
Guest

@ambalint

Economics, if nothing else, have got the squeeze on Putin–where are they going to sell their oil? I think Putin has a serious ‘time’/economics problem. He can’t keep up the Syrian stuff for long, I imagine…

Guest
@petofi Today 3:24 am He will squeeze his muzhiks until they sweat blood. Putin has the solid support of the Russian Orthodox Church, and the mouzhiks are used to suffering. After all, in their peculiar belief system life itself is meant to be sheer suffering, and it is only in heaven that one could look forward to the rewards of having been a good little muzhik in this vale of tears and endless suffering. As to the oligarchs, Putin controls the secret police and the armed forces, and any oligarch that would dare to get out of line would instantly go the way of Mikhail Khodorkovsky or Boris Berezovsky. Anyway, no one need to fear any painful Gucci-withdrawal or desperate Lamborghini-hunger on the part of anyone near and dear to the oligarchs, as we can be 100% certain that they have immense amounts of cash, property and investments stashed away in the West, to which they can have instant access any time. All proceeds of the looting and thievery that is built into the Russian mind. In 1990, I traveled all over Russia, Belarus, the Ukraine and Kazakhstan – then still republics within the old Soviet Union – with a… Read more »
Iglu58
Guest

Does anybody know about Ilona Pálffy’s CV prior to 1990?

She was born in 1948 and apparently graduated from ELTE law school in 1972.

She does not list her employers during communism though.

She only says she worked at various local councils (the predecessors of municipalities).

Given her jobs (sensitive but secretarial) after 1990, she looks to me a solid silovik loyal to Fidesz. Why am I surprised?

http://valasztas.hu/hu/ovi/content/nvi/Dr._Palffy_Ilona_szakmai_eletrajz.pdf

Observer
Guest

VIDEO of the Hungarian “democracy” enforcement.
Orban is winning – Sieg Heil !

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4izJJDMbZY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGrH6LzRobM

Europe, shake you politicians up, stop the brown plague.

Latefor
Guest

Dearest Eva,
I would love to hear your opinion about a poem “Hat jo jatek kisbabaknak” by Attila Jozsef price winner poet, Varro Daniel.
Did he really write this poem for five-year-olds?
Is it true that this poem is in the school-books? (I’ve read this today in one of the online paper).

wpDiscuz