From chaos to possible prospects for political understanding

The chaos caused by the resignation of László Botka, MSZP’s candidate for the premiership, hasn’t subsided. If anything, it has grown over the last two days, nurtured by the vitriol that has surrounded Botka’s departure from the national political scene. Botka’s few stalwart supporters keep talking about the alleged treachery of certain leading members of the party, who were shielded by the majority of the board (választmány).

Perhaps the most stinging condemnation of the leadership of MSZP came from Ákos Tóth, the new editor-in-chief of 168 Óra, who began his editorial with the following sentence: “László Botka failed because the darkest scoundrels of the Orbán regime, his own kind, made him fail.” In the editorial Botka is portrayed as a valiant reformer who wanted to lift his party out of the swamp but was stabbed in the back by internal agents, moved by Fidesz hirelings with the help of pro-DK internet news sites, which he compares to 888.hu, the most heinous online government rag.

One should not be surprised by this vehement attack on the alleged rats within MSZP when Botka himself, seconded by István Ujhelyi, an MSZP member of the European Parliament, pointed the finger at Zsolt Molnár, one of the vice chairmen of the party. According to those who bought this story, Botka didn’t resign because his strategy of forging a united democratic opposition failed. He resigned because of his furor, mixed with sadness and disgust, after he realized that his comrades refused to go after the alleged traitors in the party. On the other hand, both Gyula Molnár, the party chairman, and István Hiller, chairman of the board, have repeated several times, quite emphatically, that there was no reason to censure Zsolt Molnár because the explanation he offered the board satisfied the great majority of the board members.

If anyone is guilty of undermining the little respect MSZP still has, it is István Ujhelyi. Botka has been quiet since his resignation, but Ujhelyi has given several interviews in which he laid the blame on “the Fidesz agents” in the party. As far as he is concerned, Botka’s only mistake was not making public the presence of these traitors in MSZP. He seems to believe that Fidesz agents are in all the opposition parties. Facts don’t seem to matter to Ujhelyi when it comes to the defense of his friend, László Botka. In these interviews he ignored the disastrous drop in MSZP support since Botka’s nomination and LMP’s latest unequivocal refusal to cooperate with him.

Are there any signs of a resolution to this admittedly dire political situation? I see the glimmer of a light at the end of the tunnel, but in order to explain why, I have to say a few words about electoral arithmetic. You may remember that Botka insisted on an agreement on the 106 electoral districts and on a common party list.  Gyurcsány agreed that there should be only one candidate in each electoral district agreed to by the different parties but insisted on individual party lists. That strategy has its pluses. For example, it satisfies the voters’ desire to vote for the party of their choice while being forced to vote for a candidate who might not be their first choice if they were absolutely free to decide. Botka argued that Gyurcsány was misleading the electorate because the electoral law doesn’t permit that combination of single candidates and multiple party lists. Was Botka right or not? Well, not quite. The law stipulates that the so-called coordinated voting system, which Gyurcsány promulgated, can be applied only if each party can put up at least 27 individual candidates. The problem in this case is that there are four parties on the left that could be part of an agreement: MSZP, DK, Együtt, and Párbeszéd. Four times 27 is 108, more than the number of available districts.

Given this arithmetical conundrum, MSZP and DK should start to negotiate. There is apparently still some hope in MSZP circles that a common list remains a possibility. However, I don’t believe that Gyurcsány will give up his idea of individual party lists because, as I understand it, he foresees an outcome where the party with the highest number of votes cast for its party list will be the prime minister in the case of victory. But even if Viktor Orbán remains in power, the number of members of parliament for each party will depend on their party’s actual strength. This, he argues, would be a fairer apportionment of seats than an arbitrary assignment of places from a common party list. I should add that Gyurcsány obviously believes at the moment that his party will do well, perhaps even better than the ailing MSZP.

But what about the other two parties? This is where I see the light at the end of the tunnel. Today, Tímea Szabó, co-chair of Párbeszéd, announced that the party is ready to unite with Együtt to enter the 2018 race. Although the form of cooperation has not been finalized, it is likely that the two parties will have a common list and common candidates. That would be a rational decision given the minuscule size of the two parties. This would remove the obstacle to the “coordinated” voting system, although it is unlikely that these two parties would be able to compete on an equal footing with the two more established parties. I assume that once some kind of understanding is reached between MSZP and DK, these two parties could then sit down to negotiate. In that case, MSZP and DK might offer something enticing. For example, there is more and more talk about Gergely Karácsony as a possible common candidate for the post of prime minister.

Although Gyurcsány keeps repeating that an agreement can be reached in 72 hours, I think that even 72 days may not be enough to hammer out some kind of an agreement. This is a pity because the electorate, which would like a speedy agreement, might lose its little remaining faith in politicians if they drag their feet or if they keep publicly criticizing each other. Unfortunately, there is a good likelihood of such an outcome.

