The Hungarian parliament “debates” the anti-NGO bill

It’s becoming really hot in the Hungarian parliament, where the opposition is waging a heroic fight against an increasingly aggressive and unscrupulous Fidesz majority. Members of the opposition are feeling increasingly frustrated by their impotence within the walls of parliament. They are desperate as they watch the Fidesz bulldozer grind on with escalating force.

One would think that the international scandal that ensued after the Hungarian parliament passed legislation aimed at driving the American-Hungarian Central European University out of the country would temper Viktor Orbán’s zeal and that he would conveniently forget about the bill against those civic organizations that are partially financed from abroad. But no, he is forging ahead.

Tempers are flaring in parliament. Lately I have noticed growing impatience on the part of the Fidesz majority, which often prompts the president or his deputies to forcibly prevent discussion of pending legislation. One would think that with such a large majority, the government party would show some magnanimity, but this was never true of Fidesz and it is especially not true of late. Perhaps because Fidesz parliamentary leaders are feeling the pressure of the streets they take their anger out on the members of the opposition. In turn, some opposition members seem buoyed by those tens of thousands who have demonstrated in the past week. The result is shouting matches and fines ordered by either László Kövér or one of his Fidesz or KDNP deputies.

About two weeks ago commentators predicted that the Orbán government will consider their bill on the NGOs even more important than their law on higher education, the one that affected CEU. And indeed, top Fidesz representatives were lined up for the debate, among them Gergely Gulyás, whom I consider especially dangerous because he seems to be an unusually clever lawyer with the verbal skills to match. He acted as if the proposed bill wasn’t a big deal, just a simple amendment of little consequence. As for the issue of branding NGOs by demanding that they label themselves “foreign-supported” organizations, Gulyás’s answer was that some people consider such support a positive fact, others don’t. Therefore, there is nothing wrong with the bill. He accused the opposition of “hysteria” stemming from frustration.

The Christian Democrats have recently discovered an able spokesman, István Hollik, who was not as restrained as Gulyás and spelled out in detail what the government’s problem is with the NGOs. According to him, “there are people who would like their political views to become reality and who want to have a say in the events of the world without seeking the trust of the electorate. This is what George Soros does in Europe and in America.” It is through these NGOs that Soros wants to influence politics.

MSZP’s spokesman was Gergely Bárándy who, I’m afraid, doesn’t set the world on fire. LMP’s Bernadett Szél, however, is another matter. In her view, the country shouldn’t be shielded from the civic groups but from “the Russian agents who sit here today in parliament.” She continued: “You are a government financed from abroad; you are politicians who are financed from abroad; you are supposed to do this dirty work. It is unacceptable.” As for Hollik’s references to George Soros, Szél said “You people make me sick!” Szél was well prepared for this speech because she had hundreds of cards printed on a black background saying “I’m a foreign funded politician.” She placed them on the desks of Fidesz MPs. Tímea Szabó of Párbeszéd didn’t mince words either when she announced that “all decent people want to vomit” when Fidesz members vote against civic groups that help the disadvantaged and the disabled. Finally, Együtt’s Szabolcs Szabó compared the bill to the one introduced in Putin’s Russia. He charged that Viktor Orbán simply lifted a Russian piece of legislation and transplanted it into Hungarian law. “Even Mátyás Rákosi would have been proud of this achievement,” he concluded.

Bernadett Szél hard at work

But that wasn’t all. It was inevitable that the pro-government civic organization called Civil Összefogás (CÖF) would come up. CÖF is clearly a government-financed pseudo organization which spends millions if not billions on pro-government propaganda. Naturally, CÖF is unable to produce any proof of donations received. Bernadett Szél held up two pieces of paper to show that CÖF left all the questions concerning its finances blank. At that very moment, Sándor Lezsák, the Fidesz deputy president of the House, turned Szél’s microphone off. He accused her of using “demonstrative methods” for which she was supposed to have permission. Such an infraction means a fine. When Szél managed to continue, she said: “Take my whole salary, but I will still tell you that CÖF has a blank report. So, let’s not joke around. How much do my human rights cost? Tell me an amount. We will throw it together. I’m serious.” This is, by the way, not the first threat of a fine against opposition members. MSZP members were doubly fined because they called President Áder “János.” The spokesman of Párbeszéd “was banned forever from parliament” because he put up signs: “traitor” on the door leading to the prime minister’s study.

