Despite an all-out effort, enthusiasm for the referendum is shrinking

A friend of mine just returned from a short trip to Hungary and phoned to report on her impressions. She is one of those American-Hungarians who closely follows Hungarian news and is well aware of the tremendous effort the Orbán government has put into ensuring that the referendum on the non-existent compulsory quotas will be valid and that it will pass with a very large majority. Even so, she was not expecting the barrage of giant billboards lining the road from the airport to Budapest. “You have to be there to feel the atmosphere this campaign creates,” she said. No wonder. According to reports, there is a billboard every 40 meters.

tudta-kampany

The intensity of the campaign has been growing steadily ever since, at the end of February, Viktor Orbán announced his intention to hold a referendum. For Orbán a successful referendum, requiring the participation of more than half of the electorate, seems to be a matter of life and death. This is not an exaggeration. Only two days ago, at the Fidesz picnic at Kötcse, he used the phrase himself. What is waiting for him is a fight with Brussels which must be won because otherwise the death of the nation will be waiting for Hungarians.

Gábor Török, one of the numerous political commentators, questioned the wisdom of the prime minister for putting so much emphasis on the referendum. What if too few people show up and the referendum is not valid? That would be a real embarrassment.

Why is Orbán trying so hard to get out the vote? Even if he didn’t reach the magic 50% + 1 threshold, polls last month showed that over 80% would vote “no,” as the government wants. This result would still show tremendous support for Viktor Orbán’s migration policies. One possible rationale for Orbán’s frantic scramble for votes is that this referendum is not so much about the migrants as it is about gauging (and beefing up) his current level of support.

Admittedly, if more than half of the electorate were to vote massively in line with the wishes of the government, his hand would be strengthened at gatherings of the European Council. “You see, my support at home is overwhelming.” Moreover, he could rest assured that he will remain prime minister for some time to come. But let’s say that only 37% of the electorate turned out to vote on October 2. Not only would he look weak in Brussels, he would look weak at home as well. Especially since the opposition parties more or less unanimously, if belatedly and in some cases half-heartedly, have finally agreed to support a boycott of the referendum. If 63% of eligible voters stay home, there is no way to know how many of them were just lazy or indifferent and how many were active boycotters.

Last week an article appeared in Élet és Irodalom by Mária Vásárhelyi, who is known to readers of Hungarian Spectrum because we have discussed her sociological studies extensively here over the past few years. It is titled “Népakarat vagy politikai manipuláció” (Will of the people of political manipulation). In it she convincingly argues that “in dictatorships and autocracies referendums are the most effective means of political manipulation,” an assertion she supports by pointing to the frequent referendums held in Hitler’s Germany. One of Hitler’s first moves after becoming chancellor was to change the law on referendums: they could be initiated only by the government. Vásárhelyi calls attention to the fact that the Orbán government in 2010 also changed the law on referendums and since then has done everything in its power to prevent holding any referendums initiated by the public. If a referendum in an autocratic regime is intended to increase support for the regime, the fact that the democratic opposition parties haven’t managed to come together and formulate one common message against the referendum “is an unforgivable sin against Hungarian democracy,” she concludes.

Vásárhelyi wrote those lines before the latest Závecz Research poll about the referendum came out. You may recall that a month ago I wrote an article titled “Orbán’s anti-refugee propaganda is a roaring success,” in which I reported on a survey conducted by the same polling company at the end of July. “The enthusiasm is tremendous,” I wrote. “At the moment the majority of the population (54%) plans to vote. If they actually follow through, the referendum will be both valid and, from the government’s viewpoint, stunningly successful. Only 19% of the population claim they will stay at home. Another 23% haven’t decided yet. Of those who intend to vote, 85-90% will vote ‘no.’”

Závecz Research repeated the survey at the end of August, when the opposition parties’ campaign hadn’t yet started. The hilarious anti-referendum posters of the Magyar kétfarkú kutya párt (party of the dog with two tails) were not yet on the streets. Nevertheless public enthusiasm for the referendum dropped considerably in the past month. Tibor Závecz now feels fairly certain that it will not be valid. The number of people who will vote to support the government has dropped and the number of undecided voters has grown. In July 54% of the electorate was intent on voting while today this number is only 41%. That is a very considerable change.

