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Hungarian Elections 2nd Round (+RESULTS, comment)

by DoDo Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 06:43:47 AM EST

In 110 out of 176 single-seat election districts, decision was left for today, after the governing (nominally) centre-left MSzP-SzDSz coalition won a majority of both list votes and the other 66 single seats two weeks ago. (For more detail, read my post-first-round summary.)

First signs are that after a lacklustre campaign unlike four years ago, participation will be significantly lower than in the first-round (unlike four years ago): at 17:30, 57.63% voted (first round at this hour: 61.72%; second round 4 years ago at this hour: 67.87%...) This may indicate no rebound for the right-wing opposition (made up of parties Fidesz & MDF).

In updates below the fold: predictions, provisional final result, and now a short analysis and a political map.

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(Seat distribution screen-captured from Hiradó)

From the diaries ~ whataboutbob

Update [2006-4-23 13:6:5 by DoDo]: Two pollsters released estimates. They give 63 resp. 67 to the governing coalition, 45 resp. 41 to the right-populist main opposition party Fidesz, and one each to an independent and the "laughing fourth" small right-wing party MDF. Both results would keep the Socialists under 50% (hence they have to continue their coalition with the (neo)liberals).

If this holds, Fidesz indeed failed to achieve the second-round rebound it did four years ago.

Update [2006-4-23 17:10:31 by DoDo]: The provisional second-round result: participation was 64.36% (in the end, second-highest after 2002, but that was 73.51%), 68 seats for MSzP (Socialists) and their liberal allies SzDSz, 41 for Fidesz, 1 independent. This will result in such a Parliament:

  • MSzP: 190 seats (+12)
  • SzDSz: 20 seats (+/-0)
  • Fidesz: 164 seats (-4)
  • MDF: 11 (-9 [+2 relative to remains after post-2002 splits])
  • independent: 1 (+1 [-10])

(The final result, with votes cast at foreign embassies counted, comes only in a week - the race was close enough in 11 districts for a theoretically possible swing - 6 provisionally MSzP, 5 Fidesz -, but that won't affect the government majority.)

While the campaign was lacklustre, it was by no means not vicious and ugly. Especially the right-wing infighting, in particular Fidesz-inspired personal attacks against the leader of MDF.

Update [2006-4-24 5:7:36 by DoDo]: Short analysis:

I have said earlier that politics here aren't issue-based, yet it surprised even me just how issue-free these elections were. It was right-populist Fidesz that at least talked of real issues like the record budget deficit - but that embedded in a totally crazy bundle of tax-cutting supply-sider, hyper-socialistic, national-syndicalist and budget-prudence election promises.

In the end, as shown by a reduced youth vote for Fidesz, the salvo in the foot I wrote about (the anti-youth-culture tirades of a former Christian Democrat whom Fidesz made deputy-PM-candidate) seems to have been the deciding factor. But, in retrospect, it is more surprising that this and other scandals had only a 1-2% effect. Hearing/reading reactions and looking at polls, the bulk of the voters must have decided on the basis of longer-running personal hates and fears (Fidesz voters against PM Gyurcsány & co, MSzP, SzDSz, MDF voters against Fidesz leader Orbán, non-voters against both).

Thus it was no wonder that the Socialists' campaign had demonizing Orbán (which is easily done) as one of the three main elements. The other was to copy Tony Bliar's campaigns in as many details (and with as little inspiration) as possible. Gyurcsány's election-night celebration yesterday was such a fake orchestration I didn't knew whether to laugh or cry.

(Gyurcsány celebrates on a photo from a gallery of web news site [origo] - "ÚJ MAGYARORSZÁG" = New Hungary, à la New Labour)

The third main element of MSzP's campaign was to mirror Fidesz in total base mobilisation. Unlike four years ago, Fidesz was active in poor or modern urban areas, and MSzP in small villages, each with at least a hundred thousand activists. One could celebrate this as parties at last gaining deeper roots in society as they have in the West, only politics being issue-free, it is not a coherent vision and shared worldview that got people into either.

So all in all, I can't be said to be expectant of what is to come...

Political map of Hungary (with the sociology underlying patterns explained)

From the official site, here is the color-coded map of the vote in the 176 single-seat election districts (magnified: capital Budapest) - the 97 in red: win for Socialist (MSzP) candidate, 3 in blue: win for liberal (SzDSz) candidate, 6 in pink: Socialist-liberal joint candidates (4 MSzP, 2 SzDSz guys), 69 in orange: win for Fidesz candidate, 1 in green: the sole independent.

The main bases of MSzP are: impoverished former mining regions (in the Southwest, Northwest near the capital, and Northeast around the northern one of those two red-encircled oranges); the impoverished rural East (the latter two more due to tradition than anything the government has done for them), the capital and its agglomeration (one third of Hungary's population live in it), and half of the other major cities (small election districts).

SzDSz candidates only won where they were joint candidates or MSzP withdrew its candidate for the second round, but still the indication is right that their voters are concentrated in Budapest and its agglomeration.