Speaking of CÖF. Today László Csizmadia, chairman of CÖF, launched an attack against Michael Ignatieff in Magyar Hírlap. He described Ignatieff as “Goodfriend II on the left.” The reference is to the capable chargé d’affaires of the United States Embassy during the second half of 2016 when American-Hungarian relations were at the lowest possible ebb.

And one more small item. Index discovered that the parliamentary guards, a force created by László Kövér in 2012 (about which I wrote twice, first in 2012 and again in 2013, will get new weapons and ammunition:

  • 45-caliber pistols
  • 56 mm (.223 caliber) submachine guns
  • 62x51mm sniper rifles using NATO ammunition
  • .306 caliber rifles
  • manual grenade launcher for 40mm grenades
  • intercepting nets
  • a variety of ammunition for new types of firearms
  • universal (fired, thrown) tear gas grenades with artificial or natural active ingredients
  • hand-operated teardrop grenades working with natural or artificial substances

So, they will be well prepared for all eventualities.

April 19, 2017

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52 Comments on "The Hungarian parliament “debates” the anti-NGO bill"

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Guest

In a previous HS article it is stated that opposition to Orbán makes “his palms itch” and “often make him so angry that he would like to hit his loud opponents.”

Is that what these new weapons are for? To soothe his itchy palms?
And where does the funding for the weapons come from?

If Orbán puts his hatred into action against Hungarians, then the EU will be complicit with a mentally unstable dictator’s violence against EU citizens.

Guest

There may be opposition people who are also preparing for eventualities and have found out where the militia arsenals are kept.

Member

The size of the government fraud in the 2017 Turkish referendum.
[my first approximation]
(I am sure Orban will use recipes from Erdogan’s cookbook in 2018)

The last relatively clean elections took place in June, 2015.

The results were
AKP (Erdogan’s party) 40.9%
MHP: 16.3%
HDP (Kurdish): 13.1%
CHP: 25.0%
others: 4.7%

(The number of valid/invalid/eligible votes was 46.163/1.344/56.609 million)

Post-election survey of how people voted in April 2017 by party affiliation:
“NO”:
AKP: 10%
MHP: 73% [!!, in spite of leader Bahçeli’s decision to support Erdoğan]
HDP: 91%
CHP: 95%
others: 40% [my estimate by analyzing the party platforms of the minor parties]

This gives the “NO” vote a
0.1*0.409+0.73*0.163+0.91*0.135+0.95*0.25+0.047*0.4=
53.9% support.

But the official results of the 2017 April “NO” vote show

Cast inside Turkey: 48.77%
Cast in “customs”: 45.83%
Cast abroad: 40.54%

Overall: 48.59%

(The number of valid/invalid/eligible votes was 48.934/0.865/58.520 million)

Member

“Erdoğan was a semi-professional footballer playing for Kasımpaşa before being elected as the Mayor of Istanbul from the Islamist Welfare Party in 1994. ”

In power: since March 2003
Would like to stay in power, according to his newly amended constitution: 2029.

2003: “I’m a Georgian, my family is a Georgian family which migrated from Batumi to Rize.”

2014: “You wouldn’t believe the things they have said about me. They have said I am Georgian … even with much uglier things, they have called me Armenian, but I am Turkish.”

Guest

What astounded me most is that a majority of the Turks living in Germany seems to have voted for Erdogan! This is currently analysed in the German media – did integration fail or are they afraid of being sent back?
At least it’s clear now that Turkey in its present state is not fit for the EU at all!