Here are some details. Support from Fidesz voters is pretty much unchanged. Sixty-four percent of them would go and vote “no.” But the number of those who would vote “yes,” that is against the government, has grown from 5.5 to 8.1%.

The changes that occurred in the month of August are most striking in the case of Jobbik voters, who in July were as enthusiastically supportive of the government’s position as Fidesz voters were (61.8%). That number in August has shrunk to 47%. The number of Jobbik supporters who will go and vote against the government has grown substantially, from 3.8% to 8.5%.

DK’s message has been very effective all along. It was a simple slogan: “Stay at home, stay in Europe.” Their supporters got the message. Seventy-three percent of them will boycott the referendum and 10.8% of them will vote “yes,” which is twice as large as it was in July.

MSZP with its mixed messages managed to confuse its already confused electorate. Their reactions are all over the map, but the upshot is that almost 15% of MSZP voters intend to vote “no,” which must be translated as support for the Orbán government. In addition, 20.2% of MSZP voters indicated that they would vote but claimed they haven’t decided how they will vote, which can easily mean a pro-Fidesz vote. About 20% haven’t decided whether they will vote or not and only 31% say they will stay at home, which is practically the same as it was a month ago. MSZP’s new leadership has proved to be an ineffective lot, perhaps because its members are split on the issue. Some of them share Orbán’s anti-immigrant stance, while others take the position that they have to keep in mind their supporters’ views, which are not exactly friendly toward the migrants. A good summary of MSZP’s attitude toward the referendum can be found in today’s 168 Óra.

A few days ago, in an interview, Richárd Szentpéteri-Nagy, a political analyst with the Méltányosság Politikaelemző Központ (Equity Center for Political Analysis), went further. He suspects that there are “a fair number of people within MSZP who are directly or indirectly maneuvered, instructed by Fidesz.” Mária Vásárhelyi puts forth another hypothesis. It is difficult to escape the suspicion that the “mischievous” MSZP is perhaps already thinking of a possible Fidesz-MSZP coalition.

That’s where we stand at the moment. Only DK and the two other small parties, Együtt (Together) and PM, are consistent and steadfast opponents of the Orbán government which, as a friend told me, is being encircled with “increasingly quiet hatred.” The question is what this currently quiet electorate will do and whether there will be anyone to turn to for leadership when the time comes.

September 12, 2016
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Guest

Not just the billboards – but all the lampposts too. We were there last month and saw it all – and the mail shots.

He’s desperate.

But I’m certain rural Hungarians will carry his vote.

Why can’t Hungarians see how one-sided it is?

Like his elections – having a monopoly of media sites.

This is not democracy – not giving the people informed choice.

This is worse than the Brexit shenanigans.

This is Geobbels propaganda; Kim Il Un TV; Putin publicity and Ceausescu’s ‘instruction’ – all rolled into one.

It won’t fail – Orban holds the keys to all the voting boxes.

i-2016
Guest

Sad state of a nation.
The nation is not in opposition.
The regime is.
Non-violent resistance must end the fidesz rule.
Another non-violent movement has to develop a movement against the lies crafted in Moscow/Budapest.
The movement should be internationalized to forge parties of true democrats in Austria, Slovakia, Slovenia, Rumania etc. to kick out the Le Pens, Brexits, Orbans etc.
The party must have one name HU-D-Party, AU-D-Party, SL-D-Party to end the tyranny of Putin/Orban/Kaczyński.

PS Stay at home, to save the dignity of Hungary.

LwiiH
Guest

What is amazing is that the!o campaign is being funded by the ministry of information. Talk about a misuse of public funds.

Guest

My wife and I discussed this too – but it seems (the majority of …) Hungarians are too stupid to realise how their tax money is being squandered.

Or they just don’t care anymore …

A bit OT:

A very Christian and conservative friend of my wife just put up the news on facebook:
A Hungarian woman can make 1800€ a month in Austria just cleaning dishes or swiping floors – that’s almost four times as much as she could make as a qualified nurse in Hungary!
We’re still wondering what she’s thinking …
Now the association of cleaning companies in Hungary complained that they can’t get enough staff:
http://bbj.hu/economy/hungary-sees-severe-cleaning-staff-shortage_121831

bimbi
Guest

“It won’t fail – Orban holds the keys to all the voting boxes.”

