Speech by Ferenc Gyurcsány on the occasion of March 15, 2012

Hello All! Thank you for coming!

Petőfi would disdain Orbán. And he would have every reason for doing so. Because Orbán does not believe in what Petőfi believed in, what the Youth of March believed in. If all that burst out, streamed forth from the hearts of the best of the Hungarians was a revolution, giving more freedom to the nation and more freedom to its citizens, then all what Orbán is doing is a counterrevolution.

Jókai said that this day, the day of March 15, was the day of Petőfi. If that was the day of Petőfi, then this day cannot be the day of Orbán at the same time. It cannot be the day of Orbán because, even though we ought to celebrate, and we might even be preparing for a celebration in our souls, but still, let's face it (and this is one of the reasons why I dressed in black myself): we could rather bury and mourn the achievements once already attained in 1848, revealed and presented as a model for Hungary and, for a long time, for Europe. Orbán came to bury all that in 2010, and it cannot be denied that he shows, and I quote, „an excellent performance" there, to the detriment rather than to the good of the nation, and to his own shame.

In 1848, the month of March brought about the freedom of press, and Orbán brought the censorship to the press. 1848 belongs to József Eötvös who spoke about churches as private companies, who said that in a free state, the church shall be free, that is it shall have nothing to do with the state. In contrast to that, what is emerging today is a new, conservative, Christian formation of state, equipped with privileges and positioned through prerogatives.

1848 brought more freedom, potential for the poorest of the country, it liberated the serfs. As compared to that, Orbán creates tens and hundreds of thousands of new miserables. On this celebration day of March 15 in 2012, Hungary is not a country of hope, not a country of potential, but a country of hopelessness and a country that ran out of potentials.

We accuse Viktor Orbán, here and now, in the heart of Budapest, that he has stolen 1848, he renounced to it and blurred it away. He is the last person who has a right to celebrate; he is the last person who can refer to Batthyány, Széchenyi, Táncsics, Eötvös, any of them. Batthyány is ashamed seeing that he has such a successor.

Petőfi spoke about a country with a "dog's humbleness". And we don't want to be as humble as a dog, we don't want to have a Hungary with the humbleness of a dog. This slip of tongue was almost like the case with "junction". But that I could leave easier.

In the past two years, we have repeatedly explained what we thought about this world. By now, we have already told everything about Orbán's government what can be told. We can still go on analyzing a bit, but that won't bring us into a better position. We can repeat many more times what we think about this government and about Orbán's system but, in my view, these gentlemen and ladies won't be touched by that. Many of them can waggle a bit more, with a better or mediocre quality, one can show off, but this will be less and less sufficient here.

What I would like to say is that all those people who talk about the last twenty years, or last eight years, those who do not see that even though previous governments were not faultless but they always had their heart and mind in the right place in the case of the most essential issues: in safeguarding freedom, in preserving the third republic, in protecting human dignity.

And then, a new government came, a new government, the government of Viktor Orbán, where the trouble is not that they make mistakes here and there from time to time, they have faults. Because that may happen sometimes. People and governments commit errors and make mistakes. The trouble is that this government is about to take away our common treasure, the democratic Republic of Hungary, the third Republic of Hungary from us. This is the real problem.

But we shall make it clear that going on with repeating our criticism in a morning-noon-and-night show will not be sufficient. The tool for Orbán's counterrevolution is Orbán's constitutional coup. Hungary's previous constitution says, and this is what Orbán's present constitution also says: nobody's activity may aim at the acquisition or exercise of exclusive power. This is a constitutional obligation, this is a safeguard for the majority's pluralistic democracy.

At the same time, Orbán's activity aims at the acquisition and exercise of exclusive power. Orbán also said so: this is the policy of the central force field. But the constitution speaks clearly about that. It says that everyone has the right and obligation to step up against such ambitions. It is your obligation, an obligation of each of us, an obligation of all institutions in Hungary.

But if this is an obligation of all of us, then there is somebody, there is at least one institution that carries eminent responsibility for that. This institution is the Constitutional Court of Hungary. The reason why illustrious men and women sit in this institution is to safeguard the constitutional fundaments for a democratic Hungary.

