Monday, 19 December 2011

Meanwhile in Hungary...

...the political clocks go back neatly bridging the gap between 1944 and 1949. From Adam Le Bor in The Economist:

GYÖRGY MATOLCSY, Hungary’s economy minister, wanted a war with the International Monetary Fund, and now he has got one.

Officials from the fund and the European Union have broken off preliminary talks with the Hungarian government over a financial safety net for the country. Why? Because the parliament, where the ruling Fidesz party has a two-thirds majority, has accelerated plans to change the management of the central bank and to expand membership of the monetary council, which sets interest rates....

...Fidesz allies have now been appointed to the presidency, the State Audit Office, the State Prosecutor, the National Media Authority, the new fiscal council and the new National Courts Authority, among others. Officials say that party backgrounds are irrelevant and that office-holders will exercise their mandates independently. Democracy in Hungary, they claim, is safe.

Opposition politicians, international watchdogs, the EU and the United States disagree. They argue that the government's attempt to limit the independence of the central bank near-completes Fidesz's steady undermining of Hungary's formerly independent institutions and its removal of the checks and balances found in most European democracies.

An overwhelming victory at the polls, which Fidesz won last year, does not, say Western officials, give the party a mandate for a long-term (the new appointees will hold office for between nine and 12 years) takeover of legislative and executive functions. Government officials have not explained why it seems that only Fidesz allies can be trusted to exercise their mandates independently....

...Wags in the capital joke that the Hungarian legislative process works as follows. The prime minister has an idea in the morning, Mr Matolcsy announces it as policy in the afternoon, by the end of the week Mr Lázár is piloting it through parliament and it becomes law on Monday. An exaggeration, to be sure, but not by much.

The bold type is mine. My poor country of which I had hoped rather better.


Gwil W said...

The Economist link says: Sorry. We are performing essential maintenance and should be back soon.

A favourable omen for your "poor country" perhaps?

Maybe some new president is required. Ever thought of standing, George?

George S said...

Interesting that the three main postures for politicians should be standing, sitting and lying. One should not forget grovelling as an optional extra.

Paul Hellyer said...

Part of the Fidesz mythology is that it won an overwhelming victory at the polls in the 2010 election. I think it is important to challenge this view. If you take a closer look at the actual voting in 2010, a slightly different story emerges. Combining rounds one and two of the election, Fidesz received 52.73% of those that actually voted. The turnout in the first round was 64.36%, and 46.52% in the second. What this means is the less than half of the total number of available voters, voted for FIDESZ. Put another way, the majority of the total electorate did not support Fidesz in the 2010 election. The majority either voted for other parties, or did not vote at all.

Of course I understand the actual result was an overwhelming number of seats in Parliament for Fidesz, but I would dispute the notion that the 2010 election was a 'revolution' as Orbán likes to claim. It does not, in my view, count as a mandate for the radical changes currently being foisted upon Hungary.

[See,_2010 for the complete analysis of the 2010 election.]