Much as I hate to agree with Charlie, on this one he is completely right. With the millions invested in bill-boards (I saw five of them is a row the other day), fliers, and all the other obliging media propaganda, it is clear that Orban is going to win, even if he has to ‘arrange’ for the vote count to be adjusted in the ‘right’ direction. He won’t think twice about it. He has too much (of his political reputation) invested.

Istvan
Guest

By the way Mária Vásárhelyi’s comparison to the Nazis referendums is frightening because it is so appropriate. In March 1936 the Nazis referendum was as follows “Do you approve the military occupation of the Rhineland and a single party list for the new Reichstag composed exclusively of National Socialists and independent guests of the party.” The recorded vote was 45 million approve and 540,000 opposed.

Guest
Addendum to the ‘frightening’. I would say the reality of another time once again jumps out incredibly at the last line here. The beginning of the 21st is a doozy for one country. Sometimes you have to pinch yourself to see ‘realities’. From the American Bar..org site. .. Hans Frank was Hitler’s lawyer. What follows is history. A caution of the ‘law’ in the wrong hands. ‘This landmark case became known as the Leipzig Reichswahr trial. It began in Germany’s Supreme Court in Leipzig on September 30, 1930. The Nazis had just made stunning gains in national elections. The Nazi Party was now Germany’s second largest political party. Frank called Hitler, himself, to testify. As a witness for Frank’s clients, Hitler had an international forum. He reassured the world that the Nazis would never try to seize power by force. If the young officers thought otherwise, they were mistaken. Hitler assured the court: “Our movement has no need of force. The time will come when the German nation will get to know of our ideas; then 35 million Germans will stand behind me. . . . When we do possess constitutional rights, then we will form the State in the… Read more »
webber
Guest

Eva… You wrote that if Orban got the result he wants in the referendum ” he could rest assured that he will remain prime minister for some time to come.”
Pardon?
I come from a state that holds referendum like clockwork, and can tell you that support for any given referendum has NOTHING to do with how people will vote in upcoming elections. Referenda are (generally) single-issue votes. You can hate the people backing a referendum and still agree with their views on that single issue.

If anyone paints results (whatever they are) as proof that Orban will win or lose an election, they’re nuts.

pappp
Guest

But I would say if the turnout will be below 50% it will be a clear sign that Orban is beatable, that he is weak. And Orban knows that this will be interpreted so and he wants to avoid that. He doesn’t want to be just a contender ever again.

That is because Orban used unbelievable propaganda efforts, we seriously talk about billions and billions here, probably as much as (or more than what) a proper general election campaign would cost in Hungary that is 3-4bn forints.

If that money and the unrelenting efforts of the Fidesz’ machinery, coupled with intimidation and other local strong-arm tactics will not be effective then it will be obvious that the spell is probably broken and the field is wide open for the first time in many years.

Alex Kuli
Guest
I’m afraid I must disagree. You did not name the country from which you come, but since you said it “holds referendums like clockwork,” I assume you are talking about Switzerland, right? If I am incorrect, apologies. But let’s assume I am right. Switzerland holds referendums on issues such as “Should we reconstruct the tunnel?” or “Should gun owners be forbidden to store weapons in private homes?” These are indeed single-issue votes and have little impact on people’s overall party preferences. Hungary is historically and culturally different than Switzerland, and this referendum plays out differently in the Hungarian mind. – The Swiss have four big parties and a handful of small ones with parliamentary representation. Hungary is run by a strongman whose word is as good as law (so long as he doesn’t try to tax Facebook.) – Hungary’s strongman controls a good deal — dare I say a majority — of the media; independent voices are being drowned out. – Generally speaking, the Swiss do not view their political opponents as low-life traitors to the nation. Followers of Fidesz-MSZMP and Jobbik do, with active the encouragement of party leaders. – The Swiss have a tradition of individualism and critical… Read more »
Guest

“The Swiss have a tradition of individualism and critical thinking; Hungarians are taught from nursery school to follow the pack.”

This is a most perspicacious observation of the Hungarian psyche if true.

