To run against Fidesz might be injurious to your health: The case of Péter Márki-Zay

While we await the fallout from the opposition parties’ refusal to pay the fines the State Accounting Office meted out to them, I thought we ought to visit Hódmezővásárhely, a Fidesz city par excellence.

Ever since 1990 Vásárhely, as the locals call their city, has never had a mayor who was not a member of Fidesz. In 1990, at the first municipal election, András Rapcsák, an engineer, became mayor and was reelected in 1994, 1998, and 2002. In December of 2002 he died suddenly, and his young personal secretary, János Lázár (Fidesz), ran in a by-election and won. Lázár remained Vásárhely’s very popular mayor until 2012, when Viktor Orbán recruited him to be his chief-of-staff. In 2012 one of the deputy mayors, István Almási (Fidesz), ran and won with 52% of the votes. In 2014 he received strong support from the party and got 61.03% of the votes. Just to give you a sense of the strength of the opposition at the last election, Jobbik’s candidate got 17.11% and MSZP-DK-Együtt, 14.99%.

It was under these circumstances that a political novice, Péter Márki-Zay, decided to try his luck as an independent candidate. Márki-Zay is a conservative man with strong ties to the Catholic Church. He and his wife Felicia have seven children, which by itself is remarkable in a country of small families. The other remarkable thing about them is that they spent five years in Canada and the United States and returned to Hungary only in 2009. The apparent reason for their return was their patriotism; they wanted their children to receive a Hungarian education.

I don’t know when Márki-Zay discovered that he may have made a mistake, but shortly after his arrival in Hungary he made some critical observations, according to an article Délmagyar wrote about the family. How is it possible that, despite the international economic crisis, he sees more BMWs in Hungary than in the United States? He told the journalist that “Americans don’t expect help from above. They are not more talented than Hungarians, but their outlook on life is different.” He was impressed with the American habit of doing volunteer work, and he and his wife were planning to do the same in Vásárhely.

The five years in North America most likely contributed to his dissatisfaction with the state of affairs in Vásárhely. And so, after the unexpected death of Mayor István Almási in November 2017, he decided to enter the race against the Fidesz candidate, Zoltán Hegedűs.

Péter Mári-Zay / Source: Magyar Nemzet / Photo: Béla Nagy

On December 29 Vásárhely24, the internet news site of the municipality, reported that Márki-Zay will be the common candidate of Jobbik and MSZP, which turned out to be untrue. The candidate thinks that the fake news was concocted in order to discredit him. It looks as if the very idea of possible united front against the Fidesz candidate in Vásárhely worried the government party, which quickly moved into action against the candidate.

Two days after he announced his candidacy, he was informed that the company for which he has been working for years no longer has any need for him. The municipality placed four or five cameras along the street where he lives, which the city claimed has nothing to do with Márki-Zay, but the timing is suspicious. As an answer to the fierce attack on the independent candidate, all opposition parties decided to support the disillusioned former Fidesz voter who is convinced that “Orbán’s regime is already a failure in the moral sense.” What he sees in Hungary is no longer democracy.

The local Fidesz leadership moved into high gear. Katalin Havasi, the local party chairman, rang the alarm bell and asked “God to save the city from a mayor who is being supported by Gyula Molnár and Ferenc Gyurcsány, people who wanted to close the hospital in Hódmezővásárhely.” The city needs a mayor “who is being supported by Viktor Orbán and who will defend the hospital.” On his Facebook page Márki-Zay expressed his puzzlement over being seen as a threat to the hospital. Why the hospital? Perhaps if he had been in Hungary in 2007 he wouldn’t be so surprised. In that year Mayor János Lázár created total panic over the death of an old drunkard, well-known in the hospital, who died while being transported from one hospital to another. Lázár blamed the healthcare reforms introduced by the Gyurcsány government for the man’s death.

It seems that the Fidesz locals asked János Lázár to take an active part in the campaign. Lázár still lives in Hódmezővásárhely and commutes daily to Budapest. Those close to the scene claim that nothing happens in the city without Viktor Orbán’s chief-of-staff knowing about it. So, János Lázár showed up and offered to work for Zoltán Hegedűs’s campaign. He brought along some promises too. He told residents that the government is planning a very large “industrial program” and that Vásárhely will be one of the beneficiaries.

Meanwhile both Magyar Nemzet and Index sent reporters to the city, hoping to learn more about the mood in Vásárhely. The former reported total apathy. The few people who were willing to talk would vote for the Fidesz candidate, but they were less than happy with the current situation. As one woman said, she was only hoping that “things will not become worse.” People complained about the lack of job opportunities, but they added that without a Fidesz mayor very little money would come from Budapest. Index also found mostly Fidesz supporters, including a man who spoke glowingly about all the development in the city but at the end admitted that he is planning to leave his job that pays 100,000 Ft. and settle in Germany to wash dishes for 1,200 euros. He also added that he had heard Márki-Zay speak, “and he said a few good things.” The reporter found one person who admitted that she doesn’t know for whom she will vote and had a fairly critical view of Fidesz’s migrant policy, complaining about 1,200 refugees but allowing 20,000 Arabs, Chinese, and Russians.

