Is LMP in cahoots with Fidesz?

On October 17 Egon Rónay of ATV’s Start interviewed Bernadett Szél, co-chair of LMP. The occasion was the demonstration organized by Párbeszéd (Dialogue), Együtt (Together), and LMP (Politics Can Be Different) that had taken place the day before. Considering that by that time four of the left-liberal opposition parties had decided to celebrate October 23 together, the conversation soon turned to LMP’s steadfast refusal to cooperate with the others. What followed was a lengthy tirade by Szél against Ferenc Gyurcsány, whom she considers responsible for the very existence of Viktor Orbán as a politician. As she put it, as long as Ferenc Gyurcsány remains on the political scene Hungary will be stranded with Viktor Orbán.

Backbiting is unfortunately an everyday affair in Hungarian opposition circles, but Szél’s outburst was unusually acerbic and ill intentioned. A day later, on the same program, Zsolt Gréczy, DK’s spokesman, indicated that Együtt, led by Viktor Szigetvári and Péter Juhász, and LPM, led by Bernadett Szél and Ákos Hadházy, with their refusal to cooperate wittingly or unwittingly were assisting Viktor Orbán’s government.

LMP’s decision to collaborate with Fidesz on the issue of the constitutional court’s newly elected judges led to a really ugly scene between László Varju of DK and the whole LMP parliamentary delegation of five plus András Schiffer, the architect of the Fidesz-LMP deal. The LMP politicians crashed Varju’s press conference, which was held in the parliament. Soon enough the press conference turned into a screaming session in which Varju called the five LMP members of parliament “collaborators.” In turn, Schiffer said that AVH, the dreaded Hungarian secret police between 1945 and 1956, was “the spiritual predecessor” of the political leaders of the Demokratikus Koalíció. Moreover, he accused them of inciting anti-Catholic sentiments by criticizing Balázs Schanda, one of the new judges, who writes almost exclusively on legal questions concerning religion. The hapless Ákos Hadházy, co-chair of LMP, tried in vain to end the exchange of accusations. He eventually got involved in the cacophony himself.

In the middle of the battle. András Schiffer enjoys it immensely

In the middle of the battle. András Schiffer enjoys it immensely.

Today an article appeared in index.hu which might explain, at least in part, the ferocious LMP attack on Ferenc Gyurcsány. According to the news site, sometime in early November LMP commissioned a poll to ascertain the views of the Hungarian electorate on the current government as well as on leading opposition personalities. From the survey LMP learned that three-quarters of its own supporters reject any cooperation with Ferenc Gyurcsány. They consider him an obstacle to unity. I don’t know whether this finding surprised LMP’s leadership, but it really shouldn’t have. DK’s liberal ideas on economic matters and its acceptance of globalization are in stark contrast to LMP’s far-left socialist ideas.

Even so, I don’t believe that LMP’s refusal to work with the other opposition parties on the left is the result of its supporters’ intense dislike of Gyurcsány and his ideas on the free market economy. Gyurcsány is only an excuse. LMP’s founder, András Schiffer, from the start made it clear that LMP alone would defeat the Orbán regime. I’m almost certain that even if Ferenc Gyurcsány gave up politics this very moment LMP still wouldn’t be willing to work hand in hand with the others.

Overall, the poll apparently found that 46% of those who side with the opposition think that Gyurcsány is an obstacle to the defeat of the Orbán government while 45% think that “the presence of Gyurcsány is necessary for the removal of Orbán from power.” That is a tie, says index.hu, but since LMP voters are so anti-Gyurcsány and therefore anti-DK, it is good politics to launch an attack against the party.

According to the survey, 45% of the electorate as a whole would like to see a change of government while 43% support the present Orbán government. Naturally, 94% of Fidesz voters are still loyal supporters of Viktor Orbán. The same level of fervor is manifest in those who today would vote for an opposition party. The situation is very different among the large group of Hungarians who haven’t found a party they would gladly vote for. Forty percent of them would like to see the Orbán government disappear, 26% would like it to stay, and 34% have no opinion. This untapped group of undecided voters should be the primary target of the opposition, but any effort to woo the undecided will be effective only if the opposition can create a unified force, speaking with one voice. Cacophony guarantees defeat.

