Vona, under vicious attack, may yet outfox Orbán

Viktor Orbán is bent on the destruction of Gábor Vona, chairman of Jobbik, and with him the whole party. I know it was only two weeks ago that I wrote a post titled “Power struggle on the Hungarian right?” but I think that recent political developments warrant a second look.

By now I believe that this struggle is more than a turf war between two right-wing parties. Since Jobbik succeeded in foiling Viktor Orbán’s plan to amend the constitution, Fidesz has put Jobbik and its chairman squarely into the enemy camp, along with the parties on the left. Before the confrontation over the amendments Viktor Orbán viewed Jobbik not only as his competition on the right but also as an ally on whom he could call in time of need. Therefore, Fidesz criticism of Jobbik was always muted. But by now these relatively amicable relations have frayed to such an extent that Lajos Kósa, head of Fidesz’s parliamentary delegation, declared two days ago that even Ferenc Gyurcsány was a more decent politician than Gábor Vona. In Fidesz vocabulary one cannot find a more damning description of a political opponent.

Viktor Orbán has come to realize that Jobbik is behaving like a full-fledged opposition party, which from the look of things seems to have surprised him. And he is hitting back hard, which makes the Jobbik leadership fight back even harder. The result is that there are more and more signs of a commonality of interests among all opposition parties. For the time being both sides deny that they have any plans for even limited cooperation, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they changed their minds in the not too distant future. Because, let’s face it, without some cooperation between the left- and right-wing opposition parties Viktor Orbán cannot be unseated in 2018. In fact, if nothing changes, Orbán might die in office. After all, he is only 55 years old.

Viktor Orbán, who had taken Jobbik for granted, feels double-crossed. And we know that in such circumstances Orbán goes into attack mode. The first move was to launch a media campaign against Jobbik. The Fidesz propaganda machine dredged up all of Jobbik’s past sins, real and invented. Ripost.hu found “shocking evidence” that Jobbik is behind the murder of a policeman by an armed right-winger, which is a fabrication. On the other hand, Jobbik does have plenty to hide, including murky relations with Russia and contacts with far-right organizations in Hungary. The Hungarian security offices surely have plenty of incriminating evidence, including photos. Some of this material is being given to Fidesz-friendly media outlets to embarrass the party.

But everywhere they turn they encounter common skeletons in the closet. Ripost.hu made a big deal of the fact that Adrien Szaniszló, who works for Jobbik’s “foreign affairs cabinet,” was born in Moscow, which seems to be an indelible stain on one’s pedigree. The problem is that she is the daughter of Ferenc Szaniszló, a controversial commentator on the right-wing Echo TV, whose high decoration from Zoltán Balog a few years back was greeted with such an outcry that Balog had to ask Szaniszló to return the award. As for Adrien Szaniszló birthplace, it is something she couldn’t help. Her father was Magyar Televízió’s correspondent in Moscow.

It seems that the propaganda ministry didn’t think that warming up these old stories had been effective enough. So they recycled Terry Black’s 2013 story of Vona’s alleged homosexuality. Such stories make a huge splash in Hungary. In 2015 Klára Ungár, a former SZDSZ member of parliament who is openly gay, wrote on her Facebook page: “Viktor blabbers about those members of the gay community who do not provoke and explains why this is a good thing. What do Máté Kocsis and Szájer say to that? Surely they agree and that’s why they are hiding.” Viktor’s blabbering refers to a speech he gave in which he explained that one can live peacefully with gays as long as they don’t make too much noise. He added that gays are different, and therefore they don’t deserve the same rights as heterosexuals. He was referring to the marriage of same sex couples. That’s what got Ungár’s goat. Szájer had the good sense to remain quiet, but Kocsis sued Ungár and lost the case on appeal.

