Debate on the Hungarian electoral law

In today’s post I will not even be able to scratch the surface of the debate over restructuring the Hungarian electoral system to make it more proportional. It’s an exceedingly complicated, emotionally fraught subject.

Until recently the discussion was merely academic, but with civil activist Márton Gulyás’s call for a political movement whose goal is changing the unfair electoral system, it has become a political issue. Supporters of such a change believe that it is a prerequisite for fair elections that would reflect citizens’ true political views instead of the two-thirds Fidesz majority that the present system practically guarantees. Opponents argue that, given the present political landscape, the opposition would not benefit from a more or less proportional system but in fact would emerge weaker than it is now. As long as this greatly disproportional system exists, there is always the possibility that an opposition party may, even with 45% of the votes, be able to achieve a two-thirds majority, just as Fidesz did in 2014, which would enable it to dismantle Viktor Orbán’s illiberal political system. As Orbán said, “one has to win only once, but then big.”

There is nothing new in the disproportionality of the Hungarian electoral system. In 1994 MSZP got 32% and SZDSZ 19% of the popular vote. Together, with their combined 51%, they had a two-thirds majority in the Hungarian parliament. In 2010 a similar situation occurred: Fidesz’s 53% was enough to have a super majority in parliament. With amendments tipping the electoral law even more in their favor, in 2014 44% was enough for Fidesz to get a two-thirds majority in parliament. In a more proportional system, Fidesz wouldn’t even have been able to form a government on its own.

In 2015 János Széky, writer, translator, and political commentator, first talked about the need to address the serious shortcomings of the Hungarian electoral law as it was originally conceived in 1990. He devoted a chapter to it in his book Bárányvakság, the Hungarian equivalent of Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis or LCA, an inherited eye disease. He returned to the topic in February of this year, arguing in an article that with a proportional electoral system Fidesz would never have gotten a two-thirds majority. The standard response to this assertion is that it wasn’t the electoral system that produced Fidesz’s super majority but the extremely poor performance of the Gyurcsány government. Széky disagrees. Since the end of World War II no other party has received two-thirds of the parliamentary seats in any of the present members of the European Union. Not even 60% of the seats. “There is no such thing in a democracy,” claims Széky. In this essay and in his book, Széky forcefully argues for a proportional electoral system based on party lists and criticizes the political elite for neglecting this vitally important political issue.

Recently Miklós Haraszti, rapporteur of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and a monitor of the elections in the Netherlands, began a campaign of sorts to induce Fidesz to change the electoral system before the 2018 election. He gave several interviews and wrote extensively on the subject. He shares Széky’s poor opinion of party leaders who neglected to explain to their followers the real reason for Fidesz’s “success”–a grossly disproportional electoral system. In order to escape from what Haraszti calls “constitutional dictatorship,” this system must be changed. As far as Haraszti is concerned, in talking about electoral victory the opposition parties are engaging in self-deception or, even worse, deceit.

Haraszti doesn’t believe in an alliance of the left-of-center parties, which would be a straitjacket for the parties and wouldn’t satisfy the needs of their followers. Moreover, at present there is no sign of any kind of cooperation among them. Competition among parties is a natural state of affairs, but it can work only if there is a genuinely proportional electoral system. Fidesz must be forced to change the system it made even less proportional than it had been. If it refuses, the opposition parties should abstain from participation in the election. Haraszti believes that no electoral campaign and election would be accepted if all the other parties refuse to participate. Haraszti argues that Fidesz cannot risk such a “one-party campaign and election” and therefore would have to negotiate with the opposition parties, all demanding radical change.

One of the first people to criticize Miklós Haraszti’s blueprint for achieving a reform of the electoral system was the political analyst Zoltán Ceglédi. He calls the plan an illusion. It is hard to imagine that Orbán would willingly replace a system that is advantageous to him with one that would give him fewer votes. Moreover, knowing Orbán, the more pressure is applied, the more adamant he will be to keep the present system. In his opinion, the claim that Fidesz cannot be defeated under the present system is wrong. The word “Fidesz” is not in the law. One simply must get more votes. Ceglédi considers boycotting parliament under the present circumstances an acceptable method of not collaborating with a thoroughly corrupt and dictatorial regime. But boycotting the election is not a realistic goal. The defeat of Orbán as soon as possible is of primary importance, but it must be done under the present system.