LMP’s poll also measured the popularity of five politicians: Bernadett Szél (41%), László Botka (34%), Ágnes Vadai (32%), Ákos Hadházy (31%), and Ferenc Gyurcsány (26%). This finding is especially interesting because only opposition politicians are being compared. I found the relatively low rating of László Botka especially surprising considering that he was declared to be the most popular MSZP leader, the one who could lead his party to victory.

A few hours after the index.hu article appeared István Ikotity, an LMP member of parliament, denied the existence of the survey, adding: “In my opinion, LMP shouldn’t be preoccupied with the opposition. We shouldn’t pay attention to the recognition and support of certain opposition politicians. Our position in relation to DK has remained the same. Nothing has changed.” His denial was not very convincing, but I believe him when he says that LMP’s attitude toward DK and Ferenc Gyurcsány hasn’t changed at all.

Let’s assume for the moment that LMP did commission this survey and that its politicians, seeing the results, decided to tip the scale against Ferenc Gyurcsány, whose standing in opposition circles is a practical tie between his supporters and his opponents. In that case, I think one can argue that LMP is a collaborator of Fidesz, not just because it assisted in enlarging the constitutional court which opposition parties, including Jobbik, find illegitimate but also because it purposely sowed discord among the opposition parties which will only weaken the anti-Orbán forces. András Schiffer, the creator of LMP, decided to call his party “Lehet Más A Politika” (Politics Can Be Different). If LMP is indeed involved in such a dirty, indecent game, it should be the last party on earth to bear that name.

November 29, 2016
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Observer
Guest

The known points are:
– Schiffer has some visceral hatred for GyF, since 2006 at least.
– Schiffer pulls the strings in LMP, (Co Chairman Hadházi is being used)
– Schiffer believes only in Schiffer, no scruples .

Re GyF created Orban – utter rubbish, GyF first appeared in 2002 as junior sports minister, while Orban had been the boss of Fidesz for 12 years and already PM once.
B.Szèl is lying, Q is why now?

pappp
Guest
It doesn’t matter if LMP is really in cahoots with Fidesz, you just have to assume that this is the case. My view is that Fidesz finances LMP and Schiffer (make no mistake he is still the leader in LMP) realized that its current voters are former Fidesz voters (the leftist voters left LMP exactly because LMP looked like being in cahoots with Fidesz) and such voters still retain some liking to Orban, their “first love”. Schiffer caters to these voters. This is where he sees his future among such voters. More importantly though most of the opposition is convinced that it is impossible to defeat Orban in 2018. Even though such pessimism if totally self-defeating this is what I’ve gathered from people involved in politics. I would even say part of the Left’s unpopularity stems from this inactive pessimism – voters do want their party to fight, not be just a bunch of lazy clowns. So they convinced themselves that Orban is unbeatable which I guess is the highest form of power in The Art of War – winning a battle without doing anything, just by projecting – falsely in my view – invincibility. I guess this group also… Read more »
Melanie Zuben
Guest

I’ve been following Schiffer’s career for years. He’s an exceptionally smart/charismatic/clever man with notable logic. He could do wonders to Jewish/Christian relations. He’s a true Hungarian first, who understands the Hungarian mentality. I hope, he will find a way to co-operate with the government. Together, they could do miracles for the Hungarian nation. There is a saying:
“The opposition should not be there to oppose everything the government proposes. It should be there to oppose, to propose and to support the government of the day, when it’s desperately needed.” (for the best interest of Hungary)

webber
Guest

András Schiffer “Orbán thinks (Hungarian) people are stupid.”
http://hirtv.hu/ahirtvhirei/schiffer-szerint-hulyenek-nezi-az-embereket-orban-1364834
“Orbán and crew should go to hell.”
http://reflektor.hu/hirek/orbanek-menjenek-a-fenebe-interju-schiffer-andrassal

Melanie Zuben
Guest

webber,
There is a saying: a week is a long time in politics. In politics, a lot of change can happen in a short space of time.
🙂

ferenc
Guest

Instead of using ‘saying’, better say something yourself.
PS: anyway thanks for letting me known Maya Angelou

Melanie Zuben
Guest

You are very welcome, Ferenc. Thanks for your advice “better say something yourself”. I have no problem on that front, thanks. (I’m too scared to tell you why, just in case I’ll get attacked)

ferenc
Guest

Wonders, miracles…….. a new Jezus could be on his way? To Hungary?

Observer
Guest

Melanie Z
Schiffer charismatic ?! I have never heard such an accusation from any man, even in LMP. (Cause he’s dour, dogmatic and self centered as they come) But you’re a Jewish lady I suppose.

