Intraparty affairs of the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP)

I decided to do some detective work inside the dark labyrinths of the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) after reading a brief news item about plans by Zsolt Gréczy, spokesman of the Demokratikus Koalíció (DK), to sue MSZP’s local organization in Szekszárd. His charge is that it “spread the falsehood on its official Facebook page that [Gréczy] conducted negotiations with Kálmán Horváth and István Horváth, Fidesz politicians, in the Heinmann Winery on October 13, Friday, at 2:00 p.m.” Gréczy stated that he spent the whole day in Budapest and that he has never met or even heard of these politicians.

After doing some research on the local level, I came to the conclusion that this “storm in a teapot” is just one more manifestation of the division that exists in MSZP, a division that is so deep that it may lead to the demise of the party. This split spans the entire party, from ordinary voters and party members all the way to the highest echelons of the party hierarchy.

At first one might be inclined to look upon this incident merely as a case of mistaken identity. The so-called eyewitness who informed Ferenc Kurtyán, the chairman of the local MSZP organization in Szekszárd, was wrong and apologies would be in order. But once I looked into Kurtyán’s “literary activities” before and after the incident, I came to the conclusion that he is a member of a fairly large group among the local and national leaders who are convinced that the current MSZP leadership is digging its own grave by negotiating with Ferenc Gyurcsány’s Demokratikus Koalíció.

There is an internet news site called civilhetes.net which is, I suspect, a vehicle for those within the party who oppose negotiations with Gyurcsány. Kurtyán is a regular contributor. Just to give a sense of the ideological flavor of the site, here are two articles that have appeared on the news site: “Joint opposition in the districts will be a failure,” an assessment by Fidesz’s Századvég Intézet, and “The Gyurcsány plan,” a republished opinion piece by Tarski, a blogger, who is certain that negotiations with Ferenc Gyurcsány will serve only the interests of DK, which, without the help of MSZP, would never get into parliament.

Kurtyán, in addition to contributing to civilhetes.net, also runs the Szekszárd MSZP organization’s Facebook page, where he posts comments like “Why should MSZP change its candidate to the post of prime minister for a man with 17% popularity? To keep Orbán in power?” to which commenters added that no one wants to support Gyurcsány as MSZP’s candidate for the post of prime minister.

Discussing the election?–Ferenc Kurtyán’s artwork on Facebook

It was Kurtyán who posted the false story about Gréczy’s clandestine meeting with the Fidesz politicians on the Szekszárd MSZP Facebook page, which was subsequently embellished by civilhetes.net. Although Gréczy denied the story and threatened to sue, the site kept insisting on the truthfulness of this unlikely tale, despite the fact that civilhetes.net’s article had to admit that, upon checking the license plate of the “black Mercedes” which was allegedly used by Gréczy, it actually belonged to a dark green Toyota Corolla. Never mind, the article simply brushed the discrepancy aside and claimed that the change of license plate was a deliberate attempt by someone in the DK camp to mislead. Some commenters called the chairman of MSZP, Gyula Molnár, Ferenc Gyurcsány’s “csicskás” (orderly of an officer). Kurtyán eventually removed the montage he created from the Szekszárd site, but it can still be seen on his own website, although people kept urging him to remove it. Obviously, he feels very strongly that MSZP is making a dreadful mistake because its present leaders are seeking a compromise with the man who wants to destroy the party.

I should add that two very important MSZP members of parliament are from Szekszárd: the Harangozó brothers, Gábor and Tamás. I don’t know about Gábor, but Tamás is no friend of Ferenc Gyurcsány. During a television interview the reporter told Harangozó that Ágnes Kunhalmi, in one of her careless moments, said at a press conference that there will be a day when MSZP and DK will be one party again. Tamás Harangozó’s reaction was that if such an event ever happens, he will quit MSZP. All in all, I believe that the split between those who would like to make some arrangement with DK and those who fiercely oppose it is deep and most likely unbridgeable.