The other critic who published an opinion piece today is László Bruszt, professor of political science at Central European University and visiting professor at Scuola Normale Superiore in Florence. He considers Viktor Orbán’s campaign for the recapture of the two-thirds majority pretty well lost. In his opinion, Viktor Orbán’s Easter message was not about the consolidation of his regime but a desperate stab at saving it. Bruszt is, however, unhappy with Márton Gulyás’s declared goal of changing the electoral system. Concentrating narrowly on one issue diminishes the opportunities the recent demonstrations offer the parties. In fact, it may divide them. Yes, Fidesz must be defeated but by Fidesz’s own rules. The secret is competition on party lists but with a single common candidate in each district.

What Bruszt considers more important than a change in the electoral system is a modification of rules and regulations not found in the electoral law. For example, the extreme limitations placed on sending messages to the electorate. A couple of weeks before the election in 2014 there were practically no signs of campaign activity. Parties had minimal possibilities to advertise either on the streets or in the media. Fidesz used so-called “civic organizations” like the government-financed CÖF as proxies. Since electoral laws did not apply to them, they were able to advertise where parties were forbidden to do so.

Orbán is in trouble now and much more vulnerable than in 2014. Bruszt actually compares him to Károly Grósz, the last party secretary of MSZMP in 1989 who, like Orbán, became more and more aggressive as he felt more and more threatened. The opposition should not let Orbán escape from the trap in which he finds himself by talking exclusively about an unfair electoral system and thereby offering excuses for failure. Moreover, since the present system can easily produce a super majority, if the opposition could receive 45-47% of the popular vote, it would be in a position to change the constitution and many other institutional laws the Orbán regime has introduced.

Electoral laws, of course, go beyond questions of proportionality. Electoral districts are drawn in such a way as to favor particular parties, voting procedures benefit some (for instance, Hungarian Romanians) and disadvantage others (Hungarians living in Great Britain), and campaign finance laws can make a significant difference in the outcomes of elections. All thorny, all worthy of debate.

April 20, 2017

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73 Comments on "Debate on the Hungarian electoral law"

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Josef
Guest

FYI, the link to Bruszt’s comments on this issue does not work.

Ferenc
Guest

2017.április.20, Bruszt László: Orbánt ellenzékbe, alaptörvényét a szemétbe!
http://hvg.hu/itthon/20170420_Orbant_ellenzekbe_alaptorvenyet_a_szemetbe

Member

“In the present electoral system, I am a loser. Therefore, we need a new electoral system in which I can be a winner.”

Sounds like an airtight argument to me.

I’d be willing to wager that 99% of Hungarians would be unable to satisfactorily explain the current or previous electoral systems. (Before the “clean up your own backyard first” crowd chimes in, I’d place a similar wager on Americans, but the percentage is nowhere near as high as in Hungary, plus the system is simpler.)

As civics education is extremely weak in Hungarian schools and critical thinking is discouraged, most Hungarians are quite satisfied with the currrent arrangement.

If we are going to change the current system of voting, we need either broad agreement among political parties OR huge dissatisfaction among the populace. Neither of those items are on the agenda for the forseeable future.

If Gulyás wants to start a political party whose main aim is to change the electoral system, he’ll win the votes of the people who hang out at ÉS and maybe the former employees of Népszabadság who are not married to the MSZP. That’s it.

Good luck.

Guest

Annihilating arguments can be found against all proposals. Therefore don’t propose anything and don’t do anything.
P.S. I really mean the opposite.

Member

That is not what I am saying, at all. I am saying, let’s ignore proposals that are clearly naive non-starters, such as building a political movement that is centered on the issue of electoral reform.

You want to defeat Orban? You think he is going to voluntarily disappear into the sunset, knowing that it portends long jail terms for himself, his political cronies and the father of his grandchild? You’re having a laugh, mate!

If we want to defeat Orban, it is going to be HARD, it is going to be LONG, it is going to be UGLY and it is going to be EXPENSIVE. Moreover, it is almost certainly going to involve some degree of physical conflict.

Half-measures don’t count.

Guest

“You think he is going to voluntarily disappear into the sunset, knowing that it portends long jail terms for himself, his political cronies and the father of his grandchild?”

I don’t know how you have come to your conclusion about what I think. It is wrong. I agree with you on the rest.

Member

Sorry, I intended that to be the universal “you,” i.e. French “on” or German “Mann.”