Our friends, our political allies in the Freedom and Reform Institute prepared a submission to the Constitutional Court. A submission requesting the Constitutional Court to declare that with a multitude of cardinal laws, with a distorted application of assignment rights, Orbán's people intend to hold an exclusive constitutional power, therefore, the Constitutional Court shall declare that this power is not simply illegitimate, but it is also illegal, unconstitutional and unlawful.

The Constitutional Court rejected the submission without making any genuine assessment of it. After this rejection resolution, a few days ago, the Freedom and Reform Institute submitted a constitutional appeal against this. They did it right. From this place we would like to tell the Constitutional Court that they cannot fly away from that. Their high positions were not granted to explain away what is inexplicable, but to provide a last shelter for the guardians of constitutional democratic order, for the democratic many.

We would like to request the members of the Constitutional Court not to be cowards and not to turn away. We request them to put the constitutional claim onto the agenda, and to provide a genuine assessment of that submission. We would like to tell to these illustrious men and women that if they reject that submission within 30 days, or if they do not put it onto the agenda upon its merits, then, in thirty days from now, we will put the Constitutional Court's building under a constitutional blockade.

We might believe that it is impossible, it cannot be that a country goes bust because people whose task would be to safeguard the constitutional base for that country are scared of performing their tasks. We call them to do their duty, and we will show them that there are sufficient numbers of people in Hungary who are ready to make personal efforts as well for that purpose. And if we are ready for that, we request them to be also ready to do the same.

My dear Friends!

In Hungary, we have a coalition government. Not the government you think of. I mean not the government of Orbán and Semjén, I mean the government of Orbán and Simicska. In Hungary, we do not have a Fidesz-KDNP government but a separate world being built by Orbán, together with the guys from Szolnok, i.e. with Nyerges and with Simicska. It is not simply that Orbán is reconstructing the democratic world of Hungary, but he is building something else in addition. He is building something, an organized upper world, a wealth in shadow business, emerging in the shadow of the political power of Fidesz, with one ultimate goal: to serve and support Orbán's policy through the economy, through the world of business, to assist this policy providing that antidemocratic policy with business, financial resources of their own.

For twenty years, we have been witnessing what was happening in Hungarian politics. For twenty years. For twenty years we have been shy about this matter. In these twenty years we came across several cases of political corruption, but what we see now is something different. Namely, political corruption seen until now originated from the misuse of power by certain dishonest people. The specificity of the present situation is that political corruption became a direct source for and partaker of the exercise of power. This is not a coincidence, this is not an mistake, but it is the essence of the system how something is built in the shadow of politics, making use of the tools and resources of the state's power, something that nobody talks about, nobody wants to unveil; and normal rules of business do not apply in this world.

I would like to ask help from you, all of you, brave men and women, economists, lawyers, engineers, anybody who is not afraid, to set up the Clean Hands Committee and show Hungary what is the background behind the shadow business world of Fidesz. Let's unmask it, let's expose it, let's make it clear that the power that is being built up here is an immoral one.

Quoting a conservative German politician, Robert Schuman, the prime minister says that either Europe will be Christian or there will be no Europe at all. I believe you are wrong, Prime Minister. Namely, when Robert Schuman said that, he clearly meant Christian values and principles. He meant the appreciation of goodness, love, the ability to forgive, the human strength in paying attention to the poor. When Orbán speaks about Christianity, he is not speaking about these. He speaks about the power of the priests, about the power of the Vatican, about prerogatives and about privileges. If Europe will be Christian in that sense, then there will be no Europe. At least not in the sense as we would like to see it. Therefore, we reply to him: if Europe will be Christian, there will be no Europe.