The pro-Fidesz papers, from Origo to Magyar Idők and Pest Srácok, continue their smear campaign against Márki-Zay, calling the candidate a liar with a persecution complex. Unfortunately, we are not dealing with a psychological disorder. Márki-Zay is not alone in reporting abuse because of his political activities. Just the other day a Fidesz local representative in Budapest’s District XV shared the travails she underwent because she didn’t follow the political orders from above to the letter. That’s not a pretty story either.

And the latest is that Momentum Chairman András Fekete-Győr’s father lost his job as executive director of the National Deposit Insurance Fund of Hungary. He was deputy director between 1993 and 2010, when he was appointed executive director for five years. Two years ago his appointment was renewed for another five years — that is, until 2020, when he reaches retirement age.

This is how life goes in Hungary for those who don’t walk in lockstep with Viktor Orbán.

January 9, 2018
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Jean P
Guest

Sippehaft was in Nazi Germany the term for the principle of making a person’s family responsible for the person’s deeds. If you defied Hitler your family got exterminated.

What we see now in Hungary is Sippenhaft-light. The road to Sippenhaft-classic is open.

exTor
Guest

comment image

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sippenhaft

There’s a short Wikiarticle on Sippenhaft, also known as Sippenhaftung. Russian and Israeli governments continue to utilize this principle.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Guest

Just one question:
Is János Lázár aka Laser Johnny still using his Audi racing car with the anti-speed-laser equipment to travel to Bp?
He used to produce “Angst and Schrecken” by driving like a madman…
PS:
Interesting stuff like that is still available from the now defunct poltics.hu via the internet wayback machine:
https://web.archive.org/web/20110817045236/http://www.politics.hu/20110217/fidesz-caucus-leader-not-caught-with-headless-corpse-of-underage-male-prostitute-in-stolen-car/
Enjoy!

dos929
Guest
Where should I start? There are so many hundreds (if not thousands…) of outrages and intolerable, inhuman, immoral and wicked, etc… regulations, laws and practices were and still made by the regime that it is impossible to keep up with… I must return to the very simple comparison to Orwell’s “1984”… Just as there is no sense of finding any logic (other than the logic of tyranny) in the world of Orwell’s “1984”, there is no sense in trying to find logic in the deeds of the Orban-regime, except the logic of common criminals… Hungary under this regime became torn trousers that has been patched and repaired hundreds of times and it became everything but a pair of pants. The only remedy would be to get a new pair of pants, as no amount of repair work or added material would make it longer a useful garment… At the same time, all the talk and arguments for and against about the various aspects of the Orban-regime’s conduct and about the writhing of the opposition parties is useless. Everything that is being done by all is merely ‘playing around’ with the fringes of the central problem of the regime’s totalitarian existence.… Read more »
Ferenc
Guest

OT – Ahmed H
Today continues the trial of Ahmed H. In court they’ll be watching the 4-hr official police video of events at the Roszke border on 2015.Sep.16.
In 1 hr about 25 min. of video is covered, so full day expected.
Several Tweeters in the court room:
https://twitter.com/eda_seyhan
https://twitter.com/demeteraaron
https://twitter.com/freetheroszke11

The most DISGUSTING found today (but posted already two days ago):
HU government made on Jan.08 a special album on their facebook account, titled “Ahmed H. a terrorist”
https://twitter.com/zecsaky/status/950412321150701568

Ferenc
Guest

Just found a HirTV report from 2017.Jul about Ahmed H, incl.exclusive interview in prison, good to having heard Ahmed himself speak about his mindboggling case:

Marty
Guest
The EU had the following wise words to say about banning Alexander Navalny from entering the Russian presidential race in 2018. The decision to ban him “casts a serious doubt on political pluralism in Russia and the prospect of democratic elections next year”. Yes, it casts a serious doubt. Right. Since when is Russia a democracy in any sense of the word, for chrissakes? Now, the same thing is true for Hungary. Hungary is not a democracy and no democratic elections can be held in Hungary in 2018. It is at maximum a simulacrum of democracy but foreign observers almost uniformly pretend it is a democracy. Parties in Hungary are being fined by totally illegitimate and discriminatory ways (the ruling party Fidesz is exempted and not investigated for anything) and their money are either taken away now or they will have to litigate and live in fear that the fines will be enforced (their meager real estate shut down etc.). Candidates for opposition parties are targeted like Márky-Zay. There is a good article on 444.hu just today about the transformation of the very last previously more or less pro-leftist television channel ATV into yet another pro-Fidesz media. And so on.… Read more »
Guest

Marty now you’re talking! I totally agree with you re the state of democracy in Hung.ary and Russia.
And the good news:
You’ve proved now that you’re not a kind of Fidesz troll … 🙂

PS and not totally OT:
Seems that Orbán is in Berlin today talking aboutEuropean identity, Christian roots, strong EU strong nation states … (the usual bla bla …) at an Axel Springer conference. Springer was the leading “conservative” in West Germany, in reality a right winger, almost fascist with his BILD and WELT newspapers.