We’ve discussed Putin’s ideas of an “Eurasian Union” here before – maybe it’s time to start building it, with Hungary and Turkey as the first members, followed by Azerbaijan, Belarus …

Guest

Same thing here in Belgium: the Turks voted massively (74,98%) “yes”.

Member

In 2015, the plurality of the votes went to the Kurdish HDP party in Sweden, UK, Italy and Canada and to the CHP in the US.

US:
—-
2015 June:
AKP: 16.4%
MHP: 9.1%

HDP: 24.0%
CHP: 44.3%

2017 April:
“NO” = 83.8%

Germany:
———-
2015 June:
AKP: 53.6%
MHP: 9.7%

HDP: 17.5%
CHP: 16.0%

2017 April:
“NO” = 36.9%

http://eudo-citizenship.eu/news/citizenship-news/1437-voting-from-abroad-in-turkey-s-general-elections-2015

Smallest percentage of “NO” votes abroad, 2017:

Belgium: 25.0%
Austria: 26.8%
Netherlands: 29.1%
France: 35.1%
Germany: 36.9%
Luxembourg: 37.1%
Denmark: 39.4%

Largest percentage of “NO” votes abroad, 2017:

Sweden: 52.9%
Northern Cyprus: 54.8%
Australia: 58.2%
Switzerland: 61.9%
Italy: 62.1%
Canada: 72.1%
UK: 79.8%
US: 83.8%

We can conclude that the majority of non-Kurdish Turks voted for Erdogan’s dictatorship in continental Europe, but not overseas.

Democracy has retained its ideological appeal in the [former] Anglo-Saxon world AND in Switzerland, but has lost it in continental Europe.

Guest
One reason for the Turkish pro-Erdogan vote in Germany, Austria etc might be: The “guest workers” who came (and stayed …) were mainly simple folk from Anatolia – just like the Hungarian working class and they are still thinking like their grandparents many years ago. At least that was the explanation I got many years ago in Turkey on holiday from a young female Turkish tourist guide who had grown up in Germany. I asked her, wondering that in Izmir (where I was on holiday) during Ramadan you could see people sitting outside a bar with a glass of beer and a Raki … A bit OT: We stayed at a Spa hotel (very nice thermal water in the bathtub – almost like Hévíz) and I had interesting conversations at the bar with an American who was supervising the installation of roulette wheels etc in a newly built neighbouring 5star hotel – mainly built for Arabs who wanted to feel the “bad life” that Mohammed forbade them … Even more OT: I had similar experience in a hotel in Kairo once – all the things you can’t do or get in an Arab country you could get there – for… Read more »
wrfree
Guest
Re: ‘Democracy has retained its ideological appeal in the [former] Anglo-Saxon world AND in Switzerland, but has lost it in continental Europe’ Well what I think can be said is the post-war structure of Europe is one for the history books. It’s as strong as jello now and generally its flabby weight makes it unable to respond with more fervor though we do see some who can plainly see danger beckoning. Even with the Russians being pushed out from its former colonies they have managed to rip up the democratic floorboards of the European ‘alliance’ anyway. What’s helped has been the military ‘jaunts, propaganda from Internet podiums, encourage Euro bickering, skillful and double-game political machinations, down home plain old skullduggery and using ‘the law’ to grievously undermine civic and human rights. And the ‘law’ ironically is their ‘democratic’ tool to bring on the illiberalist state. And it is also ironic to see Mr. Putin basking in a success of success after allegedly ‘losing’ the Cold War. Perhaps the dust-off has made him realize Russia is much much better working and worming through others to further its interests. He has to be elated with all that good fortune as many lineup.… Read more »
wrfree
Guest

So says Vladimir…an exceptional student of Machiavelli in our 21st…;-)…

Guest

Imho only Putin and his Oligarchs (those who are still with him and therefore are still alive …) have succeeded – but the Russian people are worse off than ever, at least compared to Western Europe.
And the same goes for many other “illiberal” countries.

