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From Labour Focus on Eastern Europe, No. 60, 1998.

László Andor

New Striker in Old Team
Parliamentary Elections in Hungary, May 1998

The election results
The parliamentary elections of Hungary in 1998 resulted in two major changes in the power structure of political parties. First, the elections were won by a new Right wing coalition that emerged from the reconstruction of previous ruling parties of the early 1990s. In this sense, the Hungarian results followed the Polish example of 1997, when the ruling post-Communist Social Democratic party was replaced by a revitalised Solidarity coalition. Second, first time in the post-Communist era, an explicitly far Right party entered parliament, similarly to the East German state elections just a month before the Hungarian elections.
The Hungarian elections were won by the Right despite the fact that the party that won the most votes was the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP)--the only parliamentary force of the Left. Just like in 1994, MSZP won 33 per cent of the popular votes(1). Due to the highly disproportional electoral system, however, this 33 per cent was enough for 54 per cent of the parliamentary mandates in 1994, but only for 35 per cent of the seats in 1998. Due to the fragmentation of the Right in 1994, MSZP then won nearly all individual constituencies. By 1998, the unity of the Right prevented them to win any seats in seven counties (Gyõr-Moson-Sopron, Vas, Veszprém, Zala, Csongrád, Bács-Kiskun and Pest).
MSZP remained dominant in the traditional industrial districts of the North, mid-West and South-West, and also in the poorer agricultural zones to the East of the river Tisza (Wiener 1998: 12). The Independent Smallholders Party (FKGP) became a leading force in the regions formerly dominated by the rich peasantry, and the Alliance of Young Democrats--Hungarian Civic Party (Fidesz-MPP) carried the conservative West, mainly by attracting the former voters of the Christian Democratic People's Party (KDNP) and the Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ). Due to fatal infighting of several years, KDNP as a party did not qualify at all for the new parliament, while SZDSZ was diminished into a small party.
In the first round, just slightly more than half of the electorate participated in the elections. This ratio was much lower than the roughly two thirds participation of 1990 at the first post-Communist "free" elections and of 1994 when participation was stimulated by the need to overthrow an apparently rotten, reactionary coalition. In 1998, political scientists suggested that a low turnout would benefit the Socialists who possess the most disciplined membership and constituency. In as much MSZP repeated their 1994 score, the forecast was right. However, the low turnout did not prevent the entry into parliament of the far right Party of Hungarian Justice and Life (MIÉP), and the emergence of a Right wing coalition supported by a disciplined constituency ready to vote for other parties in case their leaders asked for that.
The entry of MIÉP was not forecast by political analysts and, according to the rules of the house, they were not meant to form a parliamentary faction with only 14 representatives. Before 1993, MIÉP constituted a Right wing in the then ruling Hungarian Democratic Forum (MDF). When some foreign politicians, including Tom Lantos of the US Congress, made it clear that such a tendency is not accepted by the international community, their leader István Csurka was expelled from MDF and some new rules were adopted to prevent them to form a faction and to re-enter parliament in 1994. These new rules required at least 15 deputies to form a faction (2) and at least 5 per cent of the popular votes to be able to enter parliament. In 1998, however, MIÉP passed the 5 per cent limit with ease and the Constitutional Court decided that despite having only 14 deputies in parliament they must be allowed to form a faction. Thus, first time in the history of the new parliamentary pluralism in Hungary, the final result of the elections was determined not exclusively by the electorate but also by the Constitutional Court.

