Az Economist legujabb szamaban kozol hiradast az MDF januari gyuleserol.
Reason prevails in Hungary
Steady does it?
- From our Budapest correspondent -
The prospect of an election can concentrate the mind powerfully, even
in Eastern Europe. Hungary provided an example last weekend. The congress
of the ruling Hungarian Democratic Forum, a centre-right party led by
the prime minister, Jozsef Antall, beat off an attack by the party's
nationalist right wing. Many of the delegates showed their sympathy
for Istvan Csurka, the leader of the nationalist faction, by greeting
him with rousing applause and praising him as the party's "conscience".
But their heads ruled their hearts when it came to the vote. The congress
reconfirmed Mr Antall as the party's leader and kept a majority of
moderates on the presidium.
Until last year, Hungary was Eastern Europe's success story. It had seemed
to come out of the 1990 election, won by the Democratic Forum, with the
makings of a stable political system: clearly identifiable blocks of
conservatives and liberals, plus an inoffensive successor to the communist
party. That, and an early start with economic reform, helped Hungary
to attract over half of all foreign investment into Eastern Europe.
Then came 1992. The forecast surge of economic growth failed to happen.
Disgruntled Hungarians pushed the Forum down to a humiliating 8% in the
opinion polls. Worse, the prime minister's chief rival in the party
exploded. Mr Csurka summoned Hungarians to rise up against a conspiracy
of Jews, communists, liberals, journalists and western firms that was
stifling the rebirth of the Hungarian nation.
Among other things, Mr Csurka called for a Hungarian version of Lebensraum
(room in which to live, or expand); the word he used was a direct
Hungarian equivalent of Hitler's German word. This alarmed people in
Romania, Slovakia and Serbia, which in between them contain 3m Hungarians.
The government, feeling obliged to respond, has called for Hungarians
living in these countries to be given a large measure of local autonomy.
Mr Csurka's effort to seize control of Hungary's agenda suffered a
setback at the congress. But the prime minister and the moderates are
not yet home and dry. Mr Csurka and his followers took about a quarter
of the seats on the presidium. And Mr Csurka's pen still has the power
The moderates' hopes are pinned on the fact that next year brings a new
election. Mr Antall closed the congress with an appeal for party unity
before the 1994 vote. In other East European countries the voters have
tended to reward nationalist extremism. But Tamas Katona, state
secretary at the prime minister's office, says that Hungary is
different. "I thing we are a grown-up country. Nobody will ever win
an election with hysteria. We are past that stage."
Will the Forum's right-wingers, who do not believe the opinion polls, see
it that way? Some people doubt it. "Moving to the centre is not a
possibility for this party any more. It was in the centre, but it lost
it," says Andras Kereszty, an editor of the newspaper Nepszabadsag.
That is still not the general view. If the Forum moves right, one banker
says, "it will disappear from the political scene. This is a temporary
blip in history; there is no question of it." Perhaps Hungarians are
natural moderates after all.