Guest

You have similar phenomenons all around the world.
Re Switzerland:
Some years ago the Swiss had a referendum about foreigners, visas, immigration.
In those conservative farmer counties (Kantone) like Appenzell where there are practically no foreigners the majority voted against allowing any kind of immigration!
I joked then that these people had never seen any foreigners and probably thought those immigrants were all foreign devils …

pappp
Guest

It’s more of a selection bias I think. Those people emigrate to US and UK and Canada who were more democratic to begin with. They hate Erdogan more which is why they are ready to move further away from home. Swiss immigration laws are tough so again the Swiss selected the more committed ones.

What is worrying is the other side of this. That in democratic western Europe the Turkish are so authoritarian and they just refused to soak up democracy and democratic values.

This may lend credence to the suspicion that Islamic people are much more difficult to integrate and assimilate. (Of course this is more complex, but for whatever reason this refusal to accept the secular, democratic state does seem to exist.)

Member

“Money for green card” scam:

The (unnecessary, but Fidesz-mandated) intermediary companies have realized profits of estimated 42 billion forints from the Hungarian taxpayers and 73 to 88 billion forints from the applicants.

https://mno.hu/gazdasag/nem-jott-ossze-a-titkositas-a-fidesznek-2395291

Member

The EU anti-fraud agency OLAF recommended investigation from Hungary 30 suspected frauds between 2012 and now.

verdict by judge: 1 case
prosecuted, but no verdict yet: 5 cases
prosecution rejected by the Hungarian authorities: 7
still under investigation: 17

https://atlatszo.hu/2017/04/19/tobb-tucat-buntetoeljaras-indult-magyarorszagon-az-olaf-kezdemenyezesere-az-elmult-evekben/

Member

“You are a government financed from abroad; you are politicians who are financed from abroad”

Last time I checked, about 10% of the income in the Hungarian budget came from EU sources,

Member

Yes, indeed!
One must say it again:

The hungarian dictatorship is
– finaced by EU
– protected by EPP

The EPP and its fraction leader Weber have absolutely no right to complain about Erdogan and praise European values. It’s hypocrisy.

Guest

“Perhaps …. Fidesz parliamentary leaders are feeling the pressure of the streets …”

If not they are blind and deaf.

Observer
Guest

Jean P

They are not blind and deaf, they just don’t care about people’s wishes. Such regimes just plot how to bamboozle the people and if doesn’t work, then how to suppress them.
This is why most of these regimes are ousted by violent, often bloody events. From this lint of view Hungary is a mild case.

Guest

I stick to my opinion. The lower echelon Fideszniks are getting scared and fear what is going to happen to them if the Orbán system is toppled. Orbán and his crowd are beyond that. They buy weapons.

petofi
Guest

One could draw the conclusion that the degree of government ‘comfort’ with the situation in Budapest is directly proportional to the degree of confidence that the government has in its total control.

Observer
Guest

…from this point of view …

pappp
Guest

Gabor Török who is the most popular political scientist says that nothing’s changed by the demonstrations. These distinctively urban phenomena are minor wobbles and the majority (in rural regions) are disciplined and are happy to vote for Fidesz. Fidesz isn’t worried, Orban is as strong as ever.

Although Török famously always hedges his bets, he also says that 2018 isn’t a forgone conclusion.

Member

I don’t usually agree with Torok, but this time, I think he’s right about the demonstrations having zero real impact domestically. All that has happened is, the voters who would sooner cut off their right hand than vote for Fidesz would now prefer to cut off their left hand as well.

But 2018 is not a foregone conclusion? I cannot think of any non-nuclear disaster that would prevent Fidesz from winning big. Of course, there’s always the chance that the opposition might get their act together, but I’d say the nuclear disaster is more likely.

petofi
Guest

If anything, the country folk are amused and pleased at the powerless to-do of the Budapesters!

Observer
Guest

Tappanch

Tnx for the data. Very illuminating.