Table 1. Election results in Hungary in 1994 and 1998 (number of mandates)

Party                    1994                    1998

MSZP                   209                      134
SZDSZ                   70                        24
Fidesz-MPP            20                      148
MDF                       37                        17
KDNP                    22                          0
FKGP                     26                        48
MIÉP                        0                        14
Independents/Others  2                          1

Source: The Economist 1998: 25

The failure of the Socialist-Liberal coalition
Until just a few weeks before the elections, MSZP seemed to be a likely winner of the race, which made many observers blame the weak campaign for the defeat the party suffered "unexpectedly". Most Socialists were confident or even complacent during the campaign because of the improving macroeconomic figures of the country and the substantial lead of MSZP in the opinion polls. The actual unity of the Right wing parties became apparent only in the last weeks or even days of the race, which also showed that the recovery of the popularity of MSZP in 1997 and early 1998 was only temporary.
The recovery of the Socialists, similarly to that of the macroeconomy, was indeed remarkable, but it did not completely eliminate the impact of two major blows the popularity of the ruling coalition suffered between 1994 and 1998. These blows were inflicted by the stabilisation measures of 1995 and the corruption scandal of 1996. MSZP lost and FKGP gained popularity in the first case, while Fidesz-MPP picked up what was lost by MSZP in the second case. SZDSZ was hit by both factors, which accelerated the continuous decline of the party that did not stop even temporarily.
In March 1995, the stabilisation package of the Horn-government was introduced by finance minister Lajos Bokros. Despite being a minister only for a year, and leaving the country soon after, Bokros and his package was the basis on which the evaluation of the Socialist-Liberal government was possible in 1998. The Socialists claimed that the Bokros-package was the only way to sort out the financial problems of the country in a hostile international environment. The implementation of the harsh austerity measures restored the international respectability of Hungary and her government, which accelerated the inflow of foreign capital and lowered the interest rates on the foreign debts of the country. When Bokros left office in March 1996, Hungary could sign an agreement with the IMF again and became member of OECD. In the second half of the four year governmental period, economic growth was significant, and the workers and public sector employees experienced some increase in their real incomes too.
The Right has opposed the Bokros-package ferociously. They claimed restriction was unnecessary and the crawling devaluation of the forint--that was implemented also in 1995 March--caused more harm than good by boosting inflation. Bokros also wanted to cut much of the social benefits inherited from the Kádár era, which was--though temporarily--obstructed by the Constitutional Court (3), and declared inhuman by the Right. In a number of issues, the moderate Right and the radical Left shared their criticism of the neo-liberal economic and social policies of the government.
The Bokros-package was controversial enough, but the popularity of the ruling parties was even more damaged in Autumn 1996, when a major corruption scandal surfaced. The affair was related to the privatisation revenue owed by the national privatisation agency (ÁPV Rt.) to the local governments. The leaders of ÁPV Rt. hired a private lawyer to broker deals between the agency and the municipalities, and her oversized "success fee" was tapped by financial agents close to the two ruling parties. Horn sacked his privatisation minister Tamás Suchman and the entire board of directors of ÁPV Rt. but the belief in the morality and expertise of MSZP and SZDSZ was nevertheless gone.
Despite these two blows, and the impact of the crisis of Socialists in Yugoslavia and Bulgaria in early 1997, the popularity of MSZP started to recover and the party was expected to win the elections again. Indeed, they won the most popular votes in the first round of the elections and managed to increase the number of their voters to nearly two million by the second round. This relative success, however, could not compensate for the losses suffered by their coalition partner, the Free Democrats.
The campaign slogan of SZDSZ claimed that we just need "to keep the right direction". This phrase was nothing but a failure when the majority of the population believed that, with corruption in the government offices and increasing social differences, the country was not going to the right direction. The credibility of SZDSZ was also damaged by the rapidly deteriorating public security in Budapest and other major cities under a Free Democrat interior minister.
The two ruling parties believed that it was enough to present the improving international acceptance of the country (NATO and EU integration) and the favourable macroeconomic figures of 1997 and 1998. They failed to understand that the electorate needed something more--a vision about a different society that provides hope for those hit by the repeated austerity packages. The pragmatic attitude of MSZP ceased to be a virtue, and the lack of vision became apparent when the Socialists were facing the ambitious Young Democrats at the election campaign.