Eva has alluded to this several times and might explain to this Westerner how the electorate assimilates the propaganda of the media.

So the ‘government-controlled media’ is a veritable prize in any autocracy – but is only half the story – well maybe ⅔rds.

If the controlled media is assimilated by an uncritical mind – its potency becomes highly concentrated – possibly bordering on brainwashing?

Bingo!

Thanks, Alex.

Explains a lot.

webber
Guest

Alex, there are MANY American states which hold referenda like clockwork.
Most states W. of the Mississippi, in fact.

webber
Guest

… so, never assume.
This is def. a single-issue referendum. People who vote “no” are not saying they will vote for Fidesz – far from it. They are only saying they agree with Fidesz on this single issue.

Alex Kuli
Guest

You’re right – “assume” makes an “ass” out of “u” and “me.”
I still argue that this referendum cannot be considered a “single issue” referendum. It’s partly designed to help Orban peel away voters from Jobbik and possibly other parties.
If you are from the US, I don’t think you will find a governor trying to whip up “total mobilization” and warning of the death knell for his state. If you’re a member of the Militia of Montana, maybe. Otherwise, most people would say, “Whoa, that governor is nuts” and stay home to watch Cops reruns.

webber
Guest
Designed that way, yes. Delivery is one thing. How it is received is another. I will bet my eye teeth that a lot of people who vote “no” also will vote against Fidesz. I think the opposition would be very silly to frame this as a vote for or against Fidesz. That would be self-defeating for the opposition. There is no need to oppose every idiocy – and this referendum is supremely idiotic (I really appreciate the Ketfarku KP posters – they are even on lampposts where I am now). Now, if the referendum does fail (I doubt it will), THEN the opposition can start crowing about Fidesz’s massive defeat. Before? Why risk it? There are all sorts of policies the opposition ought to treat with kid gloves. If, for instance, Fidesz were to call for lower taxes and increased welfare payments, should the opposition oppose these measures on the grounds that they might bankrupt the government? I’d say, no. Those measures would be popular in any country. Opposing them would just make the opposition look lousy. And what would the point be? In this country, government can do what it wants now anyway – if the government were to… Read more »
Bowen
Guest

Mária Vásárhelyi … convincingly argues that “in dictatorships and autocracies referendums are the most effective means of political manipulation,”

Well, she’s ‘borrowing’ from Clement Attlee, who said exactly the same thing in 1945, when Churchill was considering a referendum to prolong the war campaign. ‘I could not consent to the introduction into our national life of a device so alien to all our traditions as the referendum,‘which has only too often been the instrument of Nazism and Fascism.’

Margaret Thatcher borrowed the quote again in 1975, when she opposed a referendum on EU membership: “Perhaps the late Lord Attlee was right when he said that the referendum was a device of dictators and demagogues.”

dos929
Guest

In my opinion the seemingly reduced support for the referendum has no real meaning. Regardless of what will be the results of the voting, the actual true number will never be known. The regime can and will publish any result what-so-ever that suits them. Ever since transparency is a dirty word in Hungarian politics and ever since the regime took control of nearly every aspect of the everyday life of Hungarian society and daily life, they can say and do as the great man dictates. The black hole of this regime swallows everything that has anything to do with reality, truth and justice. Simple as that. So don’t hold you breathe for any positive outcome from this referendum. The means and tools that are at the disposal of the regime are endless in order to thwart any effort by the opposition in any direction to regain democracy. And this is my friends the true nature of totalitarian regimes that currently flourishes under the Orban regime with if not by the blessing of the EU, but with their complete silence…

petofi
Guest

Quite right.
Hungary has fallen into a great sink-hole.

It don’t matter: nothing there is of any more import than a frog’s fart in a windstorm–

Bowen
Guest

The referendum poster campaign in Hungary does indeed need to be seen to be believed. It’s not so much present within the Kiskörút part of Budapest (where the tourists are), but it’s certainly blanketing everywhere else.

There is literally no opposing voice, except the Two-Tailed Dog Party posters. I’ve seen lots of these in central Budapest, which is probably just preaching to the converted, but they are small, and a lot of these have been damaged or torn down already.