Guest

Alex, you mean German “man” of course?

Like in ” … man müsste Klavier spielen können, we Klavier spielt hat Glück bei den Fraun …” 🙂

Member

That’s the one! 🙁
Thanks for the correction, man!

petofi
Guest

@ Alex Kulli

re: “…in which I can be a winner.”

Sounds like the basis of democratic thinking, don’t it?

Hungarians should forget it: they’re temperamentally, and ‘intellectually’, suited to be grovelling, slave-types…which, come to think of it, is exactly what they are now!

In the Trump-world, the quick march is to the rear…(the better to kiss the master’s ass.)

HAJRA MAGYAROK!

Ferenc
Guest

Next to changing the Electoral Law in a less unfair direction, I would add to this the law/regulations/etc for the public media. Currently in Hungary public media are impossible to be without influence of political parties and even at the moment Fidesz is fully using it as their own propaganda machine.
So why not demand the operation (management/airtime/internet facilities/etc) of public media to become fully dependent on the % of votes in the national elections (so not the number of parliamentary seats!!).
At the moment this is the only way that money from each taxpayer is used to represent her/him fairly in the public media.

Ferenc
Guest

OT
New suspect of Dortmund terror attack (Apr.11 on bus with Football team) is a Russian/German, who seems to have tried to earn millions by betting on a price fall of the football clubs’. He stayed in the same hotel as the football team and accepted only a room, from which one is able to see the location, where the bombing was executed.
So no IS or other Islamic group seems to be involved. Now really curious how this wil be reported in the Hungarian public/state media……..

Ferenc
Guest

addition/correction: price fall of the football clubs’ shares.

Guest

Just read this in the SPIEGEL – crazy!
http://www.spiegel.de/panorama/justiz/borussia-dortmund-ermittler-fassen-mutmasslichen-bvb-bomber-a-1143998.html
But we know that people have been killed for just a fistful of $, €, Forint …
Human depravity (just like stupidity …) knows no bounds!

PS:
There’s already speculation that this affair was really conceived by the Russian KGB (forgot the org’s new name) …

Ferenc
Guest

The new name is FSB, and today’s FSB news is that in an FSB office in east-Siberia (Chabarowsk) there has been a shooting, 3 dead (FSB worker, a civilian and the shooter)
https://deutsch.rt.com/newsticker/49516-buro-russischen-inlandsgeheimdienstes-fsb-im/

Guest

Ferenc, RT is 100% Putin propaganda – they’ve been caught lying so often!
So everything they write has to be taken with a grain, no a ton of salt!

PS:
Just found their report on the Russian who bombed the footballer’s bus – also sounds manipulated, compared to my local newspaper …
https://deutsch.rt.com/newsticker/49493-tatverdachtiger-nach-bvb-anschlag-festgenommen/

http://www.tagblatt.de/Nachrichten/Der-mutmassliche-BVB-Attentaeter-arbeitete-in-Tuebingen-Durchsuchungen-in-Rottenburg-328616.html

LwiiH
Guest

I’m at a loss. How are party lists an acceptable means of placing representatives in parliament. It seems to me that in a representative system, the representatives should be elected, not appointed. Caucuses and party lists seem to reverse the direction of responsibility from the electorate to the party and the party leadership. Representatives should be working for the electorate, not the party leadership.

Guest

Imho the German system is a good compromise – usually half the candidates are elected directly (one per district), the other half is selected from the party lists on the number of votes they got in their district.

However there are variations in this, sometimes just the first on a list are added to those elected directly – if you want it to be “fair” it tends to get complicated ….

Member

I agree that the German system is an interesting option.

I would also agree with LwiiH that a representative system is more desirable than a party-list system, because “representatives should be working for the electorate, not the party leadership.”

Perhaps it was a Freudian slip when you used the conditional “should.” Yes, it *should* be that way, but this kind of thinking goes against the grain of the current Hungarian political mindframe; it will take decades to change.

Moreover, only two parties have meaningful local/regional operations that would be able to win in a purely representative (constituency-based) democracy – Fidesz and, to a lesser extent, Jobbik.

LwiiH
Guest

But it has lists and I object to the lists. If you can’t get elected on your own merits you shouldn’t be in parliament.

