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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
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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
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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
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