The reconstruction of the Right
Fidesz-MPP belonged to the smaller parliamentary parties in both 1990 and 1994. Their popularity was temporarily inflated in 1992 to about 40 per cent, following the rapid disillusionment from the then ruling MDF. Both the political situation of the country and the profile of Fidesz had to change until the party became the main ruling political force of Hungary.
Out of the many changes of the recent years, most foreign observers highlighted the long journey Viktor Orbán (35), the leader of Fidesz-MPP since its foundation, had already made in his political convictions since 1988. According to Tina Rosenberg of The New York Times, Orbán stood a Thatcherite platform in the early 1990s, while now he is economically a populist and in social issues he represents a conservative, Catholic line (Népszabadság 1998: 3).
In the 1989-1990 period, Fidesz was presented as a liberal party whose main concerns were human rights and environmentalism. Orbán, just like his friends in the Fidesz faction of the first post-Communist parliament, walked to the meetings of the parliament in jeans. "Yet he turned Fidesz into a party with mass appeal by sounding anything but liberal. His economic pronouncements are tinged with demagoguery: taxes and inflation will be lower, he promises; growth faster; welfare more generous. He also champions the ethnic Hungarians living outside Hungary in ways that unnerve Romania and Slovakia, where most of the live. And he has rattled the EU: for the sake of those Hungarian cousins, he has sad, Hungary should not join the EU's borderless Schengen area until they are in it too. And all good Hungarians should, like him, have three children." (The Economist 1998: 25)
In 1993, Fidesz and SZDSZ--together with the Entrepreneur's Party and the Agrarian Union--formed a shadow coalition expecting the rise of a Liberal bloc. A year later it became clear that Hungary will never have a purely liberal government. For Orbán's team the only way to government office was to become part--and if possible, a leading force--of a broad Right. "Budapest is worth a mass" could have been Orbán's philosophy that guided him in building a conservative Hungarian Civic Party on the ruins of the liberal Fidesz.
Orbán's party started to move to the Right from the Liberal centre as early as 1993, well before the 1994 elections, when Viktor Orbán got rid of the other popular leader of the party, Gábor Fodor. Fodor was followed by other liberal--or left liberal--politicians while Orbán invited more and more ex-MDF and ex-KDNP politicians into the party. The age limit of the party was abolished and the name was amended to be acceptable for a broader Right wing constituency.
The strengthening of the social basis of the new Right wing coalition was due the awakening of the new entrepreneur class. Back in 1990, MDF was the party of the domestic entrepreneurs. The meltdown of MDF by 1994 was a political expression of the critical condition of this small business class. The MSZP-SZDSZ coalition pursued the policies of an alliance between the multinational business sector and the domestic organised labour. The campaign of Fidesz-MPP promised compensation for the domestic middle class by restoring their benefits abolished by the Horn-government (4), diminishing the influence of labour in national politics, and restricting the positions of foreign capital in the Hungarian economy.
At the 1998 elections, Fidesz-MPP was campaigning on the basis of civic values which was also expressed in the popularisation of the new and full name of the party: Fidesz-Hungarian Civic Party. The Hungarian equivalent of "civic" (polgári) incorporates the meaning of citoyen and bourgeois, and also that of civilian. Thus, the widespread use of this word left a good deal of doubt about the proper meaning of the intentions of Fidesz-MPP, nevertheless it was good enough to crystallise the strengthening class consciousness of the new entrepreneurs and the conservative minded civil servants.
Orbán managed to increase his popularity among students and other young people by promising greater material security and better life prospects for them. Since Horn pursued a neo-liberal economic policy, for Fidesz-MPP it was easy to expropriate traditional socialist demands and turn them against the Socialist-Liberal coalition, claiming that a civic government would achieve what the left of centre parties had promised (Bayer 1998: 23)
As a clear indication of his political objectives, Orbán made an electoral alliance with MDF more than one year before the elections. When KDNP was splitting, the Fidesz-MPP faction incorporated the liberal wing of KDNP that later formed the Christian Democratic Alliance (KDSZ). In addition, following the agricultural demonstrations of early 1997, and particularly the land debate of 1997 Autumn, a tacit co-operation emerged between Fidesz-MPP and the Smallholders too. This slow convergence turned into an open agreement a few days before the second round of the 1998 May elections, and developed not just into the formation of a common government, but also a pact on the subsequent municipal elections and the presidential election of 2000.
During the campaign, Orbán rejected any open co-operation with the tiny Hungarian Democratic People's Party (5) (MDNP) too, but this approach changed in June when the new government was being formed. He was completely surrounded by the remnants of the old Antall-brigade. Though it was Fidesz-MPP that collected much of the Right wing vote, it looked as if a reunion of Antall's team hired a new captain to restore chances to qualify for the Premier League. And it worked. Orbán and some other Fidesz politicians provided a fresh media face for more conservative social and political groups.
The overall Right wing revival benefited not only the moderate and populist Right forces but also the neo-Nazi Hungarian Party of Justice and Life (MIÉP). Though the activists of MIÉP co-operated with other Right wing forces on the local level, they had no chance in becoming part of the new government. Nevertheless, they voted for the programme of the Orbán government when it was put before the parliament in early July.