Ferenc
Guest

Really wolfi?
What was the main point above? EU is hopeless…
What was clarified with proof about ‘HU democracy’? Nothing…
Until real proof otherwise I keep considering ‘m’s words ‘double tongue’

PS: Once upon a time (in 2014) Axel Springer joined with Ringier, therefore in Hungary they ‘had to sell’ regional papers and Nepszabadsag to a ‘fairy campany’ (MediaWorks, strohmann: Pecina), and they lived NOT happily ever after…

Guest

Ferenc, just take this:
Hungary is not a democracy and no democratic elections can be held in Hungary in 2018. It is at maximum a simulacrum of democracy
Straight from the horse’s mouth … 🙂
The rest is irrelevant.

Marty
Guest

I think it’s quite funny that the EU still “worries” about Russia “may not be supporting a pluralistic political system”, decades after Russia clearly maintaining an all-encompassing – Masha Gessen calls it totalitarian – political system. This kind of cravenness must be pointed out.

Hungary is not a democracy (the above story with Marki-Zay is but one the countless number of problems) and we must remind ourselves that it is not – but if the EU was so feeble with Russia I’m sure it will rubberstamp whatever Orban arranges in April.

The Brussels bureaucrats will rubberstamp everything, at most they will issue some szóbeli feketepont (a verbal version of a black blob which is issued in first grade if the child misbehaves in school).

Member

The EU is not feeble with Russia, it has imposed sanctions that have cost it €100bn! (See http://www.newsweek.com/russiarussian-sanctionseueuropean-unioneuropean-economiessanctionseu-sanctions-603431)

And in fact it is Orbán who has voted to agree with the EU on this matter, not the other way around. So you are quite wrong when you say that the EU is weak on Russia.

Marty
Guest

And London or Luxembourg or Vienna or Dublin or Valletta etc. are busy laundering money for Russian oligarchs as well as for Hungarian ones.

I agree that it’s a better state of affairs to have the sanctions than not to have them but otherwise the show must go on – eg. Brussels allowing Hungarians to tie themselves to Russia forever via Paks 2 just because Orban promised some business to Siemens or GE and so on. Meanwhile Russia is busy carrying out its active measures everywhere.

The sanctions are not commensurate with Russia’s commitment to undermine the EU. In any case the delusional, inane diplomatic treatment of the “shortcomings of the Russian political system” is symptomatic of the EU’s approach to its proclaimed political principles.

Guest

Following what shoopy wrote.
Do you think the EU should declare war om Russia to show tits displeasure?

petofi
Guest

@ wolfi7777

Don’t be crude.
One must use similar measures to aggravate and irritate. One cannot just let Russia have its way.

Thankfully, when the libentraum forces will be strong enough in China, the Russians will have plenty to worry about in times to come.

petofi
Guest

@ Marty

Masha Gessen?

A ‘harsh’ Putin critic living and operating in Moscow?

One must learn to ask pertinent questions. In Gessen’s case, if she did not have Putin’s approval, she would’ve been piranha-feed a long time ago.

A while back I was considering buying Kaspersky anti-virus. I looked up the company: it’s located in Moscow. Now, if someone is making billions in the West, would he continue to be located in Moscow? Ahem.

And, sure enough, some months ago, the American government has outlawed the used of Kaspersky on government machines…

Democracy in Russia?
Whatever opposition exists are only various degrees of KGB operations.

Marty
Guest
Petofi, I am quite familiar with Gessen’s activities and I can assure you that she is absolutely independent. She is by the way not a die-hard Putin-antagonist, she doesn’t want to sell herself as a sworn enemy like Bill Browder for example. (That said she wrote a very good Putin biography which hardly makes you symphatize with Putin to say the least). She is an extremely insightful, completely bicultural observer (not unlike Eva), whose judgment I tend to trust. Given her background she has important things to say about Trump as well. She was criticized (by perhaps Ben Judah if I remember correctly) that while living in Russia a few years back she accepted the editorial position at a Russian magazine whose publication must have been sanctioned by the Kremlin and as far as I know she later regretted working there. But I really recommend her newest book (The future is history) which is eminently readable and true – although I think the economic conditions (their influence on the eventual historical trajectory) don’t get enough emphasis. Gessen argues, based on other theorists, that Russia is now a totalitarian state, btw I think China is also that. I was personally persuaded… Read more »
petofi
Guest