The syndrome of Turks abroad voting for Erdogan/dictatorship prety much applies to the Hungarians’ preferences.
Both are eager to compensate for having lower social / international status, craving for recognition /greatness even if these are achieved by ulterior, reprehensible means (which many of them don’t see as such).

petofi
Guest

I agree.
The psychology of the self-victimizers is to escape into the virtual reality of becoming one with their slave-keepers…

wrfree
Guest

Tough to see it. The previously ‘captured’ and abused nation-state cozying up to the captor. There looks to be perhaps a ‘certain’ syndrome’ afoot. This seemingly re- ‘adoption’ is an unhealthy arrangement.

Guest

This is called Stockholm Syndrome:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stockholm_syndrome

pappp
Guest
This is interesting. The other day Gergo Komaromy threw some removable paint on the (Soviet) WW2 memorial at Szabadság-tér (coincidentally just overlooking the US embassy). At first instance Komaromy was fined HUF 30k by the court. This wasn’t enough for some interesting people however. A soldier-looking Chechen (Russian national) from Grozny named Mogamed who apparently lives in Hungary ‘kindly asked’ (in the name of his friends too) Komaromy to apologize because he, Komaromy offended the Russian nation and nobody gets away with that. Komaromy duly apologized and the entire event was filmed and put on youtube. https://444.hu/2017/04/20/egy-hatalmas-csecsen-megkereste-a-szovjet-emlekmuvet-megdobalo-komaromy-gergot#comments This is how the Russians operate. If they deem something offensive they immediately retaliate and get tough. And Orban or this Komaromy get the message very very quickly. I wonder if Orban will ever apologize for the US for trying to shut down a symbol of the US soft power in Hungary. Putin gets tough and he gets results, the Americans love to play a bit of diplomacy. I guess the jury is still out on which is a more effective strategy. By the way Janos Lazar today said that EU ‘wasn’t dealt a card’ in this game meaning Lazar must have heard… Read more »
Member

The role of Chechens is a mystery to me. They rebelled against Russian rule several times in the 19th and 20th centuries.

But pro-Russian Kadyrov governs his fiefdom with iron hands now. Chechens are very active in the Ukrainian and Syrian civil wars on both sides. In return, Kadyrov seems to enjoy semi-independence in Chechnya [Noxçiyçö]

Member

“the (Soviet) WW2 memorial at Szabadság-tér (coincidentally just overlooking the US embassy)”

?

um, you realize that this isn’t a “coincidence,” right?

Member

“By the way Janos Lazar today said that EU ‘wasn’t dealt a card’ in this game meaning Lazar must have heard from the Commission that there’s simply no legal case against Hungary re CEU”

Or… he is lying.

Member

A protester against the Orban regime was beaten by several people when he was going home from demonstration on April 15.

“You demonstrated against the Hungarians”

The police were not eager to take his report.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1405193399504162

Member

Well, Orban and his neo-Nazi friend Bayer threatened the pro-democracy youngsters with violence didnt they? It is the traditional way the far-right in Hungary deal with "opposition" be it political kids or their spouse.

The Orbanist thugs who carried out this attack are only obeying their masters orders.

Member

The front page of the April 20 issue of the weekly HVG ?

Will not split further ? Orban’s war on several fronts.

http://img1.hvg.hu/image.aspx?id=b6a0ae3c-6f1b-4983-865a-80449db0dd3e&view=2bc522d1-c844-4343-b563-d62642c68411

[hasadni = to split as an atom or to split as in schizophrenia ]

Member

The skinheads who physically prevented, [on February 23, 2016] the filing for a referendum that displeased Orban will not be prosecuted.

Read the Orbanized [illogical] reasoning of the court.

http://24.hu/belfold/2017/04/20/a-kopaszok-megint-megusztak-a-vadlottak-padjat/

Member

The court of final instance in election issues (a division of the Kuria [former Supreme Court]) is headed by Zoltán Lomnici, whose son is the spokesman for the pro-Orban CÖF.

http://lb.hu/hu/valasztasi-ugyek

The change in the election law the opposition must demand first is
– impartial Election Bureau
– impartial Election Commission
– impartial judicial overview

pappp
Guest

Janos Lazar says CEU must have a US campus. Period. The ball is in the US’ court, the Hungarian government has nothing else to say.