Observer
Guest

Hungary has a mixed system, now 106 districts and 94 on party list. In other systems i.e. Australia even second preferences are taken into account. This is the best system imho. The UK has districts only, but this may Theoretically return 100% seats with 380 votes majority in 60 million UK, if these votes are distributed one per electoral district.

Observer
Guest

To avoid misunderstanding – Fidesz introduced the compensation votes for the winner and not only gerrymandered the districts, but skewed the constituencies’ numbers where some have 50 k voters some 42 k (?) which means unequal representation, Orban made it worse, as usual.

Member

The abolishment of the second round for district candidates was fatal, too.

It is like Le Pen wins the first round in France with 24 % of the votes and we have a fascist french president, whereas in the second round she would get only about 34 % or so.

Alone this fact can bring Fidesz already 100 i.e. half of the piarliaments’ seats, if the opposition doesn’t cooperate.

petofi
Guest

@ LwiiH

An astute comment.
But of course, Hungarians (also Russians et.al. are only interested in the verisimilitude of a democratic system–something to sell). In fact, the real game is maximal control from above, specifically, in Hungary’s case, from Orban.

Gabor Toka
Guest
Hungary can easily have an Electoral Reform Society advocating proportional representation – also supported by demonstrations that may not sing to the tune of any one opposition party – at the same time as “the opposition” (with or w/o Jobbik) try to defeat Fidesz under the current electoral system. Fidesz may adopt PR at some point in fear of losing, but the chances of that are not affected (not positively anyway) by opposition support for PR. Why some people think that we need to whip genuine friends of PR rather than the opposition for not doing enough for the left standing up to Orban in 2018 is beyond me. I would feel perfectly happy doing my part in both efforts. But I like PR partly because the historical evidence on democratic transitions strongly suggests that the country has a far better chance of overcoming its political ills via some cooperation between (some of) the right and (some of) the left on constitutional issues than via Cromwellian attempts at imposing a constitutional settlement supported only by a minority of the electorate. Of course, neither the demand for PR nor a call for free elections – i.e. media, campaign finance, campaign regulations… Read more »
Guest

Gabor, very good reasoning, I fully agree, thanks!

From my personal experience with the German PR system and the slightly different implementation in my home state Baden-Württemberg I see one real advantage:

It generally leads to the necessity of coalitions – and that means compromises, which of course some people don’t like but which are better in the long run. And sometimes it leads to quick unexpected changes in government.

Again a Schwab example:

Some years ago the Christian Democrats lost big and we got a coalition lead by the Greens and Mr Kretschmann as a Green prime minister – and now the CDU is back in government, but as junior partner of the Greens under Mr Kretschmann again.

PS:
And I’m so proud – also most of our famous university cities have Green Mayors!

Member

Mr. Toka, you are an expert in this field, and I am not so pretentious as to question your reasoning.

However, I am curious: It seems to me that the introduction of PR (at this stage of Hungarian history) would eventually result in one of two scenarios:

1) Fidesz fails to win 50% of the seats in Parliament outright and invites Jobbik into a coalition.

2) The government is formed by an unstable conglomerate of small, bickering opposition parties (think Iveta Radičová’s government next door in Slovakia.) The coalition collapses after two years and Fidesz comes roaring back with a 3/4 majority.

Is this not a material danger?

Gabor Toka
Guest

Yes, Mr. Kuti (thank you for the polite form, but if you do not mind we can be less formal next time lest someone thinks we are into sarcasm), these are very real possibilities under PR, but:(1) it is not at all obvious if a single-party Fidesz majority is preferable to a Fidesz-Jobbik coalition; and that the two have a 2/3 majority together becomes less likely under PR. Besides, a Fidesz-MSZP coalition or a grand coalition also become slightly more likely under PR, and a Fidesz 2/3 majority turns from very likely to impossible. (2) A left-wing governmental coalition collapsing is equally possible under any other electoral system, right? If anything, PR would make them better realize that there is much to loose and not much to gain by abandoning a governmental coalition. And the constructive vote of non-confidence anyway guarantees, independently of the electoral system, that no Hungarian prime minister can be brought down in the middle of the legislative cycle and there are no early elections (Medgyessy and Gyurcsany chose to resign themselves, and how much better off we would be if they had done that much earlier).

Member

Thanks for the reply, Gabor. And it’s Mr. KuLi, with an “l,” but Alex next time. 🙂

Gabor Toka
Guest

OK, and apologies for the error!

