A call for questions to Ferenc Gyurcsány

Ferenc Gyurcsány’s article, “Disintegration or something else?,” published the other day, aroused a lot of interest among the readers of Hungarian Spectrum. A record number of people were interested in what the former prime minister had to say about the state of the world and the problems of Europe and Hungary. Almost 100 comments appeared on the subject, some of which expressed a desire to receive further elucidation of points discussed by Ferenc Gyurcsány.

Given the great interest, I inquired from Mr. Gyurcsány’s staff whether he would be willing to answer some questions from the readers of Hungarian Spectrum. I’m happy to inform you that I received a positive answer to my inquiry, and therefore I urge all of you who have questions for Mr. Gyurcsány to submit them in the comment section of this post. I’m very excited about the prospect of an exchange of ideas with Mr. Gyurcsány.

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Mr. Gyurcsány, how can we persuade the EU to stop funding Orbán’s corrupt government?
And if it takes throwing Hungary out altogether, how soon can this happen?

When Hungary joined the EU in 2004, it was under your leadership, as a PM with a clear understanding of the importance of forging strong links with the West, and with an enlightened vision for Hungary to develop as a proper democracy.

Under the mafia leadership of Orbán, your vision and all your hard work have been almost entirely eroded.

I believe that one of the reasons the UK, and probably other countries too, are disenchanted with the EU is because it does not abide by its own principles of democratic values, as evidenced by the continued funding of Hungary in the full knowledge that the moneys have created and continue to do so, an aggressive mafia oligarchy.

How can this continue and why is the EU so inept at putting a stop to it?


Fun, I suppose we should list questions here.

1) Given the level of institutionalized and even legalized corruption that exists in Hungary, is it possible to elect anyone who has not been tainted? If so, how can the electorate be assured that any candidate is clean?
2) How would you deal with past cases of legalized corruption. That is laws were passed by those involved in order to legalize a corrupt practice or to allow them to be involved in dealings where there is a clear conflict of interest.
3) What is your current feeling on legitimacy of the current constitution. What are your plans to fix it and why isn’t anyone talking about it.
4) Why do we no see very much in the way of opposition to the campaign against Brussels regarding the upcoming referendum. And how is it that the state is funding only one side of this campaign?

Julian Edmonds

Mr Gyurcsany, what would you say to the c. 200,000 Hungarian citizens living in the UK who have now just suddenly been made to feel a lot less welcome there?

Is now the right time to come back and start trying to change Hungary for the better?


Interesting question! – Here’s some useful research.

Just 105 Hungarians have responded to ‘Orban’s Call’.



Mr Gyurcsány, let me first express my admiration and appreciation for your courageous perseverence in the face of the unspeakably unjust vilification campaign to which you have been subjected by Viktor Orbán and his followers.
My question is whether you have any new plans for unifying the democratic opposition in light of Brexit and the changed leadership of MSzP?
Stevan Harnad
U Southampton & UQÀM
External Member, Hungarian Academy of Sciences

Roderick S. Beck

Mr. Gyurcsány, Hungary had the highest per capita real GDP in Communist Eastern Europe when the Wall fell. Today Czech per capita real GDP is 20% higher. And the gap is even greater on a disposable income basis due to Hungary’s world record VAT charges and 45% social taxes (employer pays 25% and employee pays 20%). The consumption per capita in real terms is about 25% to 30% less than in the Czech Republic.

Clearly the policies of Left and Right over the last 27 years have failed.

What do you propose today that is different?

Thank you Prof Balogh for enabling this very interesting ‘exchange of ideas’ with Mr. Gyurcsany. It is evident here that those very intimate with Magyar history and the actual wielding of power are providing insights towards understanding the big questions facing Magyarorszag today. Real good questions above. Mine go along these lines. A. With the current political situation in the country what is the future of ‘democracy’ and ‘democratic’ institutions in the country? A ‘blip’ perhaps because of ‘acute’ events or get ready for more of the axe with all the consequences of that? And B. What underlies the propensity of Magyar political life after the experience of ’56 to not really ‘get dressed’ for strong democracy and its traditions? It would appear that the clothes were ill-fitting. Does it mean the tailors are to be blamed, those who shape its form in the country? Or is perhaps underneath governments and the people just don’t ‘understand’ it thus affecting its traction in getting pulled along within the country? Thank you. Personally , I wish you success in your future endeavors. An American of Magyar parents who gave me a rich heritage of Magyarorszag, its lands, history and people. I treasure… Read more »
London Calling! As a Londoner I would like you know that I voted for you – well DK- at the last election. My Hungarian partner and I drove specifically to Hungary the day before to cast my vote – and she allowed me to put my cross in the DK box. We photographed the ballot paper for display in our Hungarian home. I voted to counter the votes of those who neither live nor pay taxes in Hungary – I call them the ‘Trianon’ voters. I voted in a very rural part of Hungary and the excitement was palpable – and the calls in the street and the people punching the air shouting ‘Fidesz’ was sickening. I therefore expect my question to receive especial attention from you as is the custom in Hungary – I paid heavily for my vote! This is my question. Engaging in Orban’s warped parliamenty debates is neither democracy – nor worth the effort, where most legislation is presented through private member’s bill which you and others don’t even have time to read before voting – I believe this was the reason you cast a vote recently, against your intention. Engaging in this farcical game legitimises… Read more »