The rest of your post confirms our suspision that he’s a Fidesz stooge.

Melanie Zuben
Guest

Observer,
Believe it or not, I am a Roman Catholic, originally from a small Hungarian village. 🙂
Please remember: things are never what they seem!

Guest

You can take a Catholic out of her place – but you can’t take Catholicism out of her …

Observer
Guest

The anti GyF mantra is helping keep faithful fideszniks fizzing with hatred, but hatred, not GyF is the main point – the permanent struggle (küzdelem) against some one something, eg the latest targets Soros, migrants, Vona.

So I say: I like GyF, I support DK.
In fact I like and support anyone who fights this brown scorge sucking the blood of the nation.(in their fidesznik’s faces)

Member

LMP are just professional spoilers. Everytime the democratic parties try to get their act together and become more unified, the headlines will always be: “they are hopeless and still fighting amongst themselves” because LMP will always, always, always, spoil it.

LMP have no interest in overthrowing Fidesz. They are comfortable, like a remora fish, eating a few crumbs which slip from the Fidesz shark’s mouth.

Observer
Guest

Papp. Thurzo

While Schiffer’s game seems clear, I don’t understand many of their voters and members, eg. Hadházi.
Are they so naive or so blind or immednsly cynical?

webber
Guest

Unfortunately Gyurcsany really is that unpopular. You can argue that he should be popular, or that he is unpopular because of Fidesz smear tactics. It doesn’t matter one bit. I think the left would have a better chance if he were to retire to the background, and become a sort of shadow adviser.

But I also think LMP is a Fidesz puppet.

webber
Guest

In a way, you might draw a (false) parallel here between the US and Hungary –
I am certain that most Democrats now wish their party had run someone other than Hillary Clinton (and I don’t mean Sanders). That she was unpopular is undeniable. That she was the focus of a smear campaign running well over a decade is also undeniable – but it does not help one bit to acknowledge that now.
I don’t want to see Hungary in a similar situation, just because F. Gyurcsany and his people cannot admit that he is so unpopular. If opposition to Fidesz is reduced to a single personality cult (adoration of Gy), it risks losing all.

pappp
Guest

I agree with webber re Clinton and Gyurcsany. Clinton was very unpopular from the beginning (in fact she was already widely unpopular back in 2008 when she was up against Obama) and that’s an issue even if many think she was unfairly targeted by Republicans and right wingers.

re Observer

Hadhazi and others are politicians. They are also subordinates. They have nothing without LMP or Schiffer who decides about promotion within LMP. They know that they have to be loyal to the boss (Schiffer in this case) if they ever to have any real career in LMP. I don’t hold out any hope that they will be going against Schiffer. The dissidents left LMP (Karácsony etc.) and those who remained or entered LMP must be those who accept Schiffer as the boss and are loyal to him just as it was the case with Fidesz and Orban after Fodor, Molnar etc. left Fidesz back in 1995 or whenever.

ferenc
Guest

Weel let’s just sing for the Americans:

“Well Americans don’t care for much of anything
Land and water the least
And animal life is low on the totem pole
With human life not worth more than infected yeast

Americans don’t care too much for beauty
They’ll shit in a river, dump battery acid in a stream
They’ll watch dead rats wash up on the beach
And complain if they can’t swim

They say things are done for the majority
Don’t believe half of what you see and none of what you hear
It’s like what my painter friend Donald said to me,
“Stick a fork in their ass and turn them over, they’re done””

— from “Last Great America Whale” – Lou Reed (1989)

and that the last line soon to be applicable on OV and his bunch, amen

Observer
Guest

Webber
I wish it would help if GyF steped back, he actually did for two years. And? There was a wave of new pols – G.Karácsonyi, P.Juhasz, etc, but they are “hopefuls”.
My view is, now by default, ram GyF through, no apologies, no excuses anymore. DK have to reach the tipping point, where a lot of those who go with the flow of the fidesz mantra will turn and say (just like inthe case of Orban) never mind,i will still support him. GyF doesnt have to be the nominated leader of the de ocratic side, just to projrct the necessary determination and power.
it’s the only chance, wishy washy wont do it, They’ve been trying it for a decade now. If orban’s extreme arrogance works …

