Give chaos a chance

The refugee crisis is the major humanitarian and political issue in all of the European Union, including Hungary, and it will probably remain so for quite some time. However, life goes on. The Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office, János Lázár has, for example, submitted to Parliament a Bill about the establishment of a new ministry: the Prime Minister’s Cabinet. Continue reading

Migrants come and go – corruption stays

While Europe, including Hungary, is mostly concerned with two not totally unrelated issues – the Greek crisis and the South-North migration of Mediterranean and Kosovar immigrants – life goes on and we would like to entertain you with a most telling story about the Hungarian state of affairs.

Our tale starts 3 years ago when Fidesz enacted a law about tobacco retail, with the noble goal to decrease smoking, particularly among youngsters. According to the new law, as of 1 July 2013 tobacco retail became a state monopoly and only newly tendered concession holders were allowed to sell tobacco products. Existing tobacconists had to compete with politically well-connected, well-organized and well-capitalized groups to be allowed to continue to run their shops and were mostly on the losing side. Continue reading

Majority of Hungarians would vote for EU membership next Sunday

It seems that 5 years of anti – Europe rhetoric of Fidesz did not deter Hungarians from supporting EU membership, according to a representative poll of Publicus Research, published yesterday.

The ratio of supporters has increased to 57% percent from 48% since 2009, when a similar poll was published. Likewise, the ratio of those who would vote against EU membership has also increased, from 17% to 27%. The research did not clarify whether the respondents would actually participate in a referendum or not. In 2003 only 45.6% of the population participated in the real referendum about EU membership, with 83.8% of participants supporting the initiative. Continue reading

The art of deception

Government mouthpiece napigazdaság.hu today announced in a headline: The die has turned, Fidesz-KDNP improved again. According to their story, Századvég’s latest opinion polls shows that Fidesz KDNP is on the rise again. Századvég is a think-tank that thrives almost exclusively on government and Fidesz contracts. All news portals reprinted the news without checking the data.

Although the conclusion and the data did not differ much from what we wrote on 11 June based on the average of the polling results of three other companies, we were suspicions, as for the past few months we were searching for Századvég polling results in vain. Continue reading

Can the wolf turn into a sheep?

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán celebrated his 5 years in power by giving a speech at a conference dedicated to this topic. The undoubtedly most often quoted sentence of the conference has since become the headline in almost all media outlets:

”In the past five years power was the keyword of governing. From now on it is going to be attention, attention to people and everyday life.”

The content of the speech was otherwise quite predictable: Continue reading

Mr. Orbán’s son-in-law says farewell to public procurement

The son-in-law of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, István Tiborcz sold all his companies that have been or would be subject of public procurement tenders yesterday, according to Napi Gazdaság, the daily closest to the government these days. He did so because of the permanent attacks against him and his family, according to the paper.

Mr. Tiborcz, who married Mr. Orbán’s daughter, Ráchel in 2013 (images here) has been on a lucky streak since 2010. Starting from scratch, his various businesses have won EU funded public procurement tenders in the order of many million Euros. Continue reading

Why would Mr. Orbán run for president?

We are relieved. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has announced this morning in Székesfehérvár that he does not intend to become president when the term of the current President, János Áder, expires in 2017. We would be even more relieved had he also declared that he would not want to become prime minister in the future either. However, he did just the opposite and announced that in 2018 he would like to run again for his current job. To achieve this, this November he will also “compete” for the presidency of FIDESZ again. Continue reading

Mr. Orbán got what he wanted in Strasbourg

Yesterday in Strasbourg the Prime Minister participated in the plenary debate of the European Parliament about the situation in Hungary.

It was a painful experience. Why? Because it was a debate provoked by Mr. Orbán himself. Mr. Orbán knows very well that most Hungarians don’t like foreigners and that the majority is in favor of the death penalty. Therefore he provoked a debate on exactly these topics. Continue reading

Prime Minister’s Disneyland train in danger

The Hungarian and foreign media have been reporting since 2013 about the plans to build a narrow gauge train in Felcsút, the birthplace of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. The village – where the Prime Minister maintains a house – is already home to a brand new soccer stadium that can hold twice as many people as live in the village and a soccer academy with a team that plays in the top Hungarian soccer league. Not quite the average Hungarian village, we can say. Continue reading

Governments manipulate people’s feelings toward asylum seekers

We have been posting about opinion polls earlier that showed that Hungarians are not particularly fond of foreigners, to say the least. Yesterday Tárki published another one of such frightening results. Tárki has been following the attitude towards foreigners – more precisely towards asylum seekers  – since 1992.

This year 46% of the respondents said that they would not allow any asylum seeker to settle in the country. This is the highest figure since 1992. We suspect that this is a consequence of the anti-immigration campaign of the government that was already running at full speed when the poll was taken. Continue reading