If the democratic opposition win the elections in 2018, how should they go about dismantling the Orbán system? What should be done first, and why?

1. Can (if yes, how) the democratic opposition parties avoid the “mutyi” when it comes to holding fideszniks accountable? (Given – among others – the fact that many MSZPniks are clearly in bed with Fidesz and Fideszniks will have unlimited funds to buy the generosity of leftists?) 2. Does the democratic opposition have by now (because historically it did not) the human resources in law who (1) at least understand the workings of the legal system (constitutional court, prosecution etc.) and (2) who can lead and execute, given their professional respect, charisma and determination, the fundamental rearrangement of the legal system (ie. within the prosecution it is not only Polt who is thoroughly corrupt, the entire constitutional court is not much more than a Fidesz party chapter etc.)? 3. Are there many in the democratic opposition who want to conclude a “grand bargain” (a kiegyezés) with Fidesz (leaving top Fideszniks unprosecuted and/or leaving the current constitutional setup basically intact in exchange for some support in amending some laws or the Basic Law)? 4. Does he think that the democratic opposition now has the cleverness to drive a hard bargain with Fidesz, given that in the past it was always, but… Read more »
Jean P.

Mr. Gyurcsany,
It seems to me that the migration of people from poor overpopulated countries to rich underpopulated countries is in accord with a general law of nature once called horror vacui. The greater the differences in population density and availability of life necessities the greater is the driving force for migration. The driving force is now immense. Can an individual be blamed for obeying a natural law and migrate?
According to socialist thinking all people are equal and differences in fortune should be compensated by society. The unfortunate should be helped. Does this thinking apply to migrants? If yes why only migrants? Why not everybody in poor overpopulated countries?
The socialist dilemma is that altruism will ruin the altruist society. So why talk about it? I noticed that you didn’t.


All nice, but here is the major task, will Gyurcsany try to disarm the Russian State, which one more time, weaponized Hungary against the West and against most Hungarians?

Will we declare war against the Russian State?


I would ask Mr Gyurcsány if he believes that the current Fidesz government will step up its evolution towards Putin’s Russian Federation and eventually break with NATO?


Note to Éva

I (and no doubt others) have re-posted the call for questions to Mr. Gyurcsány on a number of social networks. The invitation will no doubt attract many malign trolls. The sooner their spoor can be deleted, the better, so that the forum does not descend into the shameful smears that Mr. Gyurcsány has had to endure for the past decade. The questions (I am sure you agree) should be from sincere proponents of a return to democracy in Hungary and not the Trumpeting of those who have almost annihilated it.


When Gyula Molnar, the newly elected president of the MSZP was asked about the possibility of the cooperation on the left he said “there has to be one challenger [of the FIDESZ] but it’s too early to tell how can we achieve that”. Do you know how can that be achieved? Would the DK endorse the candidate of another opposition party in 2018 if that candidate has a better chance to be elected?

Alex Kuli
Dear Mr. Gyurcsány, The political system created by Mr. Orbán in 2011 bears a lot of similarities to the Democratic Party machine that took root in Chicago a century ago, later perfected by the late Mayor Richard J. Daley and his family. The similarities include rewards for party loyalists (especially in the form of jobs), party control over private business, legal coercion, political pressure on the media, cheap populism (rezsicsokkentes), and public stigmatization of anyone who diverges from the party line. In both systems, party organizers use these tools to ensure that voters cast ballots for the power elite. The key to making this work is a strong citywide/nationwide political network in which the party maintains close, personal contact with individual voters. To this day, there is only one Republican alderman out of 50 on the Chicago City Council. In Hungary, the opposition managed to win just 10 of the 106 constituency seats at the 2014 elections, even though opinion polls showed that a majority of voters were dissatisfied with Orban’s governance. In your essay posted on Hungarian Spectrum last week, you envisioned a system of “competitive social networks in which parties, advocacy groups and virtual communities work together based… Read more »