pappp
Guest
Observer, Gyurcsany’s going alone strategy is trickier than it looks. Given that the current election system is heavily first past the post, voters beyond Gyurcsany’s hard core constituency have to first believe that he can potentially be the most popular party (ie. a winner, that is DK ending up in front of Orban’s Fidesz) before they would vote for him. In a first past the post system an opposition voter who is not a die hard follower of any one party must first evaluate the scene and try to figure out which candidate can potentially defeat the incumbent (Orban). Otherwise his vote is almost certainly lost. This happened in Tapolca where many voters figured Jobbik is the most popular party and voted for its local candidate even though many voters may otherwise have been left-leaning and in Veszprém it happened with a joint left wing candidate who surely got votes from otherwise conservative but non-Fidesznik voters. (As you know Hungarian voters have two votes, one with which they vote for the local district candidate and one with which they vote for a party list, but the party list mandates now make up less than half of all the spots). The… Read more »
Observer
Guest

Kudos for the detail. I mostly agree.

It’s an uphill battle, sure, but sitting on one’s hands isn’t a real alternative, is it?

As I mentioned, GyF doesn’t have to be the most popular, neither has DK. A more or less united front is a must. But someone in this bunch has to project strength.

Given the task, the local democratic parties’ people can find/agree onthe best chance candidate in many places.

The process will surely have snowball effects and voters will come from the woods (look at the dissatisfaction poll).

Guest

Here I have to agree with Schiffer – and my wife who doesn’t have high expectations of her countrymen and women.

We’ve come to the conclusion that Fidesz will only be defeated when Hungary is really down and out. Whether that will be because all qualified people have left the country or because Hungary leaves the EU and joins Russia or (worst case scenario) because the EU fails, breaks apart and has no more money nor jobs for Hungary – that is the question.

If we wait long enough the “Climate Change” might make Hungary too hot and dry to live in anyway …

Guest

“We’ve come to the conclusion that Fidesz will only be defeated when Hungary is really down and out.”

When a prophecy is repeated sufficiently many times it becomes self fulfilling.

webber
Guest

They are going to break the bank over the next year to try to win the elections of 2018. They have apparently realized that their raise in pensions isn’t convincing, and that people know it doesn’t even keep pace with inflation (and hasn’t, for years), so they’ve just promised to send every pensioner 10,000 forints before Christmas. That’s how desperate Fidesz is now (and even that won’t be enough).
The elections are all that matter to Fidesz now. If they lose the elections, they will leave the next government with a country heading for bankruptcy. If they win, God help us.

Member

LMP’s Let’s Mash Politics

I wish Akos Hadhazy would leave LMP and join DK. It would make a big difference. He could continue his brilliant investigations into Fidesz corruption in the name of the real opposition and not Schiffer’s hysterical and tedious delusions of grandeur.

Schiffer is an emotionally disturbed individual long on indignation but short on both integrity and imagination. Bernadett Szel seems to be channeling him. Yes, they are effectively Fidesz allies (as are Jobbik); they are probably in denial, in the thrall to their exalted notions of alterity…

Istvan
Guest
I find Bernadett Szél to be very odd. While her doctorate is in economics her academic work seems almost exclusively to be in sociology or the intersection of the family as an economic unit within society. In many ways her writings remind me of the sociological work done under the Kadar regime, which was at a much higher level than that done by other countries in the eastern block. I am showing my age here to be sure. She has participated in what I would call futurist conferences where she has speculated on what the situation of Hungary might be in say 30 or 50 years (all of this is exclusively in Hungarian). I find her thinking to be less than dynamic, by that she does not speculate on dynamic transformations of contemporary capitalism based on economic crisis and response to those developments. She seems to see the development of contemporary market economies in a more or less linear fashion without massive upheavals based on technology making labor redundant and thereby creating what can be called the “Trump effect.” Where the redundancy of of labor is acknowledged but attributed to international labor dynamics, rather than understanding that basic manufacturing has… Read more »
ferenc
Guest

HVG: “Mentőövet dobtak a Fidesznek a kvótaharc buktái után”
http://hvg.hu/itthon/20161201_ab_dontes_kvotaharc
Don’t understand the details, but this could be why OV/Fidesz suddenly and unexpectedly came back to LMP about the Constitutional Court?

ferenc
Guest

Index: Orbán: Először megemeltem a kalapom az AB előtt, aztán feldobáltam az égbe
http://index.hu/belfold/2016/12/02/orban_kossuth_interju/
Seems to be continued……… (thanks to LMP?)

wpDiscuz