If former PM Gyurcsány had stayed in office in 2009, Fidesz could not have obtained a 2/3 majority

greczy  If former premier Ferenc Gyurcsány would not have been forced to resign back in April 2009, the two-thirds mandate of Viktor Orbán could have been avoided as well as all the things that this country has suffered since then – and it was Klára Dobrev (Gyurcsány's wife, a well known business woman) who declared it in an interview with hvg.hu. Some will obviously claim that she is biased; in my opinion, however, reality validates her stance, as well as that of me and many others who think the same.

Five and a half years ago – when allegedly the whole nation hated the Prime Minister –, a global crisis was ravaging and then-PM Gyurcsány just intended to submit the third package to Parliament, but the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) was not ready to support it. They deemed it more important to get rid of the heritage of the Őszöd speech – which can, in my view, be endorsed even today – and of the reforms that had been thwarted via an unconstitutional referendum as well as of the Prime Minister who had brought back the chance for success five years earlier from a truly desperate situation and who had eventually defeated Viktor Orbán. (Let me note that according to the IMF's expert opinion, Hungary was successful in dealing with the crisis in 2009/2010...)

Nowadays it can be seen that MSZP started to go downhill (leading up to Fidesz's two-thirds majority) not because of Gyurcsány but because of Gyurcsány's departure. If someone looks after the facts, he will see that at the time of Gyurcsány's resignation, the Socialist party still had as much as 1.5 million voters. Back then many viewed this as a bust, and were writing articles – and were making others to write articles – (and all that for money) alleging that if Gyurcsány stays, not only him but the entire left wing will also disappear from politics. Gyurcsány's own party and his own halo got in the character assassination attempt. Some viewed Katalin Szili (!) as the person of the future; others wanted to see new, younger faces.

Where is now that 1.5-million-strong camp of MSZP supporters? It still exists, however, it is scattered and disheartened, suffering from the lack of unity.

If we look at what happened since MSZP had rejected to vote for the third crisis management package – thereby forcing Ferenc Gyurcsány to leave first his office as PM, then the party chairmanship as well –, we can conclude that it paved the way for Fidesz's two-thirds majority. I would also like to note that following his resignation as PM, Gyurcsány was re-elected as party Chairman by a landslide at the subsequent extraordinary party congress, and that none of his successors enjoyed that much support within MSZP. However, as the political and spiritual leader of Hungary's democratic pole stepped down, collapse began. Interim leaders took over the direction of MSZP, and they even declared the temporary nature of their mandate.

For a while, Ildikó Lendvai assumed the party chairmanship; in the fall of 2009, however, the head of the party's election committee and PM candidate Attila Mesterházy took the lead – but not as Chairman. Gordon Bajnai announced in advance that he would assume the responsibility of governing for one year only, which eroded the government's legitimacy even more. Why would I want to entrust the task to Orbán which I think I can do better and more successfully for my country's sake? What would be the logic in doing so? Then Bajnai went on to submit – only with minor modifications – Gyurcsány's third package. This is what created – by 2012, i.e. the year of establishing his new party – the image of the successful head of the crisis-managing government. This image has been reinforced by the fact that MSZP and SZDSZ decided to stop feuding with each other for that year. This came as no surprise, though, given that none of the government MPs wanted to face early elections. Fidesz let them do the dirty job because they saw that power would fall into their hands anyway. As for Bajnai, he only undertook the premiership on the condition that all Socialist and Liberal MPs sign a declaration to support the government's proposals without objection. After all, it is much easier to govern this way than constantly having to navigate through the jungle of consultations and negotiations.

Gordon Bajnai did what he had to do as Prime Minister – just like Ferenc Gyurcsány did –, but the new PM became virtually invisible in the 2010 campaign, while Socialist party leaders and left-liberal journalists were constantly denouncing the past eight years – in a way, their very own past eight years. So we were standing there with an interim government, with a global crisis and with two parties that were ashamed of the way they were governing. In his last speech in Parliament, Bajnai even called Viktor Orbán a Democrat, thereby further paving the way for Fidesz's two-thirds majority. The 'interim' feeling was only reinforced by his later acts.

Had Gyurcsány stayed in office in 2009, Fidesz could not have obtained a two-thirds majority. Fighting for his entire political oeuvre, Gyurcsány would have simply dragged the 1.5 million MSZP voters up to the ballot boxes. Even 1.1 million votes would have been sufficient to prevent absolute majority. A proud – and not shy – campaign would have been enough to avoid Fidesz's two-thirds majority. However, in the one year without Gyurcsány, MSZP lost half a million more voters. But no one was interested in fighting anymore, except for him. Carnations either disappeared from the posters or became tiny (and in some cases, green). As for SZDSZ, it allied itself with MDF that was just as moribund a party, plus led by a Chairman begging pardon for everything they did... But those parties that do not stand up for the results of their term in government are doomed to fail. MSZP began its way downhill, while SZDSZ did not even make it into the Parliament, and has disappeared since then. Everyone was preparing for the new world, for the world after Gyurcsány, saying that Gyurcsány will be responsible for the brutal defeat.

I will write about what happened afterwards in my next blog – sometime in the future...