electorate. Yes, I think you could describe the current state in
Hungary as a moral crisis. And Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány bears
considerable responsibility for that. In his notorious Balaton?szöd
speech he admitted that his first government had duped the people, and
during this period had only given the appearance of governing. The PM
and the Socialists proved that they will use any means to stay in
government and keep opposition leader Viktor Orbán out of power.
as evidence of truthfulness. Many Hungarians see it differently. In the
Prime Minister they see a politician who has lied to them for years.
Gyurcsány has frivolously ruined a great political chance. He brought
the Socialists back from their slump and led them to victory in the
2006 general elections. That meant his position was secured. But
instead of telling voters the plain truth, he retreated with his party
to Balaton?szöd, where he gave that much-quoted speech at a closed
meeting. I imagine it was his political opponents within the MSZP who
leaked his speech to the opposition and the media. Balaton?szöd now is
not only a symbol of dishonesty. In another context Balaton?szöd also
stands for the disputed and opaque privatisations at the start of the
‘90s. Through the contacts which he made during the time of Communism,
Gyurcsány acquired a public villa in Balaton?szöd under conditions that
could not have been more favourable. The purchase of the villa still
hasn’t been clarified. It’s sad but true: in this case the decisive
factor was not the personal achievement of the Prime Minister, but his
dubious contacts. Deep splits have formed within the MSZP and within
the governing coalition. The Socialists now regard Gyurcsány more as a
millstone round their necks than as a politician with a future. The
Prime Minister also no longer represents a guarantee that the reforms
will be implemented. On top of everything, the centre
right-conservative opposition has placed him in moral quarantine. Given
this state of affairs, Gyurcsány will have a hard time of it
increasingly eager to carve out its own identity. As a result the
liberals will not back down much on their multi-insurer healthcare
model. Large sections of the MSZP are also showing dissatisfaction with
many government decisions. The MSZP faction is also increasingly unruly
towards the government. In this context it is possible to observe an
identity crisis inside the MSZP. The neo-liberal and market-oriented
politics of the government is a thorn in the side of many Socialists.
The fact that numerous Socialist members lost their posts and
consequently their influence in local government elections last year
could also lead to tensions within the MSZP. The growing camp of
dissatisfied MSZP members could sooner or later come to the conclusion
that new elections would be better for the party than the path pursued
by Gyurcsány’s government. Early elections are possible.
programme. The Our Future (Jöv?nk) debate document is a good start in
this direction. However, this path needs to be taken further. The
opposition needs to demonstrate that it is capable of governing.
Morally-based criticism of the government cannot by any means replace a
solid programme. The opposition needs to continually make
counter-proposals to those of the government even if they are dismissed
again and again. Fidesz’s massive lead in opinion polls is deceptive.
Voters view the work of the opposition almost as negatively as that of
the government. That also applies to Fidesz party chairman, Orbán.
Although he is currently considerably more popular than Gyurcsány, on
the question of ability to govern he is judged almost exactly the same
way as the Prime Minister. In Hungary today there is a general
disillusionment with politics.