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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Together - Együtt 2014

Good news - Bad news. I'm afraid mostly bad news today. The co-operation platform launched the 23rd October (see my post ) was never promised to have an easy way. Its founder Gordon Bajnai, being an ex-minister in the Gyurcsány-government, prime minister thereafter, was exposed to "character murder" pinpointing a past business failure which harmed a number of small entrepreneurs who sold to the company - the links of Bajnai to the company then are up for discussion but he won a number of lawsuits on the topic which cleared him personally - that the comp,any was due to pay indemnities is no surprise as no one doubts it owed money but bankruptcy is the situation where you cannot pay and limited liability companies are invented to stop the failure of a business to cripple its owners. The panic caused among the ruling party (formally parties) is the good news, and also that the movement achieved the political sympathy rating which in votes would be needed to get into parliament (5%) within days is the good news. Its manifesto was signed by a number of personalities who have credibility (including the founder of the "Danube circle" or Duna-kör, which was one of the cores of the resistance during communism, taking up the symbolic case of the Bős-Nagymaros dam. However, one can hear voices that the signatories are "people of the bad socialist regime" - not the one before 1990 but the "pasteightyears" as FIDESZ likes to condemn. Here the bad news starts. But there are only two people among the signatories who were politicians and both were in the back lines, in particular during the Gyurcsány-government, actually both tied to the smaller partner, the liberal SzDSz. Some days after the announcement of the start of the movement as an association, FIDESZ changed the draft election law under discussion (well, this was an exaggeration) in Parliament to forbid for associations to participate in the elections. This is a sign of their panic, referred to above. Furthermore, the election campaign will be shortened and the media available for election advertisements limited to the public service media (i.e. commercial tv which is watched really is excluded) and to open air posters (in which area FIDESZ-friendly enterprises have a dominant position). Now this can be regarded already a significant limitation of citizens' rights in my opinion. A package of more than 200 modification proposals was submitted by one member of the FIDESZ and half a day was given to the MPs to read, discuss and agree in the factions. The debate was very short and - as is usual for critical issues - scheduled for late night. That's why I called the term "discussed" an exaggeration. Of course private individuals or associations can submit private advertisements which have nothing to do with the elections (but expect a scrutiny by friendly attorneys and courts - here setting the retirement age for judges will serve well). So did a pseudo-civil forum start an ad on buses (look at the picture) (of the Budapest Transport Company which is also managed by political appointees) depicting Bajnai and Gyurcsány together, with the text "they ruined the country together" etc. Some facts about the association: its president, who also organised the pro-government "Peace march" also mentioned in my 23rd October article, is also chairman of the committee distributing the government funds for civil associations (NGO's) and the association received government subsidies this year. So is this election advertising? And finally, the congress of LMP (Politics can be different), the anti-globalist green and human-rights-oriented party, which came from nowhere into Parliament (a nice feat in the Hungarian system) in 2010, refused to co-operate with the movement of Bajnai. The decision was more diplomatic, of course: the congress empowered the leaders to start talks about anything except joining. The also new 4K! (fourth republic - the present one is called the third) welcomed the decision which they took before. This formation is brand new, was created by secession from Milla ("a million for the freedom of Hungarian press", a movement which started on Facebook, achieved about a hundred thousand likes but staged several successful demonstrations - one of these was the 23rd October referred to above where Bajnai announced starting the movement Együtt 2014 (Together 2014, latter being the year of the next elections). Its leader said that they want to resemble most the Scandinavian social democrats, thus they also have a left-wing programme. So two new formations refused co-operation. 4K! could be considered irrelevant (their reaction to the announcement of president Barroso on a federal Europe simply was that they also require the harmonisation of social systems - in a tone as if they were an important political player in a powerful member state and also ignoring that this is to some extent already the case. The "loss" of LMP is also more a loss of image for the new movement as this step may cost LMP more voters than the new movement. The head of the parliamentary faction and his deputy immediately resigned, calling the decision irresponsible and unrealistic both for the party and for the country. Their announcement was greeted with loud "hurray"-s and applause probably by the 77 who voted against the decision (97 voted for). The diplomatic formulation of the decision leaves a small opening to return but already called disappointing comments from some blogs and commenters on websites and also on Facebook.

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