A partial agreement between MSZP and DK

The first phase of the seemingly endless negotiations between MSZP and DK came to an end today. The two parties finally agreed on the division of the 106 electoral districts, but no one should think that this is the end of the story. Both MSZP and DK would still like to negotiate with the smaller parties on the left before the final allocation. And then we still have the huge problem that LMP and, to some extent, Momentum pose to any chance of the opposition winning. At the moment these two parties are unmoved by arguments that their unbending opposition to cooperation will lead to certain Fidesz victory.

Media reaction to the compromise, whether it comes from the left or from the right, is that Ferenc Gyurcsány was the winner of the struggle between MSZP and DK. But if that is the case, I don’t know why the former prime minister and chairman of the Demokratikus Koalíció looked so mournful at the press conference that he and Gyula Molnár, chairman of MSZP, gave this afternoon.

To put it in the simplest terms, MSZP will be able to name candidates in 60 districts and DK in 46. In November seven opinion polls were published whose average result showed MSZP at 11% and DK at 7%, though the most reliable pollsters (Medián and Závecz) showed even less of a difference between the two parties. Most commentators, however, believe that Gyurcsány’s real victory was achieving cooperation without agreeing to MSZP’s long-standing demand for a common party list.

As far as common versus individual party lists are concerned, opinion is split on which system is more advantageous to the opposition parties. Gyurcsány naturally believes that individual lists are superior because with this system the voter who might be obliged to vote for the candidate of a party not his own could still express his party preference and therefore would be more ready to go to the polls.

Although divvying up the districts was no easy task, I still cannot help thinking how much better it would have been if these two parties had agreed on the “coordinated” candidacies months ago. Perhaps the greatest drag on progress was the good nine months wasted when László Botka’s candidacy put an end to negotiations between MSZP and the other parties. The Botka period also did great harm to MSZP, whose popularity kept slipping with every passing month. With his resignation Botka retired from national politics, but he is still the strongman in Szeged, where he managed to prevent DK from getting one of the two Szeged districts. MSZP also kept District XVIII in Budapest, where Ágnes Kunhalmi, a last-minute candidate, lost the election in 2014 by only a handful of  votes. The complete list of MSZP and DK candidates in all 106 districts can be seen here.

Since negotiations with the smaller parties will apparently continue, some of the districts might have to be given up to candidates of other parties. We know already that Tímea Szabó of Párbeszéd will most likely get one of the Budapest districts from MSZP. A couple of independents might also get districts currently allotted to MSZP. The same is true of DK, which most likely will have to negotiate with Együtt. So, it’s not over till it’s over or, as 168 Óra put it, “they divided and multiplied and at the end with one foot they moved from one to two.”

As opposed to Gyula Molnár, Gyurcsány looked weary and was low-keyed. About the future he said only that “it was better before Orbán and it will be better after Orbán,” which is really a minimalist promise. It looks as if he learned from his experience with unfulfillable promises. On the other hand, he was categorical when it came to the DK list, which he will lead without being a declared candidate for the post of prime minister. Although earlier there was talk about Gergely Karácsony being the candidate of MSZP and DK, Gyurcsány said that “DK doesn’t support a candidate who is on the list of another party.” This refusal, however, didn’t change MSZP’s mind. As of now, Karácsony is heading the MSZP list, though I wouldn’t bet a lot of money on his remaining there.

In response to the news of a partial deal, Fidesz announced that “on the left Gyurcsány is still the real leader,” and everything is moving in a direction that serves only his interest. Origo called the agreement “an alliance of hopelessness and the past.” According to the editorial, the two parties have given up hope of winning against Fidesz in 2018 and simply want to survive and get ready for 2022.

But it would be a mistake to assume that only the government media panned the agreement. HVG, which is a fairly consistent critic of Ferenc Gyurcsány, called the agreement “an understanding to continue to fight between themselves” while “Gergely Karácsony drifts into nothingness.” Nothing will come of this tentative embrace, mostly because of Ferenc Gyurcsány. His short-term aim is to beat MSZP, which he might be able to do, but he cannot win against Fidesz and Jobbik. His real aim is to be the head of the opposition in 2022. Gyurcsány has managed to line up his troops, while the socialists so far have done nothing but give up 46 electoral districts.