Fidesz was in an uproar over Ungár’s accusations and made a big deal about the immorality of resorting to such methods in order to discredit someone. But now that the government and its servile media are doing the same thing, Fidesz leaders no longer have such compunctions. In fact, Ungár’s little note on Facebook cannot be compared to the onslaught against Vona. I have no idea how successful the smear campaign will be, but the pro-Fidesz media is convinced that it’s working. For example, Ripost.hu claims that Vona finds this accusation so damaging that Jobbik created a special “crisis center” to handle the fallout. It’s no wonder, Riport.hu continues, since in the past Jobbik was a homophobic party that “on several occasions sharply condemned any homosexual relations and, in fact, demanded harsher penalties than are in the existing criminal code.”

I don’t know about the crisis center, but Vona’s wife posted an open letter to Anikó Lévai, wife of Viktor Orbán, asking her to intercede with her husband to put an end to these ad hominem attacks on her husband. She understands that there is “confusion, resentfulness, and vindictiveness” because of the failed constitutional amendments, but political fights should remain within the realm of politics. “I suspect that you are the last person he perhaps still listens to.” To which the website Kolozsvári Szalonna responded: “I want to warn you not to expect miracles from Anikó Lévai, who has as much say in this affair as in her own shitty little life.”

Gábor Vona and his wife, Krisztina Szabó

Gábor Vona and his wife, Krisztina Szabó

If Magyar Nemzet’s information is correct, Gábor Vona is not retreating. In fact, he is ready for a second round with Viktor Orbán. Fidesz already announced that it is abandoning the constitutional amendments and that by the end of the year the sale of residency bonds will also come to an end. Apparently, Jobbik is planning to resubmit the Fidesz bill on the amendments as its own. Only half a sentence will be added to the original text: “settlement requests for financial compensation” cannot be considered.

Such a move would put Viktor Orbán in a very awkward situation. I assume he would not agree to allow Jobbik’s, or any other opposition party’s, bill to reach the floor. Every proposed bill first has to go to committee, where it will probably die. But how will Viktor Orbán explain that his precious bill is not important enough to be discussed and voted on? Even the extra half sentence should be acceptable to Fidesz because the government has already decided to stop the sale of residency bonds. So why should it be dead on arrival?

This is shaping up to be the third major political embarrassment for the infallible political genius. Gábor Vona is obviously a talented politician who has managed to do something no other opposition party has: score a major victory over Viktor Orbán’s government not just once but perhaps twice.

And that’s not all. Vona seems to have something else up his sleeve. In connection with the clearly dirty business of residency bonds the opposition parties suggested setting up a special parliamentary committee to investigate the matter. Naturally, the Fidesz majority voted the proposal down. Jobbik called a meeting of opposition parties, to which representatives of LMP, Együtt, and the Liberals showed up. They decided that the four parties should form an extra-parliamentary “shadow committee” to investigate the affairs of Antal Rogán’s off-shore middlemen active in the residency bond business. The parties’ bigwigs still have to give their blessing to the idea, but the comments of LMP’s Bernadett Szél were promising. In her opinion, alternative political instruments are necessary because no meaningful work can take place in the Fidesz-ruled parliament. Such an extra-parliamentary body can be as effective as an official one, she said.

The work of a shadow committee might have an invigorating effect on the opposition. I must say that I find the idea attractive.

November 12, 2016
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Guest

“Apparently, Jobbik is planning to resubmit the Fidesz bill on the amendments as its own. Only half a sentence will be added to the original text: “settlement requests for financial compensation” cannot be considered.”

Better to have it in the Constitution than relying on promises. The problem is that Fidesz ignores the constitution when it is convenient to do so.