Üllői út – all the way from Kálvin tér to the airport – is inundated with these posters, as is the metro. In some countryside towns I’ve been to, they’re like flags on every single lamppost, like bunting at a festival. It’s bizarre.

I really wonder what effect it has on children, or young people who can read this garbage, and somehow have to process it. It’s extremely irresponsible.

BMO
Guest

Let’s face the reality — millions are going to get back behind Orban..

To begin with, the regime created three million (that is 30% of the entire country – and counting) people living below the poverty line.

Do you think that this block will vote ideologically when it has trouble making a living? Or that this block of voters have the energy and resources to make an informed choice to rid the shackles of carefully crafted party subterfuge? Or cross the very people on whose handouts they may be living off of (or actually barely living) ? All this with a vociferous support of the ‘church’, infested with Fidesz propaganda..

The average Hungarian voter spends ~10-15 minutes seeking information; wondering how this before-mentioned group gets penalized as a function of their social status.

->They invest zero time or effort to inform themselves; the “party” does that for them through the TV, radio, billboards and church. There goes 30% of the electorate, another 30% will come through the public sector and party loyalists. That’s the ball game ladies and gentlemen..

Guest

Breaking news – and maybe a sign for change?

Luxemburg’s foreign minister Mr Jean Asselborn has asked for Hungary to be thrown out of the EU!

One reason is:

Hungary treats refugees fleeing from a war worse than animals …

And he goes on attacking O personally as a (deleted).

Thank you, Mr Asselborn!

Even Russian propaganda tool Sputnik reports on this:
https://sputniknews.com/europe/20160913/1045245026/hungary-leave-eu.html

Now let’s wait for the reactions – soon the prime ministers/presidents will meet in Bratislava.

LwiiH
Guest

Of course Russian news picked up on the. They want nothing more than the disintegration of this block. The crack-cocaine of EU subsidies will keep Hungary anchored to the EU. That the EU can’t use them to encourage better behaviour is the true failure here. As far as the natives are concerned its business as usual. The change in 91 was only to facilitate a change at the top of the pyramid.

Guest

Here’s Szijjártó’s reaction!

He writes off the politician – even if Luxembourg is a founder member of the EU.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-37347352

webber
Guest

The man, Jean Asselborn, was appointed foreign min. by Juncker – and that surely gives him a bit of added clout.
I am certain that Orban will simply play this as another crypto-communist attacking “Hungary.”

Guest

It’s also on portfolio.hu and ‘d like to modify the Hungarian foreign minister’s comments:

“We already knew that Szijarto is a frivolous character. It is evident that he lives a few kilometres from Moscow (in spirit …); he is so condescending, arrogant [and] frustrated. He wants to lead Hungary out from the EU, but he has already excluded himself from [the group of] politicians that can be taken seriously,”

“As a good ole’ Fidesz communist he is restlessly working on destroying European security and culture,”

I’ll leave out the rest of Szijarto’s ranting …

http://www.portfolio.hu/en/economy/hungary_foreign_minister_plays_down_call_by_asselborn_to_expel_hungary_from_eu.31814.html

Guest

It’s getting very prominent coverage on all BBC platforms….

webber
Guest

German FM opposed to expulsion of Hungary, and even to suspension of voting rights. Again, Merkel’s dogs protect Orban – Fidesz is in the same EP party group, after all.

Guest

Do you have a source/link for that? Can’t find it …

webber
Guest
webber
Guest
Guest

Of course, my fault – I had thought “FM” means Finanzminister Schäuble – Steinmeier is AM (Außenminister) in German …

He is very careful and now playing Asselborn’s partner in a bad cop/good cop game with Hungary imho

webber
Guest

“bad cop/good cop game.” THAT is a bit much. How can you possibly come to that conclusion? Merkel and her government have defended Hungary from expulsion from their parliamentary group in the EU, from censure by the EU Parliament, from punishment after punishment, and now you want to call this defense of Orban a “good cop” game?

Sorry, the overwhelming evidence is that Merkel defends Orban. The headline in Spiegel is: “Steinmeier will Ungarn nicht aus EU ausschließen.” And you say it’s a bad cop/good cop game? Ridiculous.

Only the blinders of German patriotism can be keeping you from seeing what is evident all around you. Try to take them off, and look again.

webber
Guest

The German government, Merkel’s government, might have kept silent on this (Pappp’s point below). Instead, they were among the first to react, by defending Orban.