These assessments might not be too far from the truth. There is no question that DK has been vying for the voters of MSZP, a party that is losing them fast. It is also clear that Ferenc Gyurcsány hasn’t given up on the idea of becoming Hungary’s prime minister again sometime in the future. In the past he made some contradictory comments about his plans, but as far as I know he has never excluded the possibility of a complete political revival. This time, in answering a question, he pointed out that “there might be a situation” when he could become head of the government because he is “still a very young man who is in good shape.” He wouldn’t like it if the political right managed to get rid of him too early. “Since the Gyurcsánys have been a long-lived lot, I do hope that I can offer a political alternative against everything Fidesz and its prime minister represent for a very long time to come.” And this wasn’t said as a joke.

That kind of talk, unless some miracle happens in April of 2018, indicates that Gyurcsány has pretty well given up hope of the opposition winning the coming election. Yet here and there one gets the impression that he considers the possibility that Fidesz will not get an absolute majority and that the opposition parties will then have to sit down to negotiate a coalition government. But as I’ve said, something very unexpected and dramatic would have to happen between now and the election to be faced with such a currently unlikely situation.

December 20, 2017
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Sackhoes Contributor

This topic is not just idle idle speculation for me. I am a registered Hungarian voter living in the United States and in a few months I will be casting my ballot. If I were to vote today, my inclination would be to vote for the Two Tailed Dog party (Ketfarku Kutya Part). My vote would be only an expression of exasperation with the whole Hungarian political spectrum.

Of course, I probably will not waste my vote like that. I will probably vote for LMP. Not because I am enthusiastic for the party platform, although I genuinely like Bernadett Szél. I realize that the other opposition parties are too comfortable being financed by Orban’s government and will never unite to actually vote against the system that supports them.



We all appreciate Hadházi’s tireless fight against corruption and other laudable actions by LMP, but at the crucial point – the elections, they play into Fidesz’ hands by refusing to cooperate with anyone, i.e. splitting the opposition vote in the districts, where LMP can’t win anything on it’s own.
So, ~75% of your vote will be wasted, thanks to the heinous Fidesz scheme mascarading as Electoral Law.


MSZP-DK wins 10 districts in Budapest and Szeged. Current MSZP seat in downtown Miskolc reverts to Fidesz.
Ms. Szabo loses her district, but gets into Parliament as an independent on the MSZP list. Where would we be without her unconventional protests? They even bring a smile to Kover’s hardened lips.
Zoltan Kesz narrowly loses his Veszprem seat and goes back to work in his Ayn Rand temple.
Fidesz takes everything else in a cakewalk.


… and Lajos Rig of Jobbik looses his Tapolca (my district) seat not so narrowly as he won it. But only because, he runs concurrently again against an MSZP and an LMP candidate!

Alex, you are a pessimist.

Of course it is unlikely and probably it will come as you say, but as long as the elections are ahead of us, anything can happen. The world is full of miracles sometimes.
My simple mind is even hoping, that the opposition pulls itself together (a little maybe).


A pessimist?

A realist who has firsthand experience with a good number of the nincompoops who populate the opposition. I read the election laws, the constitution and opinion polls. I also speak with Orban supporters in an effort to understand their mindset.

Most importantly, I know that Orban will be leaving office in one of two ways: (1) When he decides it’s time to hand off power to his anointed successor, or (2) In a pine box.


After reading Eva’s latest post on the opposition I am with Alex – no chance …
Everybody should either arrange him/herself with it or look for a way to leave Orbanistan (should I have written Shittistan?) behind – and many seem to follow my advice.
I feel kind of lucky that at least in Germany the volume of extreme right wing fanatics is limited – but in Eastern Europe aka the Balkan (which begins in/after Munich as the old proverb says …) we see a march back to the Middle Ages.

Rather OT but poignant:
Just saw that Ken Follett has written “A Column of Fire”, a voluminous opus (1200 pages) on the deadly wars between Protestants and Catholics in the 16th Century, including this:
Some of the critics don’t like the rather explicit scenes of brutal horror killings …


OT: should I call this Wednesday the hump day or the day of the blues? The EU commission triggered the A7 procedure for Poland, yet immediately after, president Andrej Duda signed into effect the very justice laws EU considers being the smoking gun for the annihilation of the independwnt judiciary in Poland.
Now: either PiS doesn’t care (which I doubt), or they take for granted VO’s guarantees that the full effect of A7 will never bear fruits.
Either way, wrong judgement on behalf of the Polish regime.