Member

FYI: Effective January 1, 2012, there is no Constitution in Hungary.

pappp
Guest
The entire idea and the content of the this amendment proposal are for media show purposes only – in order to perpetuate the migrant discourse (in which Fidesz is leading and the left-wing is irrelevant) and Orban’s image as defender of national interests v Brussels. Legally the amendment is irrelevant, unnecessary. Really no need to take it seriously. Note moreover that if there was some genuine unregulated issue a loophole which needed a constitutional clarification then the Constitutional Court – which is basically directed from the Prime Minister’s Office – would obviously help Orban. The Jobbik proposal is thus only about targeting Orban and Fidesz. Right now it seems Jobbik is being elevated to the status of an equal contender to Fidesz and Orban. The left wing is not being seen, it’s silent, it’s irrelevant but Jobbik and Vona are more and more treated as legit challengers and Jobbik is trying to prolong that game. The first step is always to be accepted as “a contender” and Jobbik is succeeding in that – whereas the left-wing is still seen as a bunch of irrelevant losers. Orban knows well that if he engages with anybody the mere fact that he chose… Read more »
Guest

O’s relentless and totally crazy trying to kill every opponent’s reputation reminds me of the old German saying again:

Der Krug geht so lange zum Brunnen bis er bricht.

This can’t go on forever – especially since Fidesz has “genug Leichen im Keller” (skeletons in the cupboard).

Someone being gay is their smallest “problem” – but it seems again that Hungarians are ok with things like corruption.
How long will this go on?

Ferenc
Guest

First thought about OV and Vona: two dogs fighting for a bone….
Haven’t seen the third one yet, but that one seems to be always unexpected…… and the one to really take it!

Ferenc
Guest

In this “dog fight”, the open letter seems to be a good move. It brings it back to personal level, and I think can only take a wrong turn caused by own wrong doings. So curious what will follow now.

Ferenc
Guest

That “shadow committee” looks a very good idee to me, recommend to all opposition parties to consider it seriously.
In that way all Fidesz affairs can be investigated, starting off with the currently most obvious one, being “propaganda baby” Rogan.
Another item I suggest is checking OV’s government, how many persons are there to really do something, and how many to only explain/tell things to the people.

Guest

Re: ‘Gang’ war

Just thinking that the Jobbik-Fidesz fisticuffs perhaps opens up something for all the other parties to take note of. There’s perhaps something to be said for the two gangs to duke it out exhausting themselves in the heated and angry process. When the knives come out it presents ways of getting new cuts of fish. Perhaps there’s where opposition opportunities lie in getting the Orban monkey off their backs.

Guest

Interesting:

The first British politician that Trump spoke with (for about an hour) was:

Nigel Farage, the boss of UKIP which is comparable to Jobbik …

The British Prime minister Theresa May was only no 11 in the queue!

Traditionally, one of the first acts of the newly elected president of
the US is to call Downing Street to ensure the continued strength of the
two nations’ special relationship. However, Trump spoke to the leaders
of Ireland, Mexico, Israel, Egypt, Turkey, India, Japan, Australia and
South Korea before calling May.
https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/nov/13/nigel-farage-donald-trump-crispin-blunt-ukip

Don’t know yet what that means for the “special relationship” that the US and the UK used to have – maybe Trump is telling them that they are really unimportant after Brexit?

Observer
Guest

Sums sumarum, Hungary has never had such low a bunch in government (Szalazi fscists were murderous and Rákosi communists oppresive, but not so corrupt and unprincipled by far).

For the uniniated: You are closer to the truth if you assume exactly the oppisite to what this Organ character says.

Observer
Guest

If Orban died in office at the age of 56 I would lop up the bubbly and wave the vengeance/justice wish.

Rivarol
Guest

We should kill him. Nü?

Ferenc
Guest

No he’s not worth it for anybody to feel guilty for such a crime.
Best is if he gets somehow fully paralized, not able to do anything at all anymore, but still understanding everything happening around him, i.e.his former party shriveling into nothingness, his former collegues confessing everything they have really done and his former supporters understanding the left over mess, for which they feel also responsible and are obliged to clean up..

