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Viktor Orbán's talkshow and Ferenc Gyurcsány's parliamentary speech outlined two conflicting governmental philosophies, although both were careful to avoid falling into the promise-making trap.

Two years ago, in his first State of the Nation speech, Viktor Orbán said we lived in a country where nothing was what it seemed. And so it turned out. Last Sunday, Orbán held his State of the Nation speech, Gyurcsány held his on Monday. And the they seemed to be talking about two different countries. What one saw as a dwindling dwarf, the othersaw as a growing giant. One saw doubt and despair, the other self-confidence and faith in the future.

The two parties' voting bases have stabilised recently, according to opinion polls, which means  the elections will be won by the party that has most success in mobilising its supporters.

The prime minister spoke in terms of general satisfaction about the achievements of his government, and addressed questions of detail only in terms of the laws he intended to have passed. He made concrete proposals - for an Entrepreneurs' Bank and for budget reform – but attempted to show moderation. He wanted to seem a wise statesman trying to stem the tide of promises his opponent was making. He was trying to suggest that the opposition's demands and promises were mutually exclusive. The opposition was demanding an increase in disbursements with no corresponding increase in national debt, Gyurcsány used some personal examples to show that success and happiness were possible without state generosity.

Orbán, on the other hand, promised a "government of solidarity." His speech was more practical than his rival's. He was clearly following Helmut Kohl's advice to the effect that voters were choosing not a party but solutions to their problems. The Fidesz president thus avoided ideological questions, and tried to offer solutions to concrete problems, repeating the promises he had made during the course of his campaigning roadshow - cutting contributions, a family
tax, the restoration of home-building subsidies, a 14th monthly pension. The only question unaddressed was that of how he would bringt his about once in power.

His campaign aims to remind voters of promises the Socialists made in 2002. His targets are pensioners, employees, the Roma - groups whose undecided voters are easiest to gather in to the fold. He has been trying recently to give voice to certain fears - the idea that Hungary is no longer a safe upholder of international norms, but a country known in its region as a place of conflict and irregularity.

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