The new government: personnel and policies
Following the announcement of the election results, president Árpád Göncz invited Viktor Orbán to form a coalition government. For him it was obvious to start negotiations with MDF and then with FKGP, though the possible alliance with the latter was denied before the public until the last moment. The coalition agreements with the two parties were signed at Hotel Gellért--a building with notorious Right wing political legacy (6).
The most apparent feature of the new government is that the structure of government institutions and the distribution  of portfolios is dominated by party political horse trading. On the side of "human areas", a fragmented structure of ministries emerged, while on the side of the economy some highly concentrated, strong offices were constructed. (The ministry of the economy was created on the basis of the former ministry of industry and trade by adding certain authorities from the previous ministries of finance and labour. Agriculture, previously a single portfolio, now captured regional development too.) From this distribution of forces we can expect that the ministries of culture, education, health etc. will be fighting their struggles for more resources individually against the strong economic ministries with less success than before.
In certain cases, the re-organisation was justified by "following a Western pattern". Thus Orbán established a ministry of the national cultural heritage, explicitly on the pattern of the short-lived ministry established by British Prime Minister John Major in 1992. Also similarly to John Major, Orbán abolished the ministry of labour, and distributed its authorities to the ministries of the economy, education, and the social and family affairs.
One of the first measures of the new government was the abolition of the self-government of social security boards that was established in the Antall era. The alleged reason for abolishing the self-governments for health and pensions was that these funds operated under a board of laymen and a corrupt management, and that their control became illegitimate after their leadership was renewed on the basis of delegation instead of a general election in 1997. Though much of the corruption accusations are true in the case of the health fund, this move is rather a declaration of war on the trade unions and collective--tripartite--bargaining, and a preparation for the privatisation of the health sector. Another centralisation measure is the subordination of the attorney authority to the government instead of the parliament, which has been the case since the democratic transition began in 1989.
Thus, the second major tendency in the new structure of governance is the strengthening of the executive power at the expense of the legislation. Apart from increasing the number of ministries, now a cabinet minister will be in charge of the prime minister's office, and his work will be assisted by not less than five junior ministers. In the same time, Fidesz-MPP confirmed their previous proposal about decreasing the number of members of parliament substantially. Such a move, however, would require a two-thirds majority in parliament, and thus cannot be carried through without the consent of the Socialists. Nevertheless, in case this step takes place, a much smaller legislation would be supposed to supervise a much lager executive, which would provide greater room for manoeuvre for the latter.
It is not only the structure of governance but also its personnel is very telling about the aims and profile of the new coalition. In this "Fidesz-government", there is only one minister--apart from the prime minister--who has been an actual Fidesz politician since the party first entered parliament in 1990. It is László Kövér, who was--together with Orbán--one of the founders of the party in 1988 March. He has always been on the rigidly anti-Communist Right of the party, and now became Orbán's deputy in case of his absence.
With a few exceptions (eminently Járai and Chikán), the rest of the ministers have even less to do with liberalism than Kövér. Since in Hungary not only members of parliament can become ministers, most of the members of the Orbán cabinet were introduced weeks after the elections. To the surprise of many voters, a party that is liberal in name brought back the second line of a conservative, authoritarian and nationalist government apparatus left behind from the Antall era (Pintér, Katona, Martonyi, Szabó, Torgyán).
Finance was the area where the nomination of the minister was surrounded by the heaviest social and political bargaining. Zsigmond Járai was the third person named as finance minister within just a few weeks following the elections. First, before and after the polling days, György Matolcsy was said to be candidate for financial affairs. During the Fidesz campaign, he was the most prominent to argue for the promise of the party to reach and maintain seven percent annual economic growth. He directed the works on the economic manifesto of Fidesz, and published a good deal of articles about the harm done by the IMF, Bokros and others to the Hungarian economy.