One must assume that István Nyakó belongs to the anti-Gyurcsány camp because, as spokesman of MSZP, he issued a sarcastic communiqué stating that “if we would file charges against DK after every abusive and wrongful Facebook comment, Tünde Handó [president of the National Judiciary Office] would have to set up a separate appellate court for all the hearings. MSZP has never done anything like it. But if Mr. Gréczy thinks that his word is not enough and he needs a court decision to state that he has never visited the Szekszárd winery, it’s his funeral—the court will decide.” A few hours later Gyula Molnár, the head of MSZP, fired Nyakó. Molnár must have felt that strong action was needed to put an end to the activities of those who refuse to accept the leadership’s decision concerning negotiations with the other opposition parties.

But civilhetes.net is continuing the fight and refuses to accept the truth that whomever the sole informer saw, it was not Zsolt Gréczy. The whole case by now is being portrayed as a conspiracy where the top leadership of MSZP is conspiring with DK to clear Gréczy’s name while Nyakó “has been condemned to death” by the MSZP leadership. It is indeed a very ugly game, and one has the nagging feeling that the grand old socialist party is starting to crumble.

October 18, 2017
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Member

The present MSZP has nothing to offer to the voters, so their demise would be no great loss, IF the DK and other so called leftist parties would be able to fill the gap. The MSZP was slightly less corrupt, but much less capable of running the country than the Fidesz.
It is the direction and methods of how Fidesz is running the country that is the issue, they are running it as a lawless dictatorship and economically to the ground and toward a potential disaster.

Observer
Guest

Gyula.

How was/is MSZP/coalition “less capable of running the country than the Fidesz” which “are running it as a lawless dictatorship and economically to the ground ” ?

Don’t you see the self contradiction, can’t you seen through the Fid propaganda of “Gyurcsàny is to blame” and “the past eight years”?
And what were the big bad failures of the MSZP/SZDSZ coalition, apart from the budget deficits and the failure to tackle the onslaught of Fid propaganda and lies?

Marty
Guest
@Observer: on paper you are right. The government (policywise) cannot get worse than this. But people expect no less corruption from the leftists (“same old billionaire commies” like Gyurcsany or Laszlo Puch etc. coming back). So the left (any politician for that matter) is not credible in that department. But Fidesz at least has unity. The left is preoccupied with infighting as it’s always has been. Most voters say that they simply don’t deserve power. A statesmen must be tough and show leadership – who on earth can be a “leader” in petty MSZP? What I just can’t understand though why doesn’t the opposition including MSZP promise something important and popular? Back in 1998 the “7% growth rate” was all the talk. Why can’t the opposition promise – when Orban is deciding about giving some pension bonus – higher pensions (with some nice number and repeat it ad nauseam)? Or something similar. Momentum promises to cut VAT from 27 to 25 as its no. 1 promise? Please. Voters understand that when Orban “gives” them a pension bonus he says that he cares about pensioners, cares about average folks. There is no word or action which would indicate that MSZP/Gyurcsany or… Read more »
Guest

Romania lowered the VAT from 25 to 20% and even lower for basic stuff – in Germany we have 19% and just 7% for essentials like food! That would be a number for people to understand – and explain to them why right now food is cheaper in rich Germany than in poor Hungary.
But the stupid Hungarians willingly believe the Fidesz propaganda:
The high prices are because the big bad global companies cheat the poor Hungarians, total nonsense!

wrfree
Guest

Re: ‘Most voters say that they simply don’t deserve power. A statesmen must be tough and show leadership – who on earth can be a “leader” in petty MSZP?’

Perhaps it is more who is in position to show leadership of the entire opposition? So far it looks a snowball’s chance in hell to pull that off.

Again too much the medieval with the infighting between the fiefdoms and vassalage predisposes the fiefs to only trust their own either in the countrysides or cities. The concerns of the whole appears not to figure when it comes to challenging the great Lord. ‘Feud-alism’ is alive and well in 21st Magyarorszag. And Fidesz with its ‘fidelitas’ (fealty) has the opposition bent to its scraped up knees.

Ferenc
Guest

“Fidesz at least has unity”
best be called “Kádár-discipline”

OV “giving some pension bonus” and “cares about pensioners”
Well I suspect ‘m to be able to spray around some bonuses, because in state organizations and sectors (education, healthcare, etc) the average workers are not paid decently*. This underpaying has to be, if possible, compensated by people depending on it (especially healthcare, but not necessarily limited to that) with showing their “thanks” by means of envelopes with content.
All in all the average pensioner will have less to spend for his other needs and wishes!!
Hope (grand)children will seriously speak about this with their (grand)parents, to better not get fooled by OV’s cheap and hollow gestures!!

