Ferenc Gyurcsány’s press breakfast organised by HIPA

Former Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány, chairperson of the Democratic Coalition was the special guest at the press breakfast organized by The Hungarian International Press Association (HIPA). HIPA is the association of foreign correspondents in Hungary. Their members are foreign journalists working in Hungary, as well as Hungarian journalists who work for foreign newspapers and journalists who work for foreign language newspapers in Hungary. HIPA is also open to associate members from the diplomatic community as well as from NGO's and to corporate members. The former PM gave a short overview about the developments of Hungarian domestic politics as well as about the details of the orchestrated show trial of the Sukoró-case.

The former PM announced that the leading bodies of the Democratic Coalition made the decision last Friday about the disunion from MSZP in an open, fair and mutually respectable way and the foundation of a Western-style, civic centre-left party. Former PM Gyurcsány said that the new political force is to take over the legal apparatus of an already existing one, called the Democratic Party, whose name will be changed to Democratic Coalition. He said the reason for this procedure is that establishing an entirely new party would require the approval of the public prosecutor and they don’t trust Péter Polt.

The first question related to the new electoral law, whether this split on the left could be a big help to Fidesz, by dividing the opposition. Gyurcsány said that he believes that all the democratic parties in the opposition have to cooperate. He also said that he is not afraid of being let out of the coalition of the democratic opposition. Politics is not about love. Politics can change. Cooperation in politics is not a question of taste it’s a question of the need of the supporters and the electorate –  Gyurcsány said. Cooperation with Jobbik is not an option. In Esztergom the opposition – including the far right Jobbik is meant to support an independent mayor. Gyurcsány rejected the suggestion made by a leader of LMP, Gergely Karácsony of cooperating technically with Jobbik at the next election in order to be able to change the two third majority laws. Jobbik represents a lot of elements of fascism, there cannot be any kind of cooperation – said the leader of the newly formed Democratic Coalition!

In relation to the Sukoró case, former PM Gyurcsány talked about his deep conviction that the prosecutors involved in the case have violated the laws of their profession. What they are doing constitutes a breach of these principles because they are not committed to defending the Constitution but to serving the interests of the prime minister and his party. As far as the Sukoró-case is concerned, Gyurcsány said that the prosecutor’s allegations are deeply flawed and unsubstantiated. They originate from a political order, which the ruling party has been constructing for years, and for the successful execution of which the public prosecutor has been designated.
There was a question about his political future and ambitions. Gyurcsány declared that he does have strong political ambitions, but does not have any personal ambition to become a PM again. In relating to the future of his new party, he said that he can promise that the Democratic Coalition will be a party of the next Parliament.

Gyurcsány’s top issues on the agenda if there were to be a change in government is the following:

1.    Restore the powers of the Constitutional Court
2.    Changing the tax system. Return to progressive tax system, introducing property tax above HUF 100 million, cancelling special sector based taxes.
3.    Health care reform. We have to tell the people of the need for their direct contribution to the healthcare funds. For the purpose of keeping our nurses and doctors.
4.    Educational system reform. Open the doors of Universitites to the students and ask them to give direct contribution to be able to modernise the educational system. And simultaneously we have to introduce the socally fair scholarship system so that less well off young people can study as well.

Gyurcsány spoke about party funding as well. In his opinion, the Hungarian political life is full of “grey” money, there is corruption. As a PM in 2006 he initiated a new party financing law act. Orbán – the then leader of the opposition -  opposed it. In 2008 he said, they almost agreed and experts of the parties finalized the new law, but at the last moment Orbán sent the message to stop, and refused to cooperate on this issue as well. Gyurcsány said that Orbán doesn’t want to see any outside financial control over his party, because this is his biggest control tool for him in the party. The Democratic Coalition is supported by donation of the people with small amounts.
There was a question about whether Hungary is ready for a party which is not using populism. Gyurcsány said that at least 20% of the population could support this kind of politics. Maybe one advantage of this government is that we, Hungarians understand that there is no free lunch – he said.

Last Updated on Friday, 30 August 2013 09:11