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do so many Hungarians vote for Fidesz (and Jobbik) and why do so few protest these changes?

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Jan 5th, 2012 at 06:36:12 PM EST
The population is made of humans under stress.

Align culture with our nature. Ot else!
by ormondotvos (ormond.otvosnospamgmialcon) on Thu Jan 5th, 2012 at 08:27:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is very easy to manipulate humans and especially humans under stress...in any given direction...let alone to hate and xenophobia. Just point your finger to whomever you want them to blame for their situation. Almost anyone can do it let alone lunatics with passion to hate and greediness to grub power and money.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Fri Jan 6th, 2012 at 03:21:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I still don't get it. Fidesz have won absolute landslide victories.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Fri Jan 6th, 2012 at 02:07:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What's the plural?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jan 6th, 2012 at 02:32:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry for bad spelling. Landslide victory then, even if they seem to have had pretty solid support previously as well. Still. Sure, a strange extreme party can get a 15 % landslide. Even a 25 % landslide. But a 50 % one? I don't get it. They seem to have a very solid support among the Hungarian people, especially when you add 20 % Jobbik. I mean, this should mean something.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Fri Jan 6th, 2012 at 06:23:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And now present tense rather than past tense?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jan 6th, 2012 at 06:52:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The hegemonic party of the left imploded under Gyurcsany. I'm not sure what Fidesz has done was foreseeable, as a 2/3 majority in parliament probably wasn't either.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jan 6th, 2012 at 05:33:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hm?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jan 6th, 2012 at 05:59:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Even if voters deserted the Socialists, was such a rout foreseeable that would result in a 2/3 supermajority for Fidesz? Would people have voted differently out of fear of what Fidesz would do with such a majority? Even given Fidesz' nationalistic catholic rhetoric, was such a reform of the constitution in the cards?

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jan 6th, 2012 at 06:02:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
was such a rout foreseeable that would result in a 2/3 supermajority for Fidesz?

Yes. Fidesz won that supermajority with 52.73% of list votes, although they consistently polled more than that, in fact most of the time above 60%, from April 2007. That supermajority could have been even bigger, also because LMP rose above the 5% limit at the last moment. In fact I dug up an old poll from January 2010 (three months before the elections) asking about people's attitudes towards Fidesz's expected two-thirds majority, and a relative majority thought that it would be a good thing because at last one party could implement its policies instead of gridlock...

Even given Fidesz' nationalistic catholic rhetoric, was such a reform of the constitution in the cards?

Yes. Fidesz had this attitude towards rules and institutions from 1998, and did as they pleased in every field where they managed to get majority – parliament, parliamentary commissions, public media boards. They sabotaged a significant justice system reform. The majority ignored or forgot this, and when the Socialists warned against it during their campaign, they did so with zero credibility.

The complete replacement of the 1949 constitution itself with a new coherent text was something put on hold in 1989 with a sense that it should happen sooner or later (the preable added in 1989 explicity says that the amended old constitution is transitionary). However, during successive legislature periods there ws always too much acrymony between the political sides for initiatives not to falter for lack of cross-party support. There is a little sub-story here: the 1994 Socialist-liberal government had a two-thirds majority, too, but they thought that as a government with an ex-communist main partner they should demonstrate a lack of hegemonic aspirations and adopted a two-thirds law that a new constitution needs a four-fifths hiper-majority. One of the first things Fidesz did was to squash this law. Although at the protest, speakers made a point about Fidesz not having made a constitutional change a campaign theme in 2010, I did remember them speaking about it, and with a little search found that Orbán railed againste the untenable 'Stalinist' constitution that is a 'technocratic jumble of laws' in November 2009.

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

by DoDo on Fri Jan 6th, 2012 at 06:49:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Regarding those high poll numbers for Fidesz, turnout effects are worth to emphasize. Although Fidesz did win over voters from the then government, those gains are less impressive in absolute numbers (the story was more of the government losing voters than Fidesz gaining): when they won last time they got 2,706,292 list votes, against 2,272,979 when they lost in 2006, a gain of about 0.43 million; while the Socialists alone lost about 1.35 million voters (nearly 60%). Overall first-round turnout only fell from 67.8% to 64.2% (the lowest after 1998), but that was also offset by the mobilisation of 2006 non-voters by Jobbik and LMP.

Before the election, pollsters and pundits said that only a high turnout could endanger Fidesz's two-thirds majority, and there was some of that, as reflected by a slightly higher than expected turnout and Fidesz's lower than predicted share of the vote (the average of seven pollsters was 60.6%, about 8 percentage points above the actual result; and Fidesz got 263 seats in parliament, while three pollsters gave them 267 to 284 in their last projection).

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

by DoDo on Sat Jan 7th, 2012 at 04:53:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
private central banking dictating austerity economic policy to a democracy is a horrible idea and a right wing populist party took advantage of anger over it because socialist supported this stupidity.