*and the “worldrecord VAT” (see wolfi)
note VAT can best be considered being the “poor men’s tax”

Observer
Guest

Marty
“old billionaire commies” like Gyurcsany or Laszlo Puch”

Now this is real BS, there is no comparison between the “normal” corruption of anytime before and the current institutionalized orgy. People (and you) may believe the Fid propaganda panels, but they are just that – a bunch of lies one has to counter. Those repeating them are in Orban’s service.

Making some (too) good promises is part of politics, but the totally irresponsible ones are fraud and you can’t beat Orban in the latter. Strong leader is good up to a degree, before he turns dictator, balance is gold here, the rest is self delusions, which end badly on either side.

Marty
Guest
That’s what people will say which is why I used quotation marks. First of all ordinary rural folks all leftist politicians are “communists” like it or not. That’s the curse of the left-wing in Hungary. Rural folks just don’t like them godless communists. Most voters are not sophisticated, they are not political scientists. For them one filthy rich politician is the same as another. This is why the Hungarian left-wing would need a politician like Corbyn or Sanders who are credible (have been saying the same thing for decades and both live an almost ascetic life and are not urban billionaire or wealthy people. Which is why Gyula Horn was popular. A strong leader is what people want now, they are frustrated and have zero tolerance for impotent bickering and intellectual debates. GG: “There is a relationship between how much fascism thrives and how much the ruling class ignores the public good”. But the point is by now Hungarians don’t really like democracy that much, for them it only means corrupt politicians and chaos, they want a strong leader and they just can’t get that from the left (Vona is also seen as much too weak Orban understands that clearly).… Read more »
Observer
Guest

Marty

Again, people say a great lot if BS, we know that, but I challenge it, not repeat it, least of all here.

Member

The MSZP was running the country less capably, because they kept borrowing moneys expanding social programs, but without building up the GDP and tax incomes, reducing drastically the grey economy and the “black market” (selling fictitious products collecting tax refunds). Therefore, they were lousy managers of the economy. Politically they were also less capable, they could not maintain or build enough trust in the voters so they lost the elections to the Fidesz.
————————————-
The Fidesz is capable of running the country, by force, by writing laws covering their crimes, also with huge corruption and with the protection from the judiciary and the police, as well as from the NAV and not least protected by the bald headed bodybuilder groups. They bought the media, they control the information and created a virtual World for most of the people in the countryside, who got access only to their media and TV. The Fidesz is running the country as a dictatorship and one has to be capapble to set one up.

Observer
Guest

And I mean governing the country and the economy. Leave out the political techniques and methods, which I include in the “tackle” section.

Guest

See my answer to Marty!
running the country
If you exchange there just the first N with an I it looks even “better”/real …

Ferenc
Guest

change this with that? ah got it!
or “running the country into ruin”

Marty
Guest

Now this is some real scary shit.

Fidesz doubled its popularity among those over 60 since the summer.

I can actually believe this – few things must be at work. Very effective campaign against Jobbik (about how Jobbik hates the elderly), effective campaign about the gift by Orban to his beloved pensioners and all-encompassing propaganda.

Also the people of Budapest become much more pro-Fidesz from 22% to 37%, that’s almost a doubling within a few months. My guess is that middle class people just hate the leftists for their stupidity and corruption and want to punish them like the American working class wants to punish the Democrats. They rather endure Fidesz (and complaining always provides enjoyment anyway) than to give power to people like Gyulnár Molnár or Gyurcsány ever again.

