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György Csepeli The Ideological Patchwork of the Mafia State The legal infrastructure forming the bedrock of the mafia state could not have emerged in Hungary without the sweeping success of the single political force at the parliamentary elections of 11 April and 25 April 2010. The first round of the elections drew a turnout of 64%, the second a turnout of 47%, with the Fidesz–KDNP coalition securing 263 seats in parliament. This 68% turnout corresponds to a majority in legislation of over twothirds . The opposition was divided and weak in the legislature. The complicated electoral system makes it difficult to gauge the proportion of the voting-age population that the 68% winning share represents. It is clear that this 68% of the voting-age population, or even of the citizens that cast a vote, is far more the ratio of those who actually voted for the victorious party, whether we look at individual constituencies or territorial or national lists. The parliamentary majority was only a majority in the Leninist sense; in reality, it was the expression of a minority’s will. However, there is no doubt that the purported majority in the Leninist sense was achieved legitimately under the electoral rules valid in 2010. In light of the events that later transpired, it is clear that the securing of the majority was preceded by thorough preparation aimed at gauging the fidelity of candidates . The task was to make sure that nobody within the anticipated parliamentary majority would be willing or suitable for showing independent will. The municipal elections held in the autumn of 2014 saw a turnout of less than 50%. Voters in the capital elected the candidates supported by the governing parties. Likewise, the ruling party’s representatives secured i6 Maffia II 00 book.indb 27 2016.12.07. 15:47 28 TWENTY-FIVE SIDES OF A POST-COMMUNIST MAFIA STATE almost all seats at the nineteen county-level general meetings. Far-right parties outstripping governing parties on the right accounted for the second-most popular group of these general meetings. Due to the tweaked electoral system, the capital’s general meeting does not reflect voter intentions and is dominated by the ruling party’s representatives. At the same time, the vote for the mayor of Budapest showed that the socialist–liberal candidate Lajos Bokros managed to win 36% of the votes despite a rather poorly orchestrated campaign. The candidate of the far-right Jobbik party secured 7.1% of votes, making him second runner up. A repeat elections was held in one Budapest constituency in November 2014. The leftist candidate claimed an easy victory in the traditionally left-leaning district. However, the situation of the government parties remained essentially unchanged in 2014. The core concept of the electoral system overhaul posited that once a political machine was created in the legislature, all hurdles for the party operating it would be removed, giving it free rein. In addition, as this political machine operated in parliament, everything passing through it would be legitimate and lawful. Since the outset, the two-thirds majority that settled into parliament in 2010 has been set on eliminating, neutralizing, and defeating any opponents. The sole remaining restriction was the international environment , clearly far less receptive to the expectations informing the political machine, but reacting sluggishly and timidly, unable to grasp the radical novelty of the situation. A “central power field” governed by this single will emerged, euphemistically coined the System of National Cooperation (NER),1 and everything that was not part of it was fated to wilt, to perish, to be marginalized. Those excluded from the System of National Cooperation took a long time to realize that the parliament elected in 2010 was unlike any other parliament elected between 1990 and 2010. Historical Background of the Parliamentary “Political Machine” in Hungary Looking at the past, historical and literary memory recalls Kálmán Tisza’s “Mameluke political machine” during Hungary under the Dual Monarchy. Gyula Szekfű tellingly wrote of Kálmán Tisza that i6 Maffia II 00 book.indb 28 2016.12.07. 15:47 29 The Ideological Patchwork of the Mafia State he handed over the parliamentary machine to noblemen from Bihar county, who were utterly loyal to him in all circumstances, while harboring mistrust toward independent and talented men, squeezing them out not only from influential positions, but also his party. The same type of organization is unfolding across counties, districts, agencies and every niche of economic and social life...


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MARC Record
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