Shame on Merkel!

Guest

Steinmeier is not “defending” Orbán – how did you get that impression?
He said:
Er könne aber verstehen, “dass mit Blick auf Ungarn einige in Europa ungeduldig werden angesichts der fortdauernden Debatten zwischen der EU-Kommission und der ungarischen Regierung”.
So he understands that Asselborn is getting impatient …

pappp
Guest

There was no overarching reason why a German minister would have to interfere in this not too important exchange — unless of course the Germans would seriously want to appear as Orban’s protector and enabler.

I don’t get it. Appeasement can only embolden the aggressor. There is absolutely no reason or incentive for the aggressor not to be aggressive again and rest assured Orban trashed Germany at the Füred caucus retreat.

webber
Guest

I agree.

Istvan
Guest
I have to disagree with Wolfi, the one that needs to thank Luxembourg’s foreign minister is Orban. Lydia Gall’s statement in the Guardian article that Luxembourg’s foreign minister’s call for Hungary to be thrown out of the European Union would “probably do more harm than good”. Luxembourg is the richest country on the Continent and the second richest in the world, behind Qatar, and its pronouncements via Juncker so irritated the Brits that it helped propel the UK out of the EU. As far as referendums go Luxembourg attempted to grant foreigners the right to vote and it was overwhelmingly rejected by 80 percent of voters. Luxembourgish which is supposedly the national language of Luxembourg has become a minority language within that country if it can be called such a thing. It is really just a legal tax haven with formal borders and is listed on the Corruption Perceptions Index put out by transparency international as highly corrupt, more so than Hungary belief it or not. Foreigners now make up more than 45 percent of residents of Luxembourg. In addition, more than 160,000 people commute to work in Luxembourg every day from France, Belgium and Germany, meaning Luxembourgers are only… Read more »
webber
Guest

Istvan – have you ever actually been to Luxembourg?
I have. It is a nation, I can assure you.

You’ve made it clear you dislike Luxembourg, because of Juncker, many times in the past. I’m with you on Juncker. I’m not with you on Luxembourg. It’s a country. Why hate a whole country because of one politician?

You know, Luxembourg is also a member of NATO, has an interesting history, lost a far greater percentage of its land due to a dictated peace treaty than Hungary did at Trianon. And Luxemboug was a victim of Nazi Germany – not an ally, but invaded and subjugated.

And Luxembourg is a founding member of the EU. I think what its FM says might be of relevance to other members of the EU. Maybe not to you. But to those who matter.

Guest

Webber, here we agree re Lützelburg (aka little Burg, the original German name of the country)!

PS re Steinmeier:

He is not a member of Merkel’s CDU but a Social Democrat – and he probably abhors Orbán as much as anybody else, but he’s a diplomat …

Istvan
Guest

Yes but it was a radically different place when I was there in the 1970s. The demographic data of Luxembourg is open for all to see,

webber
Guest

Visit any country in W. Europe, and you will be shocked by the changes – some good, others not so great.
The same goes for any state on the W. Coast, come to think of it.

webber
Guest

Your point being what? That the message and the messenger are no good because the country is what it is?

It’s, per capita, the richest country in the world – and there is no oil in the country, and no gold either. I’d say Luxembourgers have been doing something right. It may not be something you approve of, but that’s a different issue. You can praise Romania, Bulgaria or Hungary for not doing it, if you like.

Istvan
Guest

It’s not my point Webber it was Lydia Gall’s point, who is a critic of Hungary’s policy. She said and I believe correctly that the statement coming out of Luxemburg would do more harm than good. It was Wolfi who linked the article to the list where the statement was made.

webber
Guest

Lydia Gall said nothing pejorative about Luxembourg. That was what you said.

I believe Lydia Gall meant that the statement would just cause Orban to double down on nastiness, while nothing would actually be done to Hungary. That’s how I read her statement.

Given the response by the German Foreign Minister, I’d say that was a prescient statement.