Member

Today, Trump invited Erdogan to Washington for May 16.

Will lesser tyrants be received later ?

pappp
Guest

All tyrants are not the same tappanch. In the greater scheme of things Orban is irrelevant. He sure can make the West look weak by consistently damaging the NATO and the EU from within with impunity (at a time when the West is anyway less popular to begin with), but Hungary has no oil or any other strategic relevance for the US.

Hungary’s unfortunately more valuable to the Russians who can use it to undermine the post-1945, Western, liberal narrative. The Russians have a clear strategy and Orban fits that strategy perfectly. I don’t think the Americans have any idea how Hungary in general can fit into their strategy (assuming they have one for CEE).

If the US allows Orban to get away with neutering/banning/decimating CEU it will be yet another sign to the world that the world is changing: the US is impotent and is unable to defend its interest. And that in a country that is supposedly an ally of the US. This is a test and the Russians are also watching.

petofi
Guest

Pappp,

You write the most atrocious nonsense (and I believe that your Troll membership card is still in good standing…)

The US is not impotent if it deems to do nothing about the CEU. Why should it be involved with a private company? It’s only a troll who can suggest US weakness because of the CEU’s imminent expulsion.

How’s the pay from Moscow these days?

Guest

I would absolutely understand if the CEU said:
We’ve had enough, we’re moving to Vienna!
Don’t know however what that might mean financially – cost of living is surely much higher there.

But maybe Bratislava is also interested? They have an airport too and are neighbours of Austria and Hungary – and it would irk the “Tiszta Magyar” even more.
And for Hungary it would be a financial loss of course.
O might get a heart attack even!

petofi
Guest

Unfortunately, Turkey is the cornerstone of Nato because of its location. The US must make ‘nice’…although, in my opinion, Turkey will be lost to the Russians in time.

Member

Today, one of the few remaining independent [non-Fidesz] website, index.hu, was bought up by a foundation owned by Simicska.

http://index.hu/kultur/2017/04/20/index_uj_tulajdonos_magyar_fejlodesert_alapitvany/

Guest

My wife is reading index on her smartphone – she will tell me soon if their policies change, just wait and see.

PS:
She already got this news!

Member

The guest of honor at the International Book Fair of Budapest this weekend is Orhan Pamuk (2006 Nobel prize in literature).

“In 2005, after Pamuk made a statement regarding the Armenian Genocide and mass killings of Kurds, a criminal case was opened against him”

Writers also protest the anti-CEU legislation during the Fair.

https://444.hu/2017/04/20/vegig-tiltakoznak-az-irok-a-ceu-torveny-ellen-a-budapesti-nemzetkozi-konyvfesztivalon

comment image

petofi
Guest

It is entirely possible that the CEU nonsense has been ordered by Russia. Non-involvement by the US will appear as weakness on their part…that’s why Orban, like a child loudmouth continues to call on the US to ‘negotiate’ with him.

Childish games of the KGB…the utility of appearances…

Ivan
Guest

Petofi, you appear to agree with Papp, having just rubbished his comment.

Guest

Totally OT – or not?

The Forint has been “rising” during the last weeks against the € and the $ – often jumping up and down nervously.
http://www.xe.com/currencycharts/?from=EUR&to=HUF&view=1M

Exchanging my €s today I got a much better rate than I would have got before Easter …
OTP takes around 1% – so I got 310 out of 313.

Rivarol
Guest

Antisemitic.

Istvan
Guest

Szabó Szabolcs from Együtt spoke to yesterday on the NGO bill. He argued that the text of the bill presented was substantively similar to the NGO law adopted in 2012 in Russia, and at several points the proposal matches the literally the Russian law. Here is a video of his comments for those who understand Hungarian it’s the newest post on his face book page https://www.facebook.com/szaboszabolcs.e2014/ It looks like Fidesz copied the bill from the Russians in some sections word for word.

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