Observer
Guest

Yes, in a perfect world …

Ferenc
Guest

So, before the “perfect world” is achieved, all forces need to be focussed on tackling OV vasals with proof of their corruption, and after that focus on OV himself.
What happened today by the opposition parties (LMP/DK), attacking OV, while they do yet have sufficient against RA, who they really should corner now.
This proofs again that they are uncapable of doing things in the only possible succesful way to get rid of OV/Fidesz.

Observer
Guest

Rivarol

Can you ?

I would not be upset even if this rotten dictator gets killed, say in a car accident ..

Member

Trump was predicted 96 years ago:

comment image

Member

🙂

comment image

Member
Member

But the quote is somewhat embellished. According Snopes it’s:
“The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

(Close enough… But Trump’s not the first moron in the oval office — though he’s the first through-and-through charlatan, and a vile and vicious one to boot. The worst yet — and poised to do more irreversible damage than any of the prior ones were in a position to do.)

http://www.snopes.com/politics/quotes/whitehousemoron.asp

Istvan
Guest

Henry Louis Mencken, wrote it in the Baltimore Evening Sun on 26 July 1920, in an article entitled “Bayard vs. Lionheart” here is link to the full essay http://amomai.blogspot.com/2008/10/hl-mencken-bayard-vs-lionheart.html

webber
Guest

Even Trump cannot be as bad as Andrew Jackson was.

aida
Guest

So, professor, you do not agree with Mr Trump. But, charlatan, vile,vicious etc?
The liberal media could not stop referring to the former Governor of California when he was elected President as a failed B movie actor and a fool. What is the verdict of the middle ground on the man who destroyed Communism as a world force?
I am sure you are upset by and disappointed with the result of this election. I would suspend a verdict for a little while.
There is a school of thought that Obama’s relaxed attitude to migrants was to enlarge the Democratic power base. If true, not so nice.
Politics is a dirty business. We are very lucky that we are just observers. It provides us with something to chat about, but without having to get terribly worked up.

webber
Guest

That school of thought is idiotic. More Mexicans entered the US during the Bush presidency than the Obama presidency, during which there has actually been a fall in the number of Mexicans in the US. Was that because Bush favored Mexican immigration? No.
Was that because Obama discouraged Mexican immigration? No.
It’s the economy, stupid – and the stagnating wages in the US.

Member

Hate Jobbik, but like the fact they created a2 headed Hydra, Fidesz gets confused when attacked on multiple fronts.

On a higher level, I really wish there was a way to make Hungarians understand, the migrant referendum and all the other national crusades Fidesz screams about are all designed to divert attention from the real and immediate Hungarian catastrophe;

Fidesz destroying the country from within, enriching their elite by embezzling EU money on an industrial scale, manipulating ‘public’ land sales and real estate, enriching their wives and in law. Turning the Central Bank, NAV, the Supreme court and all media, into enablers, rather than impartial overseers.

The weight of all this is getting too heavy.

James
Guest

Fidesz defy belief in their despicableness. However, Jobbik will be much worse should they attain power. They will quickly revert to a set of barbaric values they currently conceal. The only way Hungary sidesteps this calamitous spiral is to not fall into the easy trap of ‘my enemies enemy’, and for an entirely new, truly moderate, force to come into being.

Guest

“..Jobbik will be much worse should they attain power.”

Jobbik will not get power a la Fidesz. They will need coalition partners and it seems that Fidesz is now out of the question.

Observer
Guest

James

You should consider Vona’s the several years long drive to move to closer to the center. It is the elected MP’s that implement the policy.

The Jobbik voters are very disparate, from pretty extreme to former socialist voters. The extreme are the most visible.

The Jobbik are a potential danger, Orban is a present corrupt to the bone dictator.

I would get rid of the yoke now and run the risk of having eventually fend off another one.

Orban delenta est.

FreeWheeling
Guest

Today (Monday) on TV2’s popular morning show programme during their most-watched time segment (~6:45-7:10) they were retreading the rumors about Vona’s sexuality.

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