Ungváry Krisztián
Ungváry Krisztián

The Right will only be successful if they adopt a moderate, principled conservative position, supported by a sober and high-quality press.

The Magyar Nemzet [Nation], once the pinnacle of Hungarian journalism has become an extremist paper, bulldozing anyone that gets in its way, according to Janos Pelle.

The results of the elections of 9 April 2006 are known: the Socialist-Liberal coalition took the lead, and Fidesz's position heading into the second round is little better than in 2002. Of course, the MDF did squeak past the 5 per cent barrier, but, if we are to go on what Ibolya David is saying, the prospect of the two parties getting together is very remote. Officially, Ms David claims the two parties' manifestos are incompatible. Viktor Orban's economic policies contains elements so left-wing and populist that they are unacceptable to a realist, modern conservative party.

But this is only part of the truth. It would be possible to bridge the gap between the MDF's and Fidesz's manifestos. But the roots of the conflict between the two parties of the 1989 regime change are deeper and more painful, and they relate to the media. Over the past four years, the Right's daily paper, the Magyar Nemzet, and its weekly, the Magyar Demokrata, have regularly struck an extremist tone with regard to the MDF and its leader. The paper's journalists have continued their tirades of abuse on Hir TV as well.

Now, the journalists who have spent their time abusing MDF and Ibolya David herself expect her to rise above the insults "in the interests of the common values of the right wing," and strike a bargain with Fidesz. Moderate right-wing politicians are despatched to MDF's headquarters, with public intellectuals like Istvan Elek writing an open letter in the past few days. Bu the wounds inflicted by the right-wing media on Ms David run very deep, and they are unlikely to heal in two weeks.

This underscores the fact that Fidesz has not yet managed to create a high-quality, moderate right-wing media capable of competing with the organs of the Left. If the Right loses the elections, its politicians will have to set things in order on the "media front." It is astonishing that Magyar Nemzet, once the pinacle of Hungarian journalism, has fallen as far as it has. Once the paper of Hungarian independence and democracy, it has adopted an extremist tone ever since employees of the former Napi Magyarorszag took leading roles at the paper after 2000.

Remember, for instance, when the Magyar Nemzet published an article headlined "K.O." before the 2002 elections. That is, they not only pre-empted the results (wrongly, as it turned out), but they frequently threaten the Left with being "cut to pieces." How can articles like this appear in the paper that in the 1940s appeared with the following legendary words on its masthead: "The Magyar Nemzet is fighting for Hungary to remain Hungary." How can a few blinkered employees threaten the left wing with being "rejected by the nation", telling them that there is no place for them "under the orange sun?" Fidesz is now reaping the rewards for attacks like these.

hvg.hu English version

„Orban: Republic is only a garment warn by the nation”

Ideology reared its head in the campaign two weeks before the first round of the election. Where, before, the parties were competing on promises, with republican or national rhetoric only playing a subsidiary role, suddenly the campaign has turned into what can almost be described as a kulturkampf.

HVG English version

Hungarian-romanian relationships

The past few decades have seen increasing numbers of mixed Hungarian-Romanian marriages in Transylvania. These are motivated by more than pure love. The latest research shows that Hungarians are being assimilated into the Romanian community.

Ungváry Krisztián English version

Guess who is next?

Sources close to Fidesz have claimed the party leadership spent little time dealing with Ibolya David's eight points, regarding them merely as a basis for negotiation. The Fidesz leadership suggested in a letter to Ibolya David that Akos Bod Peter could be a joint prime ministerial candidate. Bod Peter's task would be to lead the country out of its present situation. Akos Bod Peter was the Antall government's finance minister and president of the National Bank of Hungary.

hvg.hu English version

How they count?

Every day, polling companies have news about the state of play in the election campaign. Are they biased, and if yes, then which way do these companies lean?

hvg.hu English version

Left or right

Today's Fidesz is riding a wave of antipathy felt by the traditional Hungarian Right and the Hungarian provinces towards the emergence of a Western-style middle class, claims the political analyst Péter Tölgyessy. He believes Viktor Orbán lost Wednesday's debate between the two prime ministerial candidates, but performed better than his three rivals on Thursday. Supporters of a western-style middle class lack a major party to represent their interests. Voters should reflect carefully before voting on Sunday, Tölgyessy warned.

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