Observer
Guest

I subscribe to the opinion that the current supercharged winner system, and in general, political system should be used for some time, until the de-orbanisation of the body politics is completed. Only after that efforts should be made towards thereturn to full democracy.

wrfree
Guest

You know the process of government and governing incorporates cooperation, compromise and and and an action in democracies to always be listening to ALL voices who are to have the right to have their messages heard in the battle for share of ‘voice’. Currently the country’s political process is clunking along in that of communication and parliamentary warfare. If PR appears to be the way sure let them go for it and I leave it to others who are more knowledgeable in the electoral area.

On the other hand, when it comes to checks and balances, it should be noted that the current pm seems to have resuscitated rule by almost ‘divine right’ with all the advantages thereby. ‘Compromise’ is a highly irregular activity by a ‘king’ who has been breaking bread with a foreign power. So if there will be PR the question is if current events are a guide whether a Cromwell needs to be always roaming in Parliament. Sometimes kings refuse to work with any system that’s in their way. Personalities at times do not give way to curbs on power.
And if the arguments are intractable sometimes heads roll.

Gabor Toka
Guest

That is very true. But there will be no PR while Orban is around. A palace coup (and surely that will not come solely out of the good will of the Fidesz folk) or something messier yet comes first.

Member

Observer: “Only after that efforts should be made towards there turn to full democracy.”

Democracy is not in the heads of the hungarian people, even many hungarian opposition politicians don’t really undestand, what it is about.

When the Post-Orbán time will begin, besides a fair election system, it would be necessary, to establish strict control mechanisms in favour of rule and law and against corruption. Otherwise, I fear, the young democracy can easily collapse again.

Maybe the romanian anti corruption authority is one positive example for the fight against long rooted anti democratic tendencies, that exists in the heads and habits of former dictatotships.

Observer
Guest

Winston
Yes there will be many many difficult task to resolve, but first things first – the Orban mafia must be destroyed. One can’t build on the battlefield before the war has been won and enemy incapacitated.

Member

O.K. Let’s fight the battle!

Guest

OMG, I had to look twice here – because at first I read decapitated instead of incapacitated …

petofi
Guest

First off, know your enemy: it’s not ‘Orban’s mafia’ but that of the interior ministry and Pyutin. Little chance of destroying that.

Come to think of it, the world has enterred a revolutionary (politically speaking) period–it’s the time of rule by money. Putin has a treasure chest of atleast 500 billion euros and he’s using it to manipulate political systems worldwide. I’ll bet that Le Pen will get elected because she’s the most danger to the EU.

When a nothing like Manart can get a 10million per year deal from Putin’s page, Daripaska, for 10 years, that has politicians salivating around the globe. There’s no other possible explanation for how Trump could win the Republican primary…

wrfree
Guest

Re: ‘it’s the time of rule by money. Putin has a treasure chest of atleast 500 billion euros and he’s using it to manipulate political systems worldwide’

Hey you know gelt was fully covered in ‘Cabaret’. It’s true it makes Vlad go ’round. 😎Funny thing though I’ve always wondered about the ‘treasure chests’ of Switzerland. That country is sure loaded down with them. How does it hold itself up? In that instance one has to wonder when a bank robber here (Willie Sutton) a way back was asked why he robbed banks he said well that’s where the moolah is!
From that the Swiss sure must have some great ‘protection’. And in Dr. Seussian vein, ‘oh the secrets they know’.

Ferenc
Guest

“Parties had minimal possibilities to advertise either on the streets or in the media. Fidesz used so-called “civic organizations” like the government-financed CÖF as proxies. Since electoral laws did not apply to them, they were able to advertise where parties were forbidden to do so.”
So far there are no official data publically available about the financing of “CÖF”, but this week they acknowledged (see MNO link under) that in the past years they received between 20 and 40 million HUF from Fidesz.
That CÖF should be pressured more, to make public all their financing back till the start of it’s formation. In that case the year 2014 will be of special interest, and should be checked if it can be proven that Fidesz broke the electoral law by using CÖF cover for political advertisements (it’s obvious that they did, but so far proof is missing!).
The whole anti-NGO campaign by Fidesz might cause some unexpected results……..
MNO article about CÖF: https://mno.hu/belfold/lehullhatna-a-cof-alarca-is-2395294

Ferenc
Guest

And now CÖF claims that Fidesz didn’t allow them to make the Fidesz financing known to the pubic……….
https://444.hu/2017/04/21/a-cof-azt-allitja-azert-nem-arulta-el-hogy-a-fidesztol-kap-penzt-mert-a-fidesz-nem-engedte
To be continued………..

