Finally there’s a good English language video, courtesy of BBC, that clearly summarizes recent Hungarian events. If you care about the topic I urge you to watch it!
To my Hungarian friends and family: I’m just hopeful that more publicity and shared knowledge outside Hungary can only lead to more attention and eventually solutions for Hungarians.
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In the meantime the latest Sonda Ipsos national survey is just out:
Fidesz: 16% ↓ (right-wing current government party)
MSZP: 11% – (Socialists)
Jobbik: 8% ↓ (ultra-right)
LMP: 4% ↑ (new party, most commonly called the H. Greens)
DK: 2% –
no party preference given (!!!): 57% ↑
those who think the country is going in the wrong direction: 84%
Score card for the government: 19/100
Score card for the opposition: 19/100
Perhaps the biggest question is how to gain the support of the 57% and what will happen next in this complete vacuum of legitimacy?
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Update: currently the IMF is in negotiations with the Hungarian government for an urgent injection of loans without which Hungary might be bankrupt very soon. The basic conditions from the IMF is that Hungary ‘resolves’ its outstanding bank-related issues with the European Union. What democratic pressure cannot achieve, financial pressure can! I’m not hoping for a lot, the Hungarian govt is playing hardball, even at this point, at least to its national audience. Yet, some elementary changes will have to occur that can only push the govt’s anti-democratic stance back a few notches. Unfortunately the loans will come with strict conditions and guess who is going to pay the prices for those? The Hungarian people. So I have mixed emotions: relieved that finally there’s a mechanism to make the Hungarian govt change some of its position, but sad that for all this eventually the Hungarian people will have to pay, and pay for decades to come.
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Paul Krugman in the NYTimes explores beautifully how and why Fidesz’s intentions and use of the Parliament differs from that of other EU governments despite its arguments that it is acting in accordance with other democracies.
There’s a lot more in his writing here in Krugman’s ‘The conscience of a liberal’. But let me quote a bit from him:
“So why, then, did the Hungarian government adopt this new constitution? It is not because the public demanded it. It is not because the new constitution replaced a communist constitution. It is not because the religious beliefs of the public urged it. And it is not because it is within the European mainstream.
The Fidesz government, facing ever-sharper criticism from abroad and from within its own public, insists that Hungary is simply misunderstood. And it repeats that it had a popular mandate, that it is ending communism, that it respects the religious sensibility of Hungarians and that it is well within the European mainstream.
But some of us still live in the reality-based community, where it is normal to work forward from evidence to conclusions rather than the other way around. When one looks at the Hungarian government’s explanations for why this new constitution was necessary, none hold up under scrutiny.
Yes, the Hungarian government is misunderstood – by itself. It misunderstands its own position in the world and with the citizens of Hungary. “