Quite interesting that Együtt has only 1%, similar to Kétfarkú Kutya and the pseudo party Liberals.

http://index.hu/belfold/2017/10/19/a_fidesz_nepszerusege_majdnem_megduplazodott_a_60_evnel_idosebbek_koreben/

Guest

middle class people in Hungary, who vote for Fidesz?
Who are they in your opinion? Most elderly people are working class in Hungary – and if I were Satan (or Soros …) I’d say the good news is that they die early …
Fidesz is getting even crazier than before – the EU and the USA are just looking on, why should they invest energy in this hopeless country which will be a part of the Russian empire in the long run anyway?
It’s much better for them to concentrate on worthwhile countries like the Baltics – my sister and her husband were there just now and they were really impressed! They’ve visited us in Hungary before and been around so they have a base to compare …

PS and not too much OT:
Fidesz is concentrating on the automotive industry right now – maybe even they realise the danger of the German companies leaving for greener pastures, they seem to be really afraid, though officially all is well of course. Look here for the numbers:
http://www.politics.hu/20171019/economy-minister-regional-cooperation-needed-for-hungarys-automotive-industry/

Marty
Guest
I kind of meant urban people who normally don’t like Fidesz and self-described conservative parties. Somewhat more liberal in values than the average. Also the people of Budapest are somewhat more wealthier than an average Hungarian. Kinda undecided, not especially political, but leaning to parties which would represent more urban, progressive, pro-Western, educated values. Basically people who are not necessarily Fideszniks by default (who are leaning left by default). But who are also pragmatic and want to feel powerful. These voters I increasingly feel want to punish the left for allowing Fidesz to wreak havoc and at the same time they have things to lose too (e.g the flat personal income tax is good for many wealthier/middle class people and they want to keep it). It may be paradoxical (I guess it doesn’t fit into the rational choice theory) to vote for a despised party but it’s logical in the sense it punishes the even more hated leftists and one can still argue that it also protects some of their gains (flat tax, CSOK real estate loan subsidy etc.). Also these are orderly, disciplined people with jobs, obligations. They perform as the world expects from them, they are diligent, they… Read more »
Observer
Guest

This good, informative post shows that democracy is not an easy game, particularly in the prickly, often pigheaded Hungarian psyche.
The only argument the Hungarians understand is force, said Orban, witness his longevity in ruling Fid (see also the Torgyàn rule in the FKDP, or Türmer’s, or the disintegration of SZDSZ after Kuncze).
This poses the grave question – are we prepared to play the difficult game of democracy with its pluralism, debates and compromises or leave it to a know it all dictator, who comes to own everything and everybody.

I can’t accept the very Hungarian defeatist position of doing nothing, “because it will not succeed anyway”. I’ll go for the Viking one of dying with the sword in hand every time.

wrfree
Guest

Many years ago the film ‘The 300 Spartans’ captured my imagination as no other film has ever since. It was impressive to see men dying not for themselves but for a cause that would enable others to live in a freedom without shackles.

Considering the situation perhaps along the lines of Vikings I am waiting Magyars to be those Spartans. It would be difficult. Yet many things can open up when they say ‘Nem! They will not pass’.

Member

Slightly OT:
Momentum’s Fekete-Gyor just declared himself in favor of a “smaller” nuclear-power plant than Paks… perhaps a “solar-powered” atomic energy plant.

Member
Member

What I am missing from most of the “left” is the slightest sense of urgency about getting Orban out of office. I hear “Indeed, Orban must go,” but they are not doing a good job communicating reasons for this. I need something that fits on a bumper sticker. Something I can dance to. Voters respond to this kind of thing.

The only exception is Bernadett Szel. While I have criticized her past behavior (i.e. text messaging on stage during other people’s speeches at a multiparty panel discussion) she seems to have learned a lesson about the key to political success: palm pressing.

Marty
Guest

An interesting tidbit. The government spent 36bn forints (about 120 milllion USD) on direct advertising (such as anti-Soros propaganda campaign and other issues) just in the first half of 2017. The money mostly went to Fidesz-owned media with the french JCDecaux (smaller billboards) being the only exception.

This is of course above and beyond the (about 90bn forints per year) money spent on the operation of the state media empire which spews propaganda all day long.

Given the already ongoing all-encompassing government campaigns (eg. another anti-Soros campaign), it’s highly likely that such spending is continuing unabated.

And now note that a single opposition political party may have at most few hundred million forints to spend on the entire general election campaign advertising, GOTV etc. included.

