Hungary at a Crossroads: Dr. Ibolya David
4/16/2007 - Dr. Ibolya David, head of the Hungarian Democratic Forum (MDF / Magyar Demokrata Fórum) discusses current political affairs in Hungary. In an event hosted by the Hungarian Reformed Federation and co-sponsored by the American Hungarian Federation (AHF) and the Hungarian American Coalition, Dr. David addressed concerns expressed by the organizing committee ranging from US-Hungarian bilateral relations to the Hungarian government's energy policy and relations with Russia.
AHF has been sponsoring a series of political discussion
forums featuring representatives from various political parties in Hungary.
Last year AHF hosted Dr. Horvath Janos
(discussing voting rights); and Nemeth Zsolt (Fidesz) and Szabo Vilmos
(MSZP) who debated the political crisis due to remarks by Prime Minister
AHF Co-President (and HRFA President) Gyula Balogh gave the opening remarks while the Coalition's Edit Lauer welcomed Dr. David. AHF Co-President Zoltan Bagdy was the moderator during questions and answers. A reception followed. Magyar Nemzet Online published an article seen on the right.
Dr. David has now been leader of the Hungarian Democratic Forum for five terms in office, making her the longest-serving party leader. During the mass demonstrations against Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany over his admitting lying to win the elections, Dr. David said that he should "withdraw from public life."
In a recent poll in Hungary conducted by Szazadveg and Forsense on April 10, 2007, Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany is the last of 19 politicians gauged for popularity. Among decided party voters Fidesz has 52% support, as against 36% for the Socialist Party, 6% for the Democratic Forum and 4% for the Free Democrats. Some 61% of respondents said they are dissatisfied with the state of democracy in Hungary.
“Hungary is at a crossroads again, just as it happened 17 years ago – it will be soon determined whether the country will take the path toward a real civil society or the path toward balkanization, whether Hungary will become a full-fledged democracy or a banana-republic,” said David in her opening remarks. She deplored the current political situation in the country, characterized by deep divisions and the tendency to “…divide the country into ‘good’ and ‘bad,’ black and white.” Those who favor a model of a civil society are opposed to such divisions, and work toward uniting, instead of dividing the nation, she said.
explained that in 1990 she looked toward the future with unbridled optimism,
and believed that “once they remove the handcuffs from our hands…Hungary
will build a better world.” Unfortunately, things didn’t work
out quite that way. While the late prime minister Jozsef Antall managed
well Hungary’s orientation to the West, the country has little to
show for in this period of about 17 years because Hungarian politicians
are mired into an endless game of political posturing that prevents much
In 2006 it became painfully clear that for the major parties, Fidesz and MSzP, winning the elections at all costs was the only goal thereby following the motto: “the end justifies the means.” In this context, both parties made unrealistic promises to the electorate in a bidding race to woo the favor of voters without regard to the budgetary realities of the increasingly struggling Hungarian economy.
David called for the defeat of the current government, and reported that the support and popularity of MDF is on the increase and may reach the level of 15% support in the coming years, providing the opportunity for the party to significantly influence the make-up of the next government. In the interest of the nation, she said, the two leading parties, FIDESZ and the MSZP, need to “stop the needless division.”
In responding to a question about her discussions with American political and governmental leaders during her current trip, Dr. David said those who are familiar with the current political situation in Hungary agree that unfortunately Hungary has not taken advantage of the opportunities that were available during recent years.
During a long question and answer session, audience members posed questions about the economy, Hungary’s energy policies, issues dealing with Hungarian minorities, the country’s education policy, and recent demonstrations during the October 23 commemorations. David’s response on the issue of reversing Hungary’s economic debacle centered on efforts to reduce the size of the government and balancing the national budget. With regard to the October demonstration, she did not condemn police brutality and appeared to blame the chaos on the protesters, many of whom were peaceful and exercising their right to assemble and voice their grievances. In general, Dr. David articulated her view of the failed policies of the current administration but did not appear to describe MDF’s alternative policies to the government’s bankrupt policies, including the government’s dangerous relations with Russia which was noted by many of David’s interlocutors.
Dávid Ibolya: Magyarország újra válaszút
Sign up for the AHF mailing list. Your information is not shared!