What do you forecast for 2014? What will be the role of MSZP?
I don’t like to predict. In my opinion, the outcome of the future is not decided yet. I know one thing: I remember what the situation was in March or April of 2000, twelve years ago. Proportionate to time, there is more of a dilemma on the side of opposition now than was at that time.
By that time, the party presided by László Kovács put things right in combating the heritage of Gyula Horn’s government, and that was his success. Now Attila Mesterházy has a harder task. At that time, László Kovács had to manage this situation after a smaller defeat, but he did it. It emerged later that his internal support and the situation was not enough for him to become candidate for prime minister. In those days, there were very few people who believed that it would be possible to beat the first Orbán government and Fidesz. I am of the opinion that, if anybody said in March or April of 2012 that Fidesz would be beaten after 2 years, he would be laughed at. Today there is a different situation: if taking into consideration the governance and the current situation of the country, the current regime does not seem to be unreplacable, even if a number of factors makes it difficult. Though it is not Attila Mesterházy who is to blame for it, but MSZP started the current term in a harder situation. For this reason, and also because it has committed mistakes in certain fields since that time, MSZP has certainly not reached the level of popularity as it should have by the middle of the term. But there is still time to make corrections. It is a success that MSZP – even if it was broken up and split – has not collapsed as it happened with the Polish left. On the other hand, the ambition to be a people’s party should not be given up, however, a new coalition of the average voters and the social opinion leaders are needed for its fulfilment; the main question is who will be able to establish this coalition. I cannot predict what will be the situation in 2014. Currently the position of Fidesz is relatively worse than it was in the spring of 2000. The mood of society is worse. We do not see any attempts for promising bestowments; they could not be sustainable either. The government faces greater difficulties in a worsened social, political institutional and international economic environment. The supposed guarantee for maintaining power seems to be ensured by institutional bastions rather than performance. I do not think at all that the left, the left centre has already lost the elections of 2014.
What about Ferenc Gyurcsány and the Democtratic Coalition? How are your terms with them? Do you keep the relation?
I have better terms with Ferenc Gyurcsány than I had in the autumn of 2006. We speak on the phone, meet by appointment form time to time. I met him last 6 or 8 weeks ago. I do not work for DK, I do not give them advice, they do not ask for my opinion, but it does not bother me. However, as a person versed in politics I may say things sometimes that can be interesting even for Ferenc Gyurcsány. There is no reason why we should be on bad terms with each other. We have a settled and fair personal relation.
Would you work with him again any time in the future?
It depends. There are many people in DK whom I respect. I do not think that they would need me in an election campaign; László Varjú is able to do that job without my collaboration. Nevertheless, I have no reason not to want to work with him or with them if history required that. This is a common relation tested in battles, and it would be a waste to throw away or not to use it. The fact that we know each other and worked together in the past is an advantage rather than a disadvantage.
How much chance do you see for Patriotism and Progress Foundation to become a party?
It is quite certain that Patriotism and Progress Foundation will not become a party. I do not see any initiative for establishing any other type of party in my environment either. It is almost impossible to get access to the Hungarian political system for a party coming from next to nothing before any of the bigger parties breaks up. The success of LMP and Jobbik is not an example for the emergence of a big party. In my opinion, any such anti-party direction is unrealistic and misunderstands the political situation, which says: “all parties are nasty and bad as they are, they should all disappear on the opposition side, and an entirely new and intact organisation should come that is led by more competent and more civil persons”. I don’t think this works. Those who want this should establish a party, and not only criticize but make some efforts for it; and then the people will assess the results. We have a responsibility in the Foundation to combat this situation and pressure; however, it does not mean that turning into a party is the best solution. We were established for assessing concrete policy matters, and that is our task. Gordon Bajnai is also aware of this situation, he considers the situation with responsibility and will evidently make a decision. If he decides not to engage in politics, he has to say so sooner or later. I also see the problem that everyone expects and has hopes for a lonely hero who solves the problems experienced by everybody everywhere, instead of them, without them, but favourably for them. This is really not a solution. People in their forties who decided to go to work on the free market instead of politics and, if things worked well, became fairly rich and have retired by now, carry a certain responsibility in this situation. They either continue criticizing the Hungarian political class from the outside, or should join in and make an effort. If they fail to do that, they will temporarily lose their ethical legitimacy for permanent grumbling in Hungary, because they proved to be cowards when they were actually the only ones who had the financial independence to take up the fight against political and economic interest groups.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 April 2012 22:12