The difference is 100:1.

https://g7.24.hu/allam/20171019/nagyjabol-negyvenmilliard-forintot-hirdetett-el-az-allam-az-elso-felevben/

Ferenc
Guest

First a remark, the mentioned amount is based on ‘listaár’ (list-price), meaning afaik it’s is calculated through the numbers of adverts and the known list-prices, which are normally more than the real paid prices. (on the other hand I can imagine that in the current HU situation OV&Co are shifting more money than according the pricelists to ‘friendly’ companies…).
I’m very interested to see data about the part the advertising by the stateis occupying in the whole advertising market (and that in a timeline for e.g.the last 10 years). Couldn’t find such nor good data, to make a graph myself, so far.

The ‘Magyar Reklámszövetség’ published some info, a.o.stating that the tv-adverts by the state increased from 2015 to 2016 with 140% (so 2.4-times in 1 year!! hajra the ‘propaganda ministry’) and on the whole advertising market with 80% (so 1.8-times). But no data to determine the state’s part in the advertising market.

Sources:
https://bbj.hu/economy/advertising-spending-in-hungary-continues-to-rise-says-mrsz_129487
http://mrsz.hu/kutatas/reklamkoltes/teljes-reklamtorta-2016

Ferenc
Guest

Found some info about state advertising in various media at:
Unfortunately not exactly what I was most searching for (% of state in total advertising market over time, e.g.last 10 year), but nevertheless interesting:
Soft Censorship in Hungary 2016 – http://mertek.eu/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/MertekFuzetek12.pdf / Lágy cenzúra a magyar médiában 2016 – http://mertek.eu/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/MertekFuzetek11-1.pdf-1.pdf
More good info about media, state and advertising can be found at:
*(in Hungarian) https://mertek.atlatszo.hu/
*(in English) http://mertek.eu/en/

Ferenc
Guest
Based on info found on https://mertek.atlatszo.hu/state-advertising-2006-2016/ , made a new infogram in which I summarized and split-up the revenues from state advertising of the Top 20 Media Companies over the period 2006-2016. Infogram at https://infogram.com/hu-state-advertising-2006-2016-in-million-ft-1ggk2694x88j2n0 Notes for split-up: public media before and after 2010; Simicska’s companies before and after 2015 [2015.Feb.06 being the (in)famous “G-day”, when S called O a ‘egy geci’, meaning something like ‘a prick’] My observations (in chronological order): *very strong (unsuspected!) increase in 2008 (1.5-times 2007), for reasons I don’t know, but even so can’t consider to be of real democratic nature *major part of that increase going to private media (e.g.RTL Klub) *in 2009 first stabilization and then decrease so in 2010 back to revenue level of 2007 *period 2010-2014 speeding up increase, in 4 years total increase of 3-times the revenues (note 2014 being an election year!) *2015 considerable changes in the advert.market, revenues for Fid-allied companies (mainly Simicska) falling to under 40% from 2014!! *2015-2016 a doubling of revenues (and state spending!) in one year!! major increase caused by pumping of money into TV2 (in 2015 – 6.2 billion Ft / in 2016 – 20.8 billion Ft) and more advertising on public/Fid-state media… Read more »
Ferenc
Guest

One thing I noticed in the ‘Mertek data’ but forgot to mentioned in above comment:
*Companies which have been taken over by Fid-allies (e.g.Origo Adhouse, Pannon Lapok) received in the last years before the take over much more revenues from state adverts than before. So a typical ‘take over’ sequence as follows:
1.big increase in state adverts (to ‘better befriend’ the private owners? with public money…) /
2.take over by Fid-ally (overprized?) /
3.a sweep through the management and staff of the taken-over company /
4.an even bigger than before increase of state advert revenues (to more than consolidate position of new pro-Fid outlet in the market!)

tappanch
Guest

Healthcare spending as a % of GDP
2010: 4.6%
2016: 3.9%

Spending on public education
2010: 5.9%
2016: 4.6%

https://vasarnapihirek.hu/friss/meg_2010et_sem_erjuk_el

Guest

Too tired right now to analyze this – but it sounds really interesting, especially the comparisons between the EU countries:
https://bbj.hu/analysis/hungarians-unhappy-with-state-of-democracy-says-research_140465

wpDiscuz