Fidesz's bases: the also impoverished but more conservative rural areas, mainly South (and North) of the capital, the relatively well-of West-Central (tourist region around Lake Balaton), the well-off 'national-liberal' and anti-communist West (SzDSz lost these voters to Fidesz between 1994 and 1998), the traditionally conservative and most well-off mountainous districts of Budapest, and the small but populous region of Hungary's second-largest city Debrecen (sometimes called the Mekka of Calvinism) in the East.

First results from 88 districts so far; 46 Fidesz, 41 Socialist or liberal, 1 independent in the lead. (Note: small precints finish counting first, villages typically vote right.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Apr 23rd, 2006 at 01:33:02 PM EST
Now results from all 110 districts - they'd give 65 seats for the governing coalition, 44 for Fidesz, 1 independent.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Apr 23rd, 2006 at 01:51:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So, what do you think the future government will look like?
by ccarc on Sun Apr 23rd, 2006 at 03:03:36 PM EST
The same as the outgoing: MSzP (Socialists) + SzDSz (liberals), which surely must look crazy to you Bulgarians (the first having grown out of the reform wing of the Party and the second out of the liberal pro-Democracy, pro-Western dissident movement).

In the re-allocation of ministries, significant battle is expected for two posts: SzDSz wants to get healthcare (with their harebrained hospital privatisation plans, which are rejected by a wide majority of citizens), and MSzP wants to take education (I'm not sure why).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Apr 23rd, 2006 at 05:18:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, it doesn't sound crazier than our own government. Here's one of my earlier comments on it:

It is a three-party coalition led by the Bulgarian Socialist (former Communist) Party. Their partners are the former king's National Movement Simeon II and the party of the Turk minority Movement for Rights and Freedoms. The latter two had been the ruling coalition (with Prime Minister Simeon Saxe Cobour-Gotha--the former king himself) for the last four years. The absurdity of the current coalition, however, comes from history. Soon after they came to power in 1944, the communists expatriated Simeon II and his family and took away all their property. Later on, during the so-called Revival Process, the Communist Party forced (with the use of violence in many cases) the Bulgarian Turks to change their names to Bulgarian ones. Those who refused were expatriated, too. Ironically enough, we see all these actors on the same side now "for the good of Bulgaria."

However, I am almost sure that if the Hungarian elections had taken place in Bulgaria (theoretically speaking), Fidesz would have won. Here the winner is always a party that hadn't been in power the previous mandate. No exceptions so far.

by ccarc on Sun Apr 23rd, 2006 at 06:00:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, should have remembered that posting!

What I was thinking of was that these people have stood on opposed sides in person (though the current MSzP leaders weren't in higher posts back then), not just their ancestors in the movement. Which leads me to ask: what generation has top positions now in the Bulgarian Socialist Party, and until when did the communist government continue making (further) repressive decisions against the members of the present coalition partners?

Another question: does a liberal party exist or existed in Bulgaria, or were regime changers only represented by national-conservative and 'monarchist' centrist parties?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 07:43:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think this should be frontpaged, DoDo, but I personally need a little clarity as to the exact outcome...the "New Labour" coalition won by how much percent? (Sorry for being so thick, but all the different parties leave me a bit confused as to who is in who's coalition).

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 05:30:41 AM EST
OK, I added the parties at top. Originally, I thought I'd spare repeated explanations by giving a link to the previous Hungary diary.

the "New Labour" coalition won by how much percent?

The coalition has no name of its own (there is no special election rules requiring that, like in Italy), and it is only the campaign slogan "New Hungary" that was modelled on Bliar's "New Labour". As there was a mixed system of both single-seat races and (in the first round) list votes, one can't simply say "A won by X percent"; though the list vote percentages can suffice - repeating part of the table from the previous diary:

  1. MSzP: 43.21%
  2. Fidesz: 42.03%
  3. SzDSz: 6.50%
  4. MDF: 5.04%

For what 'really counts', the distribution of seats, the seating map at top says it all; but in numbers: 386 seats in all, 50% would be 193 seats, the governing coalition will have 210 seats, i.e. a majority of 34 (it was just 10 in the previous four years).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 07:34:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the clarification!

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 07:55:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you for these insights into Hungarian politics.

What about those 2 white seats in the bottom right in the picture?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 08:08:27 AM EST
Seats left empty; but the graph is erroneous there: it is missing 80 further seats in two partial rows higher up, yet which seats are left empty, will be decided by the Parliament President [US: Speaker]. (In a previous legislative period, there was also a very fat man in Parliament, who was allocated two seats.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 09:19:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Did he also get two votes along with the seats?


Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 07:05:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, though there were a couple scandals of MPs voting for absent collagues... This guy however had other scandals; he was (he died before the previous elections) also major of a rural town, which he led like a mafia don, but the local council rebelled and fought a months-long war with him, in the process of which his offices were locked down six times and he broke the locks six times...

I couldn't find a picture of him on the famed double seat, but here he sits in a restaurant with a Fidesz leader (who is a rather tall guy) for size comparison:

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Apr 25th, 2006 at 09:59:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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