The reason Matolcsy fell was that following the appearance of the election results the index of the Budapest Stock Exchange started to dive--a clear indication of the lack of trust in the unfounded promises of the winners, and a rejection of the economic nationalism represented by Matolcsy. Fidesz responded to the crash by nominating Attila Chikán as minister for the economy and László Urbán as minister of finance. Neither Chikán, nor Urbán took part in the election campaign of 1998, but they had been active economic advisors of the party in the neo-liberal period of Fidesz before 1994. The college headed by Chikán was one of the cradles of Fidesz in the 1980s, and much of his students--László Urbán one of them--became prominent members or supporters of Fidesz.
After two weeks of candidacy, Urbán was replaced by Járai with no public explanation apart from the ten year age difference and the greater experience that goes with it. Unofficial sources, however, suggested that the reason Urbán had to go was that his blueprints about settling the problems of Postabank--the second largest savings bank of the country--were unacceptable for Viktor Orbán and his advisors.
The foreign policies of the new government will be managed by János Martonyi (7), a lawyer who served József Antall as state secretary in the ministries of foreign economic affairs and foreign affairs. Due to the favourable opinion the Western governments developed about the Horn-government, Martonyi promised no change in the foreign policy of Hungary, i.e. to preserve the three major foreign policy objectives of the 1990s: the Euro-Atlantic integration, the good neighbour policy, and the support of the Hungarian minorities abroad.
Though Martonyi and his deputy Zsolt Németh promised no change in the main objectives, they also hinted some shift in emphasis concerning the practical pursuit of these goals. They said for instance that EU accession would be a priority just like before but the Hungarian interest would be represented more consequently than under the premiership of Horn and the ministership of László Kovács. Despite the explicit promise of more protectionism, they also marked 2002 as the likely year of accession.
The first foreign trip of the new prime minister was to France, to attend the World Cup final in Paris. Soon after, Orbán went to Paris again to negotiate with President Jacques Chirac. These frequent flights to France do not mean that France was more important for the Hungarian Right than Germany. Orbán paid a visit to Chancellor Helmut Kohl before the elections, and kept in touch with Otto von Lambsdorf, the veteran Liberal politician of Germany. In addition, certain key positions in the new government went to persons long involved in German-Hungarian relations. Gergely Pröhle, long serving secretary of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation in Hungary, became state secretary (8) in the Ministry of Natural Cultural Heritage, and Tamás Wachsler, a former Fidesz MP, and recently secretary of the Manfred Wörner Foundation, became state secretary at the Ministry of Defence.
Some other appointments of the new government also took a controversial character at first glance. For instance, to head the national tax agency (APEH) and the still remaining privatisation and holding company (ÁPV Rt.), Fidesz-MPP nominated persons deeply involved in the financial management of the party. Lajos Simicska and Gyula Gansperger--together with István Stumpf's brother--have personal stakes in certain companies in need of favourable state regulation for their business fortunes in the near future. Simicska was also concerned in a corruption case under the Antall government when Fidesz received an implicit state subsidy through the transfer of a Budapest palace they did not need for using as headquarters but sold it and received a huge sum of money that would have otherwise been considered as illegal subsidy.
It became very quickly obvious that the new ruling parties do not take most of their campaign promises seriously. There might be, however, a few they will try to insist on. For instance, the government announced that they would not build any dam on the river Danube. Before the elections, Fidesz-MPP won most of the environmentalist vote by opposing the dam, but now they withdrew the issue of the Gabcikovo-Nagymaros project from the authority of the ministry of environment, and temporarily gave it to the ministry of economy--a sign of expecting further difficulties in this major international legal case.
The main test of the new government will be whether they will be able to reward their main supporters, the industrial, commercial and agricultural entrepreneurs. The great centralisation and the indirect intervention into the financial sector suggests that they are prepared to provide huge subsidies to the middle classes. Thus it really makes sense, as the official Fidesz-slogans suggest, to speak about "the government of the civic future", since a "civic present" is largely absent if the supposedly independent bourgeoisie needs to be supported by the highly visible hand of the government.
Orbán declared his cabinet to be "the government of liberty, order, families, economic growth, togetherness, and European co-operation". The question is how great emphasis all these different areas will get during the actual operation of his cabinet.