Istvan
Guest

Haraszti is of course correct in pointing out that Hungary now has a constitutional dictatorship. The EU which Miklós Haraszti and many others in the Hungarian opposition have seen as a beacon of hope for Hungary has in fact facilitated this evolution by feeding Fidesz with cohesion funds and making jokes like Juncker has about Orban being a dictator when in fact he is now just that.

Haraszti should write a sequel to his book a “worker in a workers state,” maybe titled a worker in a Mafia state. Because the root of Orban’s power that creates acceptance of the evolution of Hungary, all be it with sanctimonious hand wringing, in the EU is the cheap labor Hungary provides for numerous EU based multinationals to retain profitability in today’s highly competitive market place. The economic exploitation of workers in particular by Hungarian owned third party labor contractors for multinationals and parts producers is scandalous. Hungary uses the same model we see in Asia, only with somewhat higher wages due to its geographical advantage to the core of Europe.

Member

OT: Demonstrators shout down Orban on his state visit to Georgia.

http://index.hu/kulfold/2017/04/21/orban_viktor_kifutyultek_gruziaban/

Peter Karlsson
Guest

“Széky disagrees. Since the end of World War II no other party has received two-thirds of the parliamentary seats in any of the present members of the European Union. Not even 60% of the seats.”

Really? Labour won the 1997 UK elections, and got 418 seats out of 659, 63,4%, while only 43,2% voted for them.

pappp
Guest

I agree with Bruszt, though his comparison isn’t perfect.

MSZMP, the Hungarian communist party prior to 1990, was actually much more democratic in the 1980’s than Fidesz is now and so Grosz was much more vulnerable to begin with.

MSZMP was always a real party, a common property of its wider leadership.

Fidesz on the other hand is solely owned by Orban, he simply cannot be sacked or removed from his Fidesz party leadership because everybody serves in Fidesz at Orban’s pleasure.

This is because Péter Polt, Tünde Handó, Sandor Pinter, members of the Constitutional Court are personally loyal to Orban in a way nobody was loyal to Grósz. All forms of legal and political power which is important in a state are currently subordinate to Orban’s person and that should not be forgotten when making comparisons.

Aka Führerprinzip.

Member

OT: ‘Állítsuk meg Brüsselt!’

Yesterday I bought Népszava. I use to buy once or twice a week an exemplar. I improve my hungarian language (I also read the christmas article of Eva) and I liked some of the opinion pieces and articles.

I discovered a full page coloured Anti-EU-government propaganda ad (Let`s stop Brussels!).

Shall I boykott the paper now ?
They usually never have any ads (probably because they don’t get some).

But, if they prefer to earn money with government propaganda lies, I think, they can easily do without my 400Ft.s a week

pappp
Guest
The answer is yes, you should boykott it. Népszava is now, on paper, owned by Laszlo Puch who’s been the treasurer of MSZP for decades. Yes, since long before Gyurcsany. Puch has been famously one of the most corrupt, shady characters of Hungarian politics. Puch is the one who – naively – set up and personally managed the 70-30 scheme whereby the governing parties were to receive 70% of the public procurement businesses and the opposition (Fidesz/Simicska) 30%. Of course when Fidesz won in 2010 the scheme went out of the window and MSZP received zero (maybe 1%) so Puch has been angling for some minor crumbs ever since such as these advertisements. These ads are great for Fidesz: (i) Fidesz obviously will want something in return (some well placed fake news or something at the right time) and (ii) the Fidesz propaganda can reach even the most anti-Fidesz voters, some of whom are also critical of the EU and might actually agree with Fidesz on that one. In short, Népszava is ultimately controlled by Fidesz. Népszava is part of Fidesz is media portfolio just like ATV is, only the connections are more indirect – but this is how those… Read more »
Ferenc
Guest

I don’t think OV&Fidesz care one bit for the Nepszava readers, they only want to make them depending on the money for governmental advertisements. So that they, when needed, can have some influence Nepszava by threatening to stop these kind of advertisements/money flows.
Instead of not buying, I think it’s better to write to the staff/owner of Nepszava, make your point, request answer, and based on that decide what to do further.