Poland and Hungary
That brings me to the question: why was such not yet triggered for OV’s Hungary? The only explanation I can give is OV&Co being member of EPP.
That leads to: will the whole EPP accept OV&Co to veto full Art.7 procedures against Poland? Well I can’t imagine. So EPP could split (not impossible, but very unlikely) or OV&Co could be kicked out of EPP.
In the last case, the Art.7 report against OV’s Hungary could even be speeded up in the EU parliament, and voted asap (before elections!).
Remaining question: when will Art.7 voting against Poland happen in European Council (heads of EU states)?


I am also curious to see what EPP’s reaction will be. EPP is split over Hungary: many MEPs have already voiced their discontent (that’s an understatement) regarding the Orbán regime but EPP doesn’t seem too eager to expel the Fidesz delegation for 2 reasons:
1) they would be weakened by such measure and
2) there are, let’s face it, some strong supporters of OV among EPP’s ranks.
Would Hungary vetoing Article 7 against Poland change anything? I am wondering…

Found through the polls at 24.hu an interesting infogram by Ildikó D. Kovács (24.hu): https://infogram.com/79f71076-4444-40a9-9b6c-b7e890bd5b47 It shows voting for district candidates split up according party voting, a lot of data, but the most interesting ones seem, when a party-voter doesn’t have in his district a candidate from ‘his party’. The split-up is done for Fid&co, Jobbik and Left-Liberal (so LMP and small ‘center’ parties do not seem to be considered). Probably there’s an article about this, but couldn’t find it so far. Now the main results (imho) of party-voters for other district candidates: Jobbik-voter: left-liberal 43% / Jobbik — / Fid&Co 17% / don’t know 40% Left-Liberal-voter: left-lib. —/ Jobbik 31% / Fid&Co 8% / don’t know 61% My conclusions: *both Left-Liberal and Jobbik voters strongly prefer (2.5- to 4-times) another party above Fid&Co candidates *Left-Liberal voters hesitate much more to vote for other party candidates than Jobbik voters (and/or L-L voters possibly prefer candidates from LMP or other small parties above from Jobbik and Fid&Co) Recommendation: -better results for all non-Fid&Co parties can be achieved by good coordination in campaigning and district candidates with other parties -for worst possible Fid&Co result all other parties should coordinate campaigns and candidates… Read more »

The next party in front of the ÁSZ guns*: MLP – Liberalisok got their ‘ÁSZ Christmas ‘fine’ present of 10 million HUF. In previous controls were always found ‘clean’.
According to news they turned to their EU partner ALDE with leader Verhofstadt.
*so far no guns fired, just loaded with (rubber?) bullets…


“.. Gyurcsány was the winner of the struggle between MSZP and DK..”
Yes, by default, since DK set waiting while MSZP kept loosing popularity under Botka (ostensibly due in part to his/his faction’s rigid and irrational opposition to co-opearation with DK).
Any party worth it’s name would try to win over these “loose” votes. Moreover DK didn’t initiate any hostile action against MSZP. And finally, there are very few more effective, leader quality politicians like GyF on the dem side – Karácsonyi is one of them. Good choice, although Péter Balázs wasn’t bad either.


Just watched GyF’s interview at HirTV Egyenesen, he’s further down on my list (again). Can’t remember having watched a ‘democratic’ Hungarian politician, who’s only interested in his own EGO and just playing around with the future of other people.
When I started following HU matters 1.5 year ago (after a pause of more than 5 years), I was first surprised he was still in the political arena.
And let me make clear I didn’t have anything against him, but these last 18 months with me he didn’t score any points, contrary becoming more and more distrustful, and sliding down down down my sympathy list. Even with a magic trick out of his hat by presenting the rumored bank-account paper, for me he’ll never be able to regain what he lost since 2016.September.


Same with my opinion about Gyurcsàny:
– it started with his silly accusations and alleged documents against the Mafia boss
– now it becomes clear to me that he actually does not care so much about Hungary as for himself.

If one really prefers Europe to Orbàn, then he should act accordingly,

The only chance for a change of government is, if the opposition presents itself as ONE UNIT and supports ONE CANDIDATE FOR PM.

Especially the candidate is important. There must be ONE FACE as alternative to the dictator.

As it stands, Gyurcsàny will never support any other wholeheartedly, if it’s not him.

Jean P

Ferenc: GyF “..who’s only interested in his own EGO and just playing around with the future of other people.