The Left in opposition
The defeat of the Socialists at the 1998 elections was unexpected for many, but it was by no means a humiliating defeat. To accommodate to the new situation, personal and organisational changes began immediately. Shortly after the election results were announced, the outgoing foreign minister László Kovács was elected leader of MSZP parliamentary faction. Kovács has long been the most popular Socialist politician--more popular than Viktor Orbán, even after the latter had already formed his government.
Soon after the results came out, Horn announced he would not seek re-election as party leader at the 1998 Autumn congress of MSZP. Kovács was expected to become party president, while Horn was expected become honorary president on the pattern of the late Willy Brandt of the German SPD. He later rejected all positions in the new leadership including honorary presidency. Together with some other leading figures (9) of the party, he was blamed for the defeat and his withdrawal was seen as a pre-condition for the renewal of the party.
Kovács very quickly started to popularise his view on the revitalisation of the party, by declaring the need for further Europeanisation of MSZP, on the pattern of the British Labour Party under Tony Blair. However, it remains to be seen whether he was just following a main trend in the European political discourse, or he was proposing something like loosening links with the trade unions and abolishing party democracy.
In Hungary, links between the unions and the party were never so close as in the UK. Further loosening of the union links is unlikely in as much Sándor Nagy, the former MSzOSz leader is expected to become leader of the parliamentary faction of MSZP when Kovács becomes president of the party. As a younger politician, Nagy is more likely to become candidate for premiership of MSZP at the 2002 elections.
Former contenders of the party leadership have been shifted to minor positions. Magda Kósa Kovács, former minister of labour and later general vice-president of the party, has become chair of the human rights committee of the parliament, and Imre Szekeres, former faction leader of MSZP became chair of the budget committee. Kósa Kovács is also expected to become chair of the national council of MSZP by replacing Ferenc Baja, former minister of the environment, who is considered to be one of the loyal lieutenants of Horn.
The reconstruction of MSZP, and of the broader opposition, may take too long time. The municipal elections of 1998 October may again turn out to be a contest between a united Right and a disunited Left. In the most important case, both Gábor Demszky of SZDSZ as incumbent and Béla Katona of MSZP as challenger are expected to run for the mayor of Budapest, while the candidate of Fidesz-MPP is expected to receive support from all government parties including the Smallholders.
Whether MSZP and SZDSZ will be able to mount a challenge against the united Right will not only be a matter of campaign and election tactics but also of the reconstruction of their social basis. It has already been recognised that MSZP had very little appeal to the young generations of Hungarians and, since 1994, lost some ground among the blue collar workers too. The question is whether the British Labour Party or any other West-European party is a suitable example for the Hungarian Left.
MSZP is still a broad political force with various tendencies inside. While the Right still insists on the neo-liberal course set by Bokros, the left platform has openly criticised Kovács's Blairisation, and demands MSZP to turn itself into a Left wing people's party. The platforms of the party crystallise certain views but the real question is which social and economic groups will need MSZP as a potential governing organisation in the future. Large sections of the financial and business community, the strongest trade union federations, pensioners and intellectuals have equally supported MSZP since it was formed in 1989. The balance of power between these groups will shape the profile of the party at the turn of the century, depending on which of them will be first and most disillusioned with the incumbent government.
In terms of parliamentary politics, MSZP still has no alternative on the Hungarian Left. The Workers' Party won less than 4 per cent of the votes and remained outside parliament again, while the Social Democratic Party scored even weaker and sunk into political insignificance. Forming new parties is very unlikely, given the bias of the electoral system against small parties and the lack of resources in radical Left circles.
With more than a third of the seats in the new parliament, MSZP can act as a strong opposition party in the next four years. However, the number of representatives is not the only key to strength. They will have to review much of their policies pursued in the last four years, and they also need to oppose the measures of the new government firmly if they want to return to office in 2002 on a coherent and progressive platform.

