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Zoltán Ripp The Opposition to the Mafia State The lasting persistence of the political regime that came into being after 2010 required the neutralization of its opposition, that is, integration into the system. In a 2009 speech delivered in Kötcse,1 Viktor Orbán explained in unambiguous terms the kind of party relations he intended to create in the new regime replacing the democratic republic: The dual party system will end—in the following fifteen to twenty years a central field of power will evolve to define the political landscape. The hegemonic government party will monopolize power and formulate the national agenda to be upheld in a straightforward manner by precluding “unnecessary debates about values.” This hegemonic system maintaining the facade of parliamentarism is not be sustained by doing away with the opposition but by integrating it in a subordinate position, rendering it unsuitable to gain power as a player in a rotational party system.2 After 2010 the so-called central “field of power” did emerge—the rule of a virtually unremovable government party—as a successor to the worst traditions of Hungarian parliamentarism. The two-thirds parliamentary majority enjoyed by Fidesz and the KDNP (Christian Democratic People’s Party) denounced constitutionality, established the legal grounds of a new political regime, and, with shameless maneuvering, created the political preconditions of hegemonic governance. In order to succeed, Fidesz needed the opposition’s compliance and inability to present an alternative scheme. Not only could the latter not resist the new regime’s full-fledged development ; by three serious consecutive electoral defeats it furthered Orbán’s i6 Maffia II 00 book.indb 575 2016.12.07. 15:47 576 TWENTY-FIVE SIDES OF A POST-COMMUNIST MAFIA STATE legitimacy. While the opposition’s failure in municipal, national, and European Parliament elections could be rationalized with its own initially dire situation, the public law remodeled to suit Fidesz, poor media relations, and an autocratic state power, its own responsibility for missteps and failings cannot be overlooked, neither, most importantly, can its unwitting acquiescence to Orbán’s script and its willingness to be an ornament on the mafia state’s autocratic parliamentary edifice. The Initial Circumstances The New Structure of the Party System and Its Consequences The 2010 parliamentary elections severely uprooted the party system, creating the political preconditions of a regime change via parliamentary means as a kind of constitutional coup. Four fundamental changes occurred. First, the political arena remained without a dominant force fit to take on the left-wing party’s role in the rotational system. Even though the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) retained its centrist position , everyone with a modicum of common sense except its leaders, activists , and most dedicated supporters agreed that not even the most forceful attempts at renewal would help the party to regain its past support. Neither the internal nor the external conditions favored the resolution of the MSZP’s long-standing, deep, and complex crisis. I will get back to this later. At this point, it should suffice to argue that the party could not or was not willing to assess the implications of the preceding party system’s demise, still nurturing the hope to recapture its dominance as an alternate party with the best chances to win. Second, the principal parties of the 1989 regime change—the liberal Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ) and the moderate right-wing Hungarian Democratic Forum (MDF)—had been gone or dropped out of the parliament. Liberalism thus lost its independent political representation. Even as a joint party the two received a mere 2.67% of the votes. Not only did the SZDSZ dissolve after taking a beating—and beating itself up—as a former governing party; the MDF’s conservative liberal economic policy as an alternative trajectory spearheading Lajos Bokros foundered as well. Third, in 2009 the party comprised of environmentalist organizations Politics Can Be Different (LMP) made its debut in parliament with a rather hazy profile and circle of followers, deviating from the prevalent party i6 Maffia II 00 book.indb 576 2016.12.07. 15:47 577 The Opposition to the Mafia State structure. Irrespective of its intentions, the LMP functionally strengthened Fidesz’s position under the circumstances. It could not effectively fend off the accusation that, as an organizationally barely formed party, it depended on Fidesz support to obtain sufficient number of proposal coupons to run in the elections. Targeting the entire establishment associated with the regime change, the LMP’s...


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MARC Record
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