Well, I’m no Gessen-o-phile but if you were doing Vladimir dirt, I wouldn’t sell you any life insurance whether you lived in Moscow or Washington. (Come to think of it, when they offed Litvinenko in London, I do believe they cashed in a Russian agent’s chips in Washington, too, just so people would get an idea of Moscow’s reach…)

Istvan
Guest
Dos929 and Marty both look at the EU and its dynamics with Hungary coming away with a level of disgust, it is well merited. There are probably as many delusions about the EU floating around in the minds of many younger University educated Central Europeans and some older ones too as can be imagined. Overwhelmingly the EU is as Marty has correctly noted is an economic entity with trade as its founding objective and Juncker is the perfect politician to be at its helm, a man all about creating a tax haven niches within the bureaucratic entanglement of EU regulations. Because the evolution of US politics operates at hyper speed we can see the evolution of tax evasion for the most wealthy of Americans in the downfall of Steve Bannon in the last few weeks. Once he admitted to a more or less honest assessment of Trump and attempted to move his populist neo-fascist agenda forward around Trump the wealthy right wing in America cut him off at the knees. They got their massive tax cut and are moving forward with a targeted attack on the social entitlements many white rural Trump supporters actually need to survive (see https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-divide-between-americas-prosperous-cities-and-struggling-small-townsin-20-charts-1514543401 ).… Read more »
1936
Guest

Not to be the victim of active measures, study them.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Active_measures
Know your enemy.

wrfree
Guest

In a way I am not surprised at the ‘reception’ given Mr. Marki-Zay. Unfortunately he has been stamped as a kulfoldi from Canada and the US no less harboring tainted ‘ideas’ regardless of his family’s dreams. Double trouble. Apparently a danger to his community and the one at large. Better to squash him good before he might pick up steam and effect a little change.

Will always remember my grandfather’s comment as I started to perhaps engage in ‘political’ talk in the age of Kadar as kiraly. With a wave of his hand and having it bouncing lower and lower he said , ‘Ne beszelj’. I understood quickly. It was a nice way of telling me to keep my mouth shut.

Same old same old in a small country of Europe that has become a laughing stock nowadays of democracy. Euro democratic states should immediately stop putting themselves on by the peek-a-boo political show going on. It’s unbecoming.

Member

OT from this thread, but related to the one in August about the AltRight John Morgan and Daniel Friberg, whom Carol Schaeffer wrote an article about in Caravan Magazine how the White Supremacy movement links up with the Hindu-nationalists:
http://www.caravanmagazine.in/reportage/unholy-alliance-india-white-supremacy
Alt-Reich
The unholy alliance between India and the new global wave of white supremacy
By Carol Schaeffer | 1 January 2018

On another occasion, Morgan has said, Arktos coordinated a meeting between BJP officials and members of the far-right, anti-immigrant Hungarian party Jobbík. Friberg claims to have conducted over a hundred meetings with influential figures in India, including politicians, religious leaders and publishers.

Aida
Guest

Marki-Zay is a strange name. During the dying days of the Nazi Regime in Hungary the mayor of Gyula was one Markizay. He presided over the withdrawal of milk rations from the local children who whilst baptised had a Jew as one parent. By some luck and due to the generous activities of Bishop, baron Vilmos Apor from Gyula, later Gyor, these children were not deported. The Bishop is rightly remembered and much respected.

Why the strange spelling? The history of the mayor? Any insights?

Guest

OT but relevant – just out:
A US Senate report on Russia’s activities in Europe:
https://www.foreign.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Cardin%20Russia%20Report%20Embargoed%20Committee%20Print.pdf
Putin’s asymmetric assault on democracy in Russia and Europe: implications for US National Security
An excerpt:
Given Orban’s positive orientation towards Moscow, his government has taken no discernable steps to stop or even discourage Russian malign influence, and appears to applaud the anti-EU, anti-U.S., and anti-migrant Russian propaganda because it aligns with the themes that Orban promotes.
200 pages from Olympic cheating and treatment of LGBT people to cybercrime…
Thanks to politics.hu on twitter and Andrew Byrne!

petofi
Guest

” …that Orban promotes…”

Orban does what the Boss wants.
Would it be a surprise that the Hungarian services are rife with KGB-ers?

It was not very long ago that a high-up KGB man was living in Felcsut.
Must’ve been the waters…

wrfree
Guest

Re: ‘…Orban’s positive orientation to Moscow…’

Arguably Magyarorszag can be considered a doppelganger of Russia in many respects when it comes to egregiously limiting rights and freedoms. And considering the disarray in the opposition it just might make some sense to pull two things out of the Russian bag… Glasnost and Perestroika and make it …Magyar style. It did its job once before. One dictator is still raging about it. 😎