1. Jemnitz (1998) is wrong to claim that in 1994 MSZP "won a landslide victory with 54 per cent of the total votes cast." 54 per cent was the eventual percentage of mandates held by the Socialists, but their share in the popular vote was only 33 per cent.
2. The benefit members of parliament enjoy once they formed a faction is that they can be represented in various committees of parliament, they are given more opportunities to speak from the floor, and they have greater room for manoeuvre to influence the agenda of the house.
3. The function of the Constitutional Court is to judge whether a new law is in line with the spirit of the Constitution or not. In their decisions, the Court has displayed a predominantly conservative attitude. It should be noted that the CC of Hungary holds much greater authority and power than any similar bodies in other countries.
4. Much of the entitlements to social benefits abolished by the Socialist-Liberal government (family and child care benefits, free higher education etc.) had supported the middle class primarily. The Horn-government also attempted to impose stricter taxation on the domestic entrepreneurs.
5. MDNP emerged from a split in MDF in 1995. Their prominent politicians, former minister of finance Iván Szabó, former minister of foreign affairs Géza Jeszenszky and former interior minister Imre Kónya presented themselves as the true followers of the Antall legacy.
6. In 1919, Admiral Miklós Horthy announced the seizure of Budapest after defeating the troops of the short-lived Hungarian council republic with the support of the French and Romanian armies.
7. Under the last so-called Communist government lead by Miklós Németh, Martonyi was chairman of the board of directors of the privatisation agency.
8. The state secretary is in charge of the actual operation of the ministerial apparatus. Unlike the minister, he or she is not member of the cabinet, and in principle the state secretary ought not to be replaced when the government is changing.
9. The campaign chief Imre Szekeres was unable to seek re-election as leader of the parliamentary faction. The outgoing speaker of the parliament, Zoltán Gál, was prevented by the faction to become deputy speaker when, after a surprise challenge, former junior minister for the environment Katalin Szili was nominated instead.


Bayer József (1998) Új felvonás, új szerepek, in. Népszabadság, July 11
Jemnitz János (1998) "The Hungarian Socialist Party after Four Years in Power",  Labour Focus on Eastern Europe, No. 59.
Népszabadság (1998) A New York Times Orbán fordulatáról, June 29
The Economist (1998) Is Central Europe, along with Hungary, turning right?  May 30
Wiener György (1998) A 98-as választási paradoxon, in. Népszabadság, June 29

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Renfrey Clark (49/1994) Report on Budapest International Left Conference
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László Andor (52/1995) The Role of the External Debt in Hungary's Transition
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