Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 07:32:43 AM EST
...can safely be predicted. (The second round of elections is in 5½ weeks.) The overture: the March 15 commemorations yesterday.
As now traditional, a state celebration has to have partisan attacks and provocateurs. But this time, the players outdid themselves, it turned into a multi-act comedy - you can laugh at some photos and events and words. The above, erm, not too intelligent-looking guys came to jeer at the central celebration at the National Museum.
The older guy on the right and behind the young shouting crazy is a favourite of photographers: a far-right 'dandy', he practically went to every far-right sect's protest since 1989, dressing according to whatever was in - arrowcrossers' uniform [the Arrow-Cross Party was the local ally of the Nazis], skinhead, all-black-clad with iroquis-hair, WWII soldier uniform, and now ancient nomadic Magyar...
Security madness à la Hongroise. You'd think this is the picture of some Bush (or Putin) visit. No, allegedly because of attending ambassadors, these sharpshooters were posted besides the statues on the National Museum's tympanum...
If the rent-a-crowds and police measures weren't silly enough, there were the speeches themselves. Opposition PM-hopeful Viktor Orbán (below) declared that the Republic is but a cloth on the body of the Nation - dear Viktor, you may wish to change clothes, but later someone may point out that the Emperor is naked...
PM Ferenc Gyurcsány's reply was: "The Republic R us!" And the State, too... Liberal Budapest major (since 1990) Gábor Demszky declared that in the April elections, the outcome again depends on Budapesters - as if there wasn't enough capital-countryside conflict...
Fitting finish for the day: the traditional state awards handover ceremony.
By law the recipients are 'proposed' by the PM but awarded & handed over by the (ceremonial) President; then he, the PM, and the head of Parliament shake hands with the awardee. This year, for some obscure reason, against the objections of their liberal coalition partners and the President, the (Socialist) PM's picks included two guys who held high posts during the dictatorship in the eighties: a former National Bank Vice-President and a former deputy PM. So how did the ceremony go?
- Round one: the former bank Vice-President won't get a handshake from the President:
- Round two: after a short hesitation, the former deputy PM (who by all means had the more incriminating past) does get a handshake from the President.
- Round three: the 1990-1994 head of Parliament (of the now small conservative MDF party), also an awardee, 'overlooks' the PM between shaking hands with the President and the current incumbent of his former post...
(Photos from e-zine Index.hu and from daily Népszabadság)
What you find in my older posts on Hungarian politics (oldest first):
- After a bizarre press vs. politicians court case, an introduction of parties & history since 1989.
- The workings of non-issue-based politics: the tragicomic double referendum on barring hospital privatisations and giving neighbouring countries' ethnic Hungarians double citizenship.
- Bush and Hungary: why the nominal centre-left (now governing) is pro-Bush and the nominal centre-right opposition anti-Bush.
- Campaign season opens - half a year early.
- Further in the campaign, October polls and nonsensical rhetoric (how can you give preferential treatment to both the elites and the poor?)
- The juiciest of the many storm-in-the-bathtub scandals: Mata Hari in Budapest
- A foray into history (not much to do with recent Hungarian politics, but some further perspective for the debate on Turkey's accession to the EU).
- European Dream: where would Hungarians like to live?
- Hungarian Orange (no relation to the Ukrainian version): on a clever opposition poster campaign and its contrast with reality.
- On another poster campaign by the same party - how to outsource negative campaign, and how it can be made to backfire.
- Of Socialists and Presidents.
- On the Oscar-winning film director who was The Mephisto Behind Mephisto.
- The Inverted Example of Spinning Jobless Statistics: doing the exact opposite of what the Bushites did.
- Mephisto And Informants Update.
- Non-partisan corruption, meta-corruption.
- Another foray into history: March 15, 1848 revolution.