She's trying to distract you with real issues! Dameocrat Blog
by Dameocrat on Fri Jan 6th, 2012 at 03:25:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure what you want to know in addition to the answers to those questions in the diary and the comments, but I'll sum those up again, and for more detail link my pre-election diary Delayed Warsaw Express arriving in Budapest.

On why Fidesz and Jobbik got so many votes in 2010 (and the 2009 European elections if that counts): First, the previous government parties eliminated themselves. Above all, with austerity measures that hurt a lot of people and created a general negative outlook at the future (I can add that the hardest austerity package prior to the 2006-2010 ones was also implemented by a Socialist-liberal government in 1995, while Fidesz's 1998-2002 reign was a more tranquil period), which Fidesz opposed with social populism. The Socialists and the liberals were also mired in an undending series of corruption and trustworthyness scandals (both genuine and ones made up by the Fidesz media), internal conflicts, and general ineptness both at governing and at confronting Fidesz's tactics in opposition. (I'll add one more point in a separate comment.) Then for many people, the choice was binary between the two major parties, and there was a feeling that it can't get worse than this – these votes went for Fidesz. The diary doesn't say much about the reasons for Jobbik's rise; they could be summed up as a combination of the use of the internet, the successful nurturing of Gypsy-hate, and the establishment of a local presence in villages with their paramilitary (for more details again see here).

Why so few protest: most of those who didn't vote in 2010 or got disillusioned with Fidesz since (altogether some 60% of the population) are in a state of apathy, (at least subjectively) experiencing that their economic situation gets worse with each successive government, and don't see a point. Also, Fidesz controls most of the media, and timed their worst legal reforms to just before Christmas and just before New Year, when people are least attentive to politics. Perhaps I can add that there is a widespread notion of people seeing themselves as the "little man", a powerless subject who is content if he is only allowed to get by and doesn't want to interfere in the greater schemes of powerful people (a common notion with origins in the times of Austria-Hungary), so there isn't a sense that all these laws and high institutions are relevant to your daily life.

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

by DoDo on Fri Jan 6th, 2012 at 02:59:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Another issue related to Fidesz's rise is the interpretation of the events of the Hot Autumn of 2006: the leak of a taped speech of then PM Gyurcsány to his fellow Socialists at a closed-door meeting and the subsequent rioting and police violence.

  • In Fidesz's version (which even LMP supports in large parts), in the tapes Gyurcsány cynically admitted to winning an election with lies, and then had police brutally crack down on peaceful protesters.

  • In Gyurcsány's version (which is also shared by Socialists and liberals disliking Gyurcsány, who make up a minority of public opinion significant less in numbers than community of views), the lies spoken of in the leaked speech were those of the entire political class from 1990 and Gyurcsány was only boldly attempting to finally break with that tradition, and the street violence was a far-right mob confronted by justified police action.

  • In my view, both of the above are gross spin. First, the 2006 elections saw a bizarre competition of totally unrealistic spending promises from all parties, while it was already obvious to anyone reading the news that clouds are gathering and there is a budget crisis brewing. IMHO what Gyurcsány attempted in the leaked speech was an application of the Shock Doctrine: far from an admission of a past betrayal of voters, he wanted to scare his party into supporting a future betrayal of voters by approving a 'reform' package he prepared (or else there is a collapse). As for the riots, the truth was (and I reported this on ET extensively) that both a rioting far-right mob and a police that was first caught with pants down and then tried to take its revenge attacked bystanders, journalists and simultaneous peaceful protesters.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jan 6th, 2012 at 03:17:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Regarding apathy and disillusion since 2010, perhaps the abysmal approval rates of politicians say more than those of parties (see comment upthread). The 33% for the number one (in this December poll), the figurehead President of the Republic(sic!) would make any US President a loser, and would have been the figure for one of the least popular politicians even in Hungary back in the nineties. Already over the past decade, approval rates above 50% were few and between, then an indication of strong left/right divisions. This 33%, too (and the 31% for Orbán himself) is little more than the 26% Fidesz supporters in the total population, and less than Fidesz and Jobbik supporters combined (that would be 37%).

At 26% resp. 25%, the leaders of both LMP (András Schiffer) and Jobbik (Gábor Vona) have approval rates way above that of their parties in the total population (4% resp. 11%). I would guess that the extra support for part for the former and most for the latter comes from Fidesz supporters (hence the fear I voiced upthread that Jobbik still has potential to win votes from Fidesz in the future).

The last three on the list are also interesting:

  • Ferenc Gyurcsány (the former Socialist PM) 17% (this was the first poll in a long time he wasn1t last)
  • György Matolcsy ('national economy minister') 16%
  • Rózsa Hoffmann (the Christian Democrat and Catholic zealot education state secretary mentioned in the diary) 14%

IMHO the numbers for the before-last and last (both of whom lost a statistically significant 3 percentage points since November) indicate what policies even the remaining Fidesz faithful were displeased with by last month.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Jan 7th, 2012 at 05:00:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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