You need a pretty large EGO to become a top politician. Just look at Orban who is playing around with the future of all the people.


Jean P:” You need a pretty large EGO to become a top politician.”

That is unfortunately true and the reason why mostly only those people get to the top in politics.

But what is the point in leaving Hungary to the Mafia, when you have no chance at all anyway to become prime minister ever again ?
The same – as mentioned above by Observer and Eva – is true for LMP and Momentum.

Leaving Hungary to a dictator is not politics at all!
It is ignorance!


the really best leaders/politicians didn’t need a pretty large EGO:
Havel, Mandela, Ghandi, to name a few
What’s typical for them is that they didn’t want to be politicians, but because of “following their heart” happened to come into political positions… where they continued what they did before (“follow…”)


OT but maybe important:

The Bavarian CSU has invited both Orbán and Austrian prime minister Kurz to its usual “Start of the new year congress”!
Their coalition partner (though it’s not 100% sure yet) SPD is not amused …
Did you know that in order to become head of the “Christian” and homophobic CSU (every child needs a father and a mother …) you must have produced at least one illegitimite child (Stoiber, Seehofer, soon Soeder …)? 🙂


Re: my earlier comment about possible (but unlikely) split in EPP when OV will try to veto Art.7 against ‘his friends’ in Poland.
Can you imagine OV causing both a split in EPP and a split between CDU and CSU?


CDU and CSU are intertwined and both are afraid of the AfD so I think they’ll somehow manage a compromise – like the did in the past.
Re EPP I just don’t know enough (and I’m obviously no fan).
More important for us Germans is right now the question whether SPD and CDU will really manage the “Great Coalition”!


What I don’t understand (and don’t recommend either) is why the greens are left out of that “Great Coalition”.
If I was in SPD, I would make that a requirement to even start talking with CDU/CSU!!


Ferenc, that would be too complicated and weaken the importance of the conservatives – also the Greens and the CSU are not on speaking terms afaik …


“weaken the importance of the conservatives”
Exactly that’s why SPD should require it!
The ‘Great Coalition’ would be more balanced and ‘greater’!!
Note also the previous option wasn’t blocked by the greens, the liberal FDP stepped out!!


The CDU/CSU probably wouldn’t agree to that “Greater Coalition” – it hurts them already that they are the junior partner in a coalition with the Greens in my home state Baden-Württemberg.
And there are big differences in the refugees question e g – the CSU has local elections next year in Bavaria and is afraid that their conservative voters might switch to the AfD (some already did …). Our Spiegel has a report on this – I’ll read it tomorrow …


Ferenc: “Can you imagine OV causing both a split in EPP and a split between CDU and CSU?’

No, even Seehofer couldn’t cause the split, though he tried desperately in the recent years.
It is high time for CDU to organize themselves as an own party in Bavaria.
If a conservative Bavarian wants to vote for CDU, he currently must vote for right populist CSU.


good point, some “home-work” for Merkel, before she can get rid of the current Bavarian Bunch…


Re: ASZ fines – appeal

Jànos Palotàs, economist, international business and legal advisor, former politician, stated today that the fined political parties should take their cases to court. While the current law has put the ASZ rulings outside the courts’ jurisdiction, they will have however to uphold the basic constitutional provision that all acts of the state should be open to appeal of some kind. The courts will refer the matter to the Consitutional Court, which will have in turn little choice, but to strike down the respective provision concerning the appeal of ASZ rulings.

While this seems legally sound, the regime may change the constitution (Basic Law) if they obtain again a 2/3 supermajority to state that Orban’s will IS the law and stop mucking around with legislation, rule of law, courts and judges who are not listening well enough…


In reply to Alex’s comment:

I also believe that the situation in Hungary (and Poland too!) is kind of hopeless in the short run- at least if you consider only democratic possibilities.
So it probably has to get really bad before people react and make it better.
The EU can’t do very much “against the will of the Hungarian people” using its system of rules.
One alternative I see is Fidesz going really crazy – like snuggling up to the Russians, destroying the economy, leaving the EU etc …
That would maybe make the road to destruction faster – but I’m not so sure, considering other authoritarian governments’ “success” in staying in power, even with their country going down the drain.
People can stand a lot of hardships it seems …
But in the end …
We have a saying in German:
Besser ein Ende mit Schrecken als ein Schrecken ohne Ende – but does this apply here?