Fidesz’s vast political coalition of voters was bursting at the seams right from the start. Now the government has taken an axe to large portions of these supporters by cutting benefits and services to the detriment of hundreds of thousands of citizens. Those people in an economically vulnerable position are especially likely to turn against Fidesz.
Almost three million people receive a pension or pension-type allowance. Of those almost one and a half million are below retirement age and claim an allowance based on various legal categories. The three-million figure includes 700,000 people on disability pensions, which is remarkably high in international comparison.
Conspiracy theories enjoy immense popularity. Virtually all communities (in Western and Eastern societies alike) have their own well-established ones. In the United States, for example, 75-80 per cent of the population believes that the official version of the Kennedy murder, the “lone killer” theory, does not fit the truth. Sixty-two per cent of Americans believe that the Bush government had prior knowledge of the September 11 terrorist attacks but deliberately kept quiet about it. A third of Brits are convinced the accident that killed Princess Diana was in fact an assassination. Almost 80 per cent of the populations of certain Muslim countries think that the governments of Israel and the United States carried out the September 11 attacks rather than a group of Arabs.
The constitutional set-up did not become socially consolidated following the 1989-90 change of regime. Disenchantment with the economic and political circumstances and dissatisfaction with the country’s successive governments extended to the entire political system. Lack of confidence in the country’s institutions has particularly taken hold in the past ten years.
At the beginning of April right-wing media outlets revealed that the first Gyurcsány government had also prepared a working constitutional draft. This open secret long-known to constitutional lawyers – that the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) had also toyed with the idea of creating a new basic law – was given widespread publicity. The situation speaks volumes about the state of Hungarian public law and politics.
Green parties are on the rise in European politics. LMP (Politics Can Be Different) is hoping to ride the wave that is taking the German Greens from one electoral success to the next. But the situation is very different in Hungary, as the party’s leadership is no doubt aware.
Why aren’t there more female politicians in Hungary? The idea that women should play a bigger role in politics is already what Hungarians would call a lerágott csont (gnawed bone): a topic that has been discussed to death. Nevertheless, virtually no improvement has been discernible in this field in the last 20 years. The fact that Hungary, in a manner unparalleled in the developed world, now has its second successive government without a single female cabinet member is a warning that should not be ignored. Society, however, seems to be little concerned.
The trial of the four men suspected of murdering Roma villagers in 2008 and 2009 (page 5) has just begun – followed with much more moderate attention than the ongoing trial for the murder of handball player Marian Cozma, allegedly by Roma thugs. At the same time, marches of the Civic Guard for a Better Future Association in a village in Heves county, Gyöngyöspata (page 1, 4) sparked political debates again on Roma issues. While the marches have ended without any serious violent incidents, passions are on the rise and further marches are planned for other villages. The next stop is Hajdúhadház, a town also with a high proportion of Roma.Â