Whoever had hoped that the two documents of the Authority for the Protection of the Constitution (APC) would shed light on the as-yet-unexplained circumstances surrounding the publication of the so-called Balatonőszöd “lies” speech must be sorely disappointed. The documents, which the authority published in February, contain basically nothing new.
Although riddled with gaps, one of the documents indicates that the theory long defended by the right is true – that is, ex-prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsány (2004-2009) was personally involved in the publication of the speech. Such documents are thus a real gift to the sitting government of PM Viktor Orbán.
The timing of their publication does throw up some questions, given that it occurs so soon before the 6 April election. It’s obvious enough that Gyurcsány and the Összefogás alliance, of which his Democratic Coalition is part, will suffer the greatest political damage from it.
In one document we can read about someone with the alias “Guevara”. Undoubtedly this is the quasi-criminal Eduardo Rózsa-Flores (born 1960, died 2009), who lived in Hungary for some time before being killed during unrest in Bolivia. According to the document, he knew the man who had a hand in the publication.
Rózsa-Flores is said to have revealed to the intelligence authorities that an MSZP politician was behind the publication. Besides this other Socialist politician, Gyurcsány supposedly also knew. Gyurcsány and his associate finally agreed to bring the speech to light through the intermediary of Fidesz, which was then in opposition. Their apparent calculation: Fidesz would surely stir up a tremendous fuss in the media, which would distract attention from the economic problems of the country.
Some background: the “Őszöd speech” was leaked to seven media outlets on 17 September 2006. In it Gyurcsány admits to members of the governing MSZP that he lied to voters for years concerning the actual state of the national economy.
Although in Hungary it is still known as the “lies speech”, the Őszöd speech was basically an appeal to MSZP politicians to finally be upfront with voters instead of misleading them “morning, evening and night”. All the same, its publication caused a cry of indignation across the whole country. What followed is well known: the storming of the television station on Szabadság tér and then week-long riots and unrest, which reached their bloody climax on the national holiday of 23 October 2006.
The Őszöd speech led to the downfall of Gyurcsány and the MSZP, and triggered the unparalleled rise of Viktor Orbán and Fidesz, which culminated in the two-thirds majority they secured in the 2010 parliamentary election.
While the publication of the documents by the APC has the government camp cheering to high heaven, the opposition is shrugging it off as absurd, including Ferenc Gyurcsány himself.