Istvan
Guest

I said nothing pejorative about Luxembourg, I presented the demographic reality of Luxembourg and the public perception ranking of corruption in Luxembourg from the transparency international report. For all of those reasons having the foreign sec of Luxembourg call for Hungary to be expelled from the EU will backfire and benefit Orban in relationship to the referendum vote.

pappp
Guest
I find the new figures on the Jobbik voters a bit perplexing. Jobbik’s leadership is pushing for the No vote (in line with Fidesz’ intentions) and its voters are known to hate migrants and the EU. The new numbers don’t make much sense – unless our assumptions of Jobbik voters are wrong. Also we can expect at least 200-300, 000 No votes from Transsylvania and Voivodina (in the general elections the number will be much higher), from ethnic Hungarians channeled in to the Fidesz machinery. Although if all of the eligible ethnic Hungarian voters are counted in the denominator then this may represent less than 50% and thus contribute to the unsuccessfulness of the referendum. As to MSZP, it is not a party in the traditional sense, it has no stated principles, no goals, no vision, no plans, ideas, nothing. Basically it has nothing to say to the voters. As someone put it aptly if you don’t stand for anything then why have a party? All MSZP wants is to be in power to continue siphon of the taxpayers. Its leadership, the top 20-50 people are bland, empty, corrupt people who are only waiting for the dough, and indeed many… Read more »
Guest

You’re really funny – everything you write about MSZP is (also) true about Fidesz!

pappp
Guest

wolfi, I totally disagree. Orban is a conservative (the Alexander Dugin-type), anti-Western, anti-liberal revolutionary – and he is supported in his conviction by most of the right-wing/conservative elite.

This is a strong conviction and Fideszniks have been relentlessly executing this strategy/ideology in all facets of life (education, culture, foreign policy etc.).

Although I agree that average Fidesz politicians are mostly just political soldiers, make no mistake they too are anti-Western, anti-liberal etc.

MSZP, on the other hand, is truly empty. They don’t know what to think about issues, they have no ideas, their supporter base is also divided, it’s really a mess, but the bottom line they don’t want anything.

For example MSZP is OK with the privatization of the education system into the hands of Christian churches (about 25% and in rural regions 50%, including the education of rural elite) which has been a reliable way to distribute conservative ideology and lock the rural elite. But MSZP had nothing to say. MSZP politicians are weak, afraid of the conflicts and are totally empty. There is no reason for MSZP to exist other than to be a vessel for corruption.

Guest

Pappp, you wrote it has no stated principles, no goals, no vision, no plans, ideas, nothing.
And that goes for Fidesz too – if need be, they totally revise what they did before …
Wanting to turn back the clock to the Middle Age doesn’t count as a vision for me.

We Schwabs have a saying:

Was geht mich mein Geschwätz von gestern an?
Loosely translated:
Why should I care about the stupid things I said yesterday?

And that’s exactly what Fidesz thinks – there have been so many laws and rules which were overturned again …

pappp
Guest

wolfi: in a sense you are right. Fidesz is contradictory, changing its mind about many things – but so are and so do other parties too. No party works from a book of philosophy and remain 100% consistent for ever.

What I’m saying is that the underlying anti-liberal principles and principles related to entrenching its power (such amass more media and never give up any etc., when MSZP does not even has such principles as it gave up media long ago) remain intact.

Orban never changed his mind about “the West”, “the Liberals”, “the EU”, his views about influencing the courts etc. If anything he became more conservative, more partisan and more aggressive.

MSZP does not have such a consistent core – or rather it’s this mushiness, this undecidedness, this cluelessness. But this is not an ideology or agenda.

Guest
Re: MSZP… ‘mushy’… You know the one-eyed party is king in the land of the blind. That referendum coming up could be a game-changer for Fidesz if they lose it.. It’s voting of great import wth perhaps interesting repercussions. Fidesz is a ‘cyclops’ already hiding its great weaknesses behind a sort of false bravado and a peripatetic nervousness that has the country on edge with being on a war footing. War is good for stirring up the heartland. But really it’s real bad for the arteries and the organism overall. And if the referendum comes up ‘igen’ a cyclops will more than likely have certain ‘vision’ problems. And perhaps it is then how the calculus of principles will change with parties like MSZP. They look to be weathermen usually checking which way the wind blows. Another thing to think about in the great chess game of ‘party’ politics in the country. If VO loses ‘his’ referendum, he just might be forced to castle and lose that all important initiative which he always seem to crave in Parliament, on the streets, in the country and against the EU. It would be perhaps a startling rejection of his entire value set which… Read more »
webber
Guest

Jobbik voters are an enigma. Some of them are just disgusted MSZPers who would never vote for Fidesz anyway. Many of them have never been aligned with any party, and for them voting for Jobbik is a protest against all parties which have been in power so far. Many of these people would vote for a worm before they voted for either MSZP or Fidesz — and they don’t care what the worm’s platform is.