October 4, 2017
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Gabor Toka
Guest

In fact, not three or four but an almost infinite number of parties can coordinate candidacies in single member districts under the current rules. They just all have to run candidates in the 20 or so districts that Fidesz will most likely win even under the worst of circumstances, and work out who runs a candidate in each of the remaining 80+ districts. Then they just have to make sure that they get 5-10 percent more of the votes than Fidesz, and then they can even win a majority of the seats.

Limbo
Guest

Jobbik and the leftist parties must agree on a single joint candidate. This is imperative if the parties serious about wanting to get rid of Fidesz.

The leftist parties alone cannot possibly defeat Fidesz under the current circumstances (the pathetic state of the left-wing, lack of a credible strong leader, Fidesz’ lock on the media etc.). Also, as it was established by several experts the united left must prevail over the dominant right-wing party (currently Fidesz) by 6-8% points in terms of party list votes in order for the left-wing just to have a simple majority in Parliament (that’s how the gerrymandered system favors Fidesz) which majority is not enough to dismantle the Orban system. This kind of defeat over Fidesz is simply inconceivable.

The numbers don’t add up because in many districts people simply will never vote for a leftist candidate. They are done with the “communists”. The left and Jobbik together however almost everywhere could defeat Fidesz. If Jobbik and the left-wing agree on a joint candidate there would be few districts out of the 106 where Fidesz could win.

Guest

You’re right – but thius strategy might be too complicated for some …

A bit OT – my wife just found this: Jász-Nagykun-Trollnok
https://www.facebook.com/trollnok/

An anti-Fidesz group which has announced the “First National beauty contest for Orbán Stromen – male and female accepted” 🙂
A nice picture showing them all:
https://www.facebook.com/trollnok/photos/gm.1732861087022962/1768979843401459/?type=3

Some kind of gallows humour …
And the Felcsút Space Center Opening Ceremony with host Mészáros Lőrinc – planned for 2022 🙂

Member

So, who exactly are these mysterious Fidesz termites who are gnawing away at the foundations of the MSZP? If they are so ubiquitous, and cause such damage, it would be worthwhile to identify them so we might expose them to some pesticide, no?

It is worth mentioning that Akos Toth is the former editor of Nepszabadsag, i.e. a de facto MSZP employee. I have little doubt he knows about that which he speaks.

So, let’s have it, Akos! Down and dirty!

Roderick Beck
Guest

Unfortunately, no party, left, center or right has a viable economic development strategy. The Hungarian economic malaise has led to growth on par with the US over the last 30 years despite developing countries needing much faster growth to catch up. No economic convergence is possible without radical change in Hungarian culture, the entire regulatory and tax framework, and demographics.

wrfree
Guest

‘Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies’. Groucho Marx

Far from me to truly understand the noxious rivalries going on within the left. But it is glaringly apparent that they are unskilled in compromise. But politics has also been termed the art of the possible. Time to grab the bull by the horns as the alternative has the left looking more and more as a scrumptious meal on the political menu…. as a thinly sliced and diced up salami sandwich. That’s tasty hus and kenyer to chomp on for Fidesz palates.

Member

OT:
444.hu hired Median to do a poll on the effectiveness of the Rogan-Habony commie-propaganda campaign.

The results would be comical were they not so depressing.

When asked whether the European Union poses a threat to Hungary, just 25% of respondents said “yes.” When asked the same question about “Brussels” – the preferred terminology of the Rogan-Habony campaign – this number shot up to 37%.

Some 55% of respondents consider George Soros a threat and 68% are spooked by “migrants.”

“People will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.” – Walter Langer, US Office of Strategic Services, in a psychological profile of Adolf Hitler

https://444.hu/2017/10/04/a-magyarok-tobbsege-pont-attol-fel-a-legjobban-amitol-a-kormany-szeretne

Sackhoes Contributor
Guest

It is amazing – and saddening – to see these politicians rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic accompanied by a string orchestra, while the ship is sinking. It’s October. Fidesz will call for election in April. They are ready now. Jobbik is ready now. Is the left opposition ready??? I don’t think so.

Guest

I’ve given up hope for Hungary – in the long run something might happen, but 2018 seems lost.

OT but interesting:
The European Public Prosecutor is coming!
The role of the EPPO is to investigate and prosecute fraud against the EU budget and other crimes against the EU’s financial interests including fraud concerning EU funds of over €10,000 and cross-border VAT fraud cases involving damages above €10 million. Previously only national authorities could investigate and prosecute these crimes and could not act beyond their borders. OLAF, Eurojust and Europol similarly had no ability to act.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Public_Prosecutor
The European Parliament voted this in – of course Hungary and Poland (and a few others) were against it …

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