Member

Thank You both for Your comments/advices.
I think there are some integer people who write for that paper.
The business behind is probably corrupt.
After all I don’t have a good feeling anymore buying it. I boykot.
Having a paper with Orban propaganda in my house simply pollutes my home. There is enough of it on the streets.

Ironically, it appears, that the few left over independent media belong to Simicska.
Actually I was quite happy today, when I learned, that Index was bought by him.

Belonging to Simicska seems to be the safest option nowadays.

Ferenc
Guest

“index bought by Simicska”
It was even an item in yerterdays 23hr M1 news, last item (1:30min). Of course all negativ about Simicska, and they even quoted !444!.
M1’s main fear (quoting from “pesti scracok”) that index will develop into the mouthpiece of Jobbik. Well let’s say (again): ‘Ki mint él, úgy ítél.’

Regarding Simicska being the current “safest option”, well that means the bankrupcy of real independent media, and with it real deomocracy, in Hungary.

Member

Ferenc, I really believe that.
The Simicska media are independent and the people working there don’t have to fear hostile take overs.
They are financially independent.
Simicsks doesn’ t dictate the contents to his employees.
They are free.
I am sure, that Olga Kalman could confirm this.
And we have to admit, that he is an important player against the Mafia state.
Index is happy, too.

Ferenc
Guest

I wrote real independent media!
All Simicska’s media completely changed within 1-1.5 year their presentation of Hungarian matters, so I can not consider those really independent.
I agree with you in thinking that Simicska is not dictating and (most of) the people working for him can speak/write what they want. But I suspect they will only be allowed to do that when they stay within the lines of the framework in Simicska’s mind. So first, at this moment all against the mafia state (OK with me), but when that succeeds, I fear for developments later on.

Gabor Toka
Guest

If you liked to see credible left-wing journalism, you may consider following and supporting Kettos Merce (http://kettosmerce.blog.hu/) and Slejm (https://www.facebook.com/slejmpolitika) . They are not professional journalists but most of the index people did not start that way either, and the recent series of Slejm about the health care system is really excellent.

Member

We should start with demands that everybody understands in Europe or US.

A
We demand:

– impartial Election Bureau
– impartial Election Commission
– impartial judicial overview

Without non-partisan election bodies, any election is just a farce.
Without non-partisan election bodies, the Orban regime is illegitimate.

B
The “Transylvanian” votes arrive from Fidesz collecting points abroad in bulk, (in 2014, 95% went to Fidesz)

C
correct the gerrymandering that was made by Fidesz only, without any judicial control.

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D
Equal access to state funds in the election campaign

Member

Remark.

In 2014, the “Transylvanian” vote gave 1 extra seat to Orban, but next year it can be as much as 3. The unique “winner compensation” method meant 6 extra seats for Fidesz-KDNP.

pappp
Guest

Thx, fair points.

Member

The journalist of index.hu writes about the takeover of the portal by Simicska yesterday.
“We are angry, but still independent”

Simicska exercised a secret option from 2014. In that year, he was still Orban’s party-personal finance minister.

http://index.hu/velemeny/2017/04/21/duhosek_vagyunk_de_fuggetlenek/

Member

Gyurcsany:

Orban “has turned from anti-Russian to one of Putin’s main supporters, because the Russian president has evidence against Viktor Orban, so Orban can be blackmailed.”

Gy. added that he can prove his claim in a court of law if Orban would sue him for slander.

http://www.atv.hu/belfold/20170421-gyurcsany-ha-kell-birosag-elott-bizonyitom-hogy-zsaroljak-orbant-az-oroszok

aida
Guest

Why wait to be sued? It will never happen.

Why does he not publish the evidence and then we would all be much better informed even if not any wiser.

Ferenc
Guest

Same question by me: “Why wait to be sued?”
Following are possibilities:
1.all is bluff from Gyurcsany
2.Gyurcsany isn’t bluffing, but can not bring forward the evidence (e.g.it’s not in his hands); only when he’s taken to court can request the evidence from the person/organization, who has it in his possession
3.Gyurcsany isn’t bluffing, but knows that the evidence isn’t negative for OV, but also for others (himself?), so does want to keep it till there’s no other option left
Personally I haven’t got a clue which of the above is most likely, what I noticed in the interview is that Gyurcsany was so very carefully selecting his words, that for what OV could really sue him.

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