Portfolio blogger

Monday, May 28, 2012

Breaking news: New Hungarian Liberal Civic Party in the making!

OK, I was at least as bombastic as a tabloid but still: the first sentences of a programme have been published and another blog pőublished a similar call . This is not the first expression of desire but till now everybody just dreamt of it - and expected others to come up- but now someone at least was undertaking an initiative. In a normal environment, you could ask, what is a party initiative on a blog worth? In Hungary, however, the most politically active who do not belong to the mainstream parties are present in the blogosphere or on Facebook. Well, Orbán, the prime minister claimed in the European Parliament that they won the 2010 elections on the Internet and on Facebook. If this is (rightly) not convincing, think about the "Milla" who organised the most successful opposition demonstrations since FIDESZ is in government. This organisation gave birth to the party "Fourth Republic" . I am afraid that some explanation is due. The first republic was the one after the first World War, the second after the second, both were followed by communist rule. The third republic counts its days from since the system change, 1990. So the party wants to establish the fourth one, as the resources of the third one are depleted and there is imminent danger that a Putinist system will replace it. What are the chances of a liberal civic party? Can it gain sufficient votes? Is "civic" bourgeois or citoyen (the two different meaning of the Hungarian word "polgári" which I translated to civic? "Civic" is there in the name of FIDESZ, the now ruling party. They understand it (if at all) as supporting their clientèle, mainly the wealthy among them, by government interventionism (and even by unlawful methods which are justified by retroactive legislation or formalistic application and using gaps in the law). Apart from their support for the rich, they are not right wing, they practice social demagogy and state interventionism in everything including sexual morale, education, economy, culture... Jobbik is a nationalist populist party who wants to exit the EU and re-instate national ownership. The border on the extreme left in their economic programme (which is by far not coherent). LMP is an antiglobalistic green party. MSzP has implemented neo-liberal policies against its will and is widely seen as the party of people who only serve their own good. The Democratic Coalition of ex-prime minister Gyurcsány regards itself as a leftist liberal but also sees that it has a Socialist past and that it can only gain support by maintaining left-wing rethoric. The liberals and the conservative (were they?) MDF disappeared among scandals. This is a separate story in itself but not worth mentioning at the moment. So what are the chances? Right-wing in Hungary always meant nationalism. There is no one who can address the national questions in a way that would be European, progressive and realistic and at the same time appealing emotionally. Of course real liberal, pro-enterprise policies are missing and would appeal to a lot of "opinion-leaders" but would have a slim support in the countryside. Finally, the election system is such that one strong alliance could only defeat FIDESZ. The individual election constituencies are single-round, first-past-the-post and no validity limit is set. So if the 54% who cannot chose a party now do not vote, and there are six parties (which is realistic now), 9% is enough to win a seat. And the winner in the individual constituencies wins additional seats on the lists. So if a party wins the individual seats (50%) and some places on the lists, it can already even have 2/3 but surely a majority. Questions abound....

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