My dear friends, who are celebrating now or who rather feel the pain of a burial! This country has been experiencing, for six consecutive years, that life is growing harder and harder. That even paying the electricity bill is a tremendous difficulty for many people. That paying for medicines requires calculation, more and more often already at the beginning of the month. While the life is such for many, there are people who have no worries and troubles and who profit from privileges. Is it all right that whilst all people pay car tax, the clergy does not pay car tax at all? I think this is not right. Is it all right that whilst the public burden is increasing, the clergy pays less public burden than anybody else on their income, earnings, in an official, legal manner, due to allowances provided by the law?

Why are they special as compared to all other Hungarian citizens? Why do they have more privileges than anybody else: all the people who evidently are forced to share the deplorable lot of this nation? I would like to request the reverend archbishops and bishops to open, in the spirit of 1848 when the privileged had enough strength to waive their own privileges, their archiepiscopal and episcopal palaces, to open their episcopal gardens and to initiate a renouncement of their privileges.

On the basis of holy teachings, we would like to see them demonstrate humbleness, the validity of love instead of showing how one can live a life full of privileges, far remote from the people of Hungary. We would like to see them sharing the lot of this nation's citizens, we would like to be proud of the historical churches of Hungary because they struggle as much as we do, because they act for the community as much as we do, instead of withdrawing into their palaces and rectories.

Dear Friends!

Yesterday we received the news that Orbán and his world do not wish to allow the Democratic Coalition to have an own parliamentary group. Do I look like somebody to be afraid of? Does Csaba Molnár look like a person to be afraid of? Well, at most, Ági Vadai may be such a person. But we will handle her.

Of course, while I am trying to resolve the tension about this, let me tell you that all this is not about us. This is not about those ten persons. It is about a situation where it became evident that Viktor Orbán, who spoke in 1989, in the name of Hungary, at the memorial service of the martyred Imre Nagy and fellow martyrs, had no problem with dictatorship (I see somebody wrote about that); his problem rather was that he was not the dictator. He did not want to change the regime; he only wanted to change the dictator. This is not right.

Of course, I note with sadness that we might not be here, might not have ended up in this situation if my former friends, colleagues, partners in the Hungarian Socialist Party would not have played that shameful action in last October. It may well be that we wouldn't have a parliamentary group anyway, but at least they would not have made the job easier for Fidesz. I am sorry. I am not angry with them, not even a little bit. And what I think about them, I won't tell you now. Not a lot of nice thoughts.

I would like to ask from you, from the democratic Hungarian public, from the democratic public life in Hungary and from the parties of the democratic opposition to raise your/their voice against this shameful intention. One cannot intervene retroactively and ex post into the public law system, modify the rights attributable to members of the Hungarian parliament. In October, the Hungarian parliament stated that these MPs would be entitled to set up their own group. The Hungarian parliament spits in its own face, spits in the face of the democratic Hungary if it acts this way. What we say is that they shall not act that way.

If they still act this way, and if this will be the end of the story, I will request everybody, all parties, all forums of the public, newspapers, the radio and TV channels to treat these MPs, to look at this group of MPs as if there were a parliamentary group; to handle its leader Csaba Molnár as if he were the head of this group. Because, according to the law and according to righteousness, this parliamentary group will not be, it is already there.

Before I say goodbye to you (but only for today), le me tell you that we do believe in a liberal, social democracy, in a Hungary that accepts such principles. What we think is that the source for this country and for the country's strength is our multitude and our diversity. That everybody is free to become the person they want to be, based on their internal motivations. That liberalism does not mean libertinism, does not mean lying about the basic human values, but rather the deepest respect for human beings with their own choices, consent to pursuing the way selected. In this sense, and only in this sense, I believe that liberalism has no alternative in Europe.

But there is no alternative for another thing that we represent consequently, ever since we entered the political scene. This is the endeavour to make it clear that we bear responsibility not only for ourselves but also for other persons, that we shall share their sufferings and that our responsibility extends beyond our own boundaries and those of our families. We have things to do for our cities, our nation and yes, we want to be and remain Hungarians on the basis that we feel ourselves at home in Europe. Yes, together with Széchenyi, Batthyány, we want to have a European, liberal, social, democratic Hungary. This is what I mean when I say: for Hungary and for the Republic.

Thank you very much.

Source: DKP.hu