And then there are those who truly know what Jobbik is about, and support that.

I think it’s dangerous to assume much of anything about Jobbik’s voters.

Member

As usual, PPPP, apart from the disclaimer — “I’m on your side, I think it’s terrible too” — is the perfect propagandist for Fidesz. I am not a clinician, so I cannot judge whether this is because of defeatist fatalism or treachery, but the effect is exactly the same.

Éva may fall prey to jubilatio praecox sometimes, but it is only in her unflaggingly constructive, positive attitude and efforts that any hope for Hungary lies.

pappp
Guest

re Závecz Research, this is also a bit counterintuitive poll.

Corrupt politicians is not even in the top three most important issues for Fidesz-Jobbik-MSZP voters? For about 40-50% of the voters corruption is not an issue (at least no. 4 on their priority list)?

And even those who don’t have a party (about 40%) corruption is only the third important issue with 15% mentioning it as a top problem?

Only for DK voters and voters of other parties LMP, PM, Együtt – who between them cannot amount to more than 15% of the electorate say that corruption is a top priority.

http://index.hu/belfold/2016/09/13/na_kik_azok_akik_legalabb_olyan_nagy_problemat_jelentenek_mint_az_alacsony_fizetesek/

Guest

Because money is their main problem …

And the stupid people seem to believe that the migrants are the reason for that!

Propaganda seems to work – like in good old Kádár times …

FreeWheeling
Guest

At least as far as I can tell these are the reasons for the huge amount of billboards and this referendum:
– At least during the time of this unofficial government campaign there has been a measured decrease in sympathies by the Hungarian public for the refugees.
– The immense breadth of these adverts are largely being spent with media companies that are friendly to Fidesz leadership.
– A portion of these large government expenditures with these friendly media companies can eventually be expected to donated to Fidesz and/or create private slush funds to be primarily used against the opposition in 2018 and for other important “projects” designated by Fidesz leadership where public monies cannot be used.
– The voter rolls showing who participated in this election will be important for Fidesz leadership to study and see who is a receptive target group within the voting electorate. It could be used possibly as a way of determining Fidesz loyalty since we can easily expect upwards of 90% to vote along the government’s prescribed sentiments.

Guest

And now back to reality aka economics!

An interesting report in the Budapest Business Journal says
German economy will need an additional 100,000 electrical engineers in the next decade, over and above experts newly qualified at home. This, notes online portal index.hu, may lead to an intensification in the brain drain from Hungary.
and
Csaba Kilián, acting general secretary of the Association of the Hungarian Automotive Industry (MAGE), told Világgazdaság that “the figure of 100,000 presumably also includes all engineers, within which – thanks to automation and digitalization – IT experts may be predominant.”
http://bbj.hu/economy/study-warns-of-electrical-engineer-exodus-to-germany_121886
Somewhere I read that Bosch alone needs 20 000 IT and electronics experts in the next few years (with university degrees) and at least 10 000 must be found abroad …

The future is looking bright for (at least some …) Hungarians!

Guest

Completely O/T

‘Making History’ is a very interesting history ‘radio magazine’ on our Radio 4 covering many many historical events.

(A very enjoyable way to learn about history – in contrast to my history teacher at school (a grammar school btw!) whose idea of a rivetting history lesson was to nominate ten pages of a boring green book with no pictures to be read for the whole period – whilst he marked the homework of his senior pupils.)

This episode gives a personal testament to the 1956 Hungarian ‘Uprising’ and how, if you failed to escape abroad – because you were ‘intercepted’ – then you had to escape because ‘your card was marked’. Staying behind had tragic consequences.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07v0ftw

I hope you can access it.

wpDiscuz