Street protests in Hungary over PM's taped lies

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Despite rainfall and Sunday late evening local time, street demonstrations started in Hungary hours after almost all of Hungarian electronic media coordinatedly published a taped recording of prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsány's confidential address made to a gathering of socialist MSZP leaders on 26th May 2006.

In the recording, Mr. Gyurcsány is heard to admit openly, often using foul language that the last 1½—2 years of his government and his victory in the spring legislative elections were based on lies, doctored fiscal data and he admits the four years under his government has created absolutely nothing remarkable.

The most commonly quoted part of his monologue, when translated literally:


We have no choice left, because we fucked it up. Not small (time), but big (time). No other country in Europe has done such a fucking big disgusting thing we did. We can explain it away if we want... Obviously, we lied constantly during the last 1,5 to 2 years. It was crystal clear whatever we said was not true. We are so much behind the (economic) possibilities of our country, we could never imagine before, nobody could anticipate the government of the MSZP and the liberal party government does this. And meanwhile we did nothing in the last four years. Nothing. You cannot mention a single action of our government, which we could be proud of, except regaining the government at the very end [referring to false propaganda that won him the spring election]. Nothing. If we are ever held to give our account to the country, what will we say then?

The original in Hungarian:


Nincsen sok választás, azért nincsen, mert elkúrtuk. Nem kicsit, nagyon. Európában ilyen böszmeséget még ország nem csinált, mint amit mi csináltunk. Meg lehet magyarázni... Nyilvánvalóan végighazudtuk az utolsó másfél, két évet. Teljesen világos volt, hogy amit mondunk, az nem igaz. Annyival vagyunk túl az ország lehetőségein, hogy azt nem tudtuk korábban elképzelni, hogy azt a Magyar Szocialista Párt és a liberálisok kormányzása azt valaha is megteszi. És közben egyébként nem csináltunk semmit négy évig. Semmit. Nem tudtok mondani olyan jelentős kormányzati intézkedést, amire büszkék lehetünk, azon túl hogy a szarból vissza hoztuk a kormányzást a végére. Semmit. Ha el kell számolnunk az országnak, hogy mit csináltunk négy év alatt, akkor mit mondunk?

The widespread publication of this monologue quickly led to a spontaneous gathering of an estimated 1200 to 2000 people, mostly young adults, in front of the seat of the Legislature of Hungary in Budapest. About one hundred riot police and two water-cannon trucks are securing the restricted grass area around the building, while protesters are chanting with demands for Mr. Gyurcsány to immediately step down and schedule a new election before the year ends.

According to midnight news, about 50 young people are leading a march in the rural town of Zalaegerszeg with the intention to harangue more support for the protest and lead a crowd to Budapest.

The prime minister has appeared on a liberal controlled cable TV channel "ATV" and later on nationwide commercial television "TV2". He pledged not to resign. He said the taped disclosure was fine, as the country can now finally understand why their spring censoring of state fiscal information and their election promises were justified - according to him the victory of Christian conservative Fidesz party would have pushed the country into even deeper economic and social turmoil.

According to a Hír TV editorial, the current scandal and the resulting public protest bears a harrowing similarity to early events of the Hungarian revolution of 1956 when a group of university students started a street protest against the communist regime after hearing leaked excerpts of the Secret Speech made by Nikita Khruschev wherein he denounced his predecesor's (Josef Stalin) regime. This comparison is disputed by other media.