Creating a facade

  • April 16, 2022
  • István

We might remember that the OSCE decided to employ a full observer mission as usually only happens in undemocratic states. So Orbán employed another trick he learned from Putin.

There has been no example in the history that a government of an EU member states invited friendly observers to an election. Such practices we know so far from authoritarian countries such as Russia and Azerbaijan, which regularly use fraudulent election observers to clean up cheating in elections and legitimise illegal referendums, according to a recent report by the European Platform for Democratic Elections EPDE.

The German foreign ministry and the EU financial support panel recalled that FIDESZ decided that regarding the expected criticism of the OSCE mission should be countered by a favourable assessment of organisations and politicians ideologically close to it.

Before we voted on April 3 Orbán called dozens of friendly politicians, journalists and civil activists into the country as election observers. As expected, they praised the conduct of the elections and made clear political statements in favour of the PM.

Incidentally Hungarian Political Capital institute also stated that the verification of incomplete elections and referendums with false independent international election observers is also an integral part of the Kremlin’s strategy.

The current EPDE has been operating in Warsaw since 2012 and aims to contribute to democratic electoral processes all across Europe. The deployment of biased inspectors in Hungary “clearly marked the end of the OSCE / ODIHR, one of the most reliable and influential election observation organisations and strengthened the Hungarian government’s narrative of foreign intervention in elections,” the EPDE report said.

The Hungarian authorities invited two groups of friendly election observers: Members of political organisations linked to FIDESZ, from the political right to the far right. Among them were politicians from the Vlaams Belang (earlier Vlaams Blok) in Belgium, Vox in Spain, the Italian Lega (Lega Nord) and Fratelli d’Italia, the French Rassemblement National (better known as Front National) of Le Pen, the Austrian FPÖ and the Slovenian Democratic Party. With a few exceptions, these are the parties with which FIDESZ has previously tried to forge a European alliance. The EPDE knows that some friendly election observers have been invited to Hungary by the Christian Democratic Institute, founded by FIDESZ.

In addition to the parties, an 18-member delegation from the Polish ultraconservative think tank Ordo Iuris, also close to the Orbán government, also monitored the elections, as reported by Zoltán Kovács, the international spokesman of the regime, on Twitter.

The mission of the Ordo Iuris was to challenge the OSCE criticism of the Hungarian elections. Following the publication of the Interim Report of the international organisation on 21 March 2022, the Polish Institute issued a statement alleging that the OSCE report violated the “principle of impartiality and non-interference” and “violated neutrality”, and should be considered as “deliberate interference in the elections”.

As expected, friendly politicians also made commendatory statements. The EPDE report quotes Branko Grims from the ruling Slovenian Democratic Party, who not only called the conduct of the elections “impeccable”, but said Viktor Orbán “represents real, traditional European values ​​that would be swept aside by liberal politics”.

Népszava has collected these facts ►HU, just it remains the central question who might be impressed if Le Pen of French Front National or Kickl of Austria’s Freedom Party praise the democracy made by Orbán. It is just Putin pure within the EU. In a country where even 25 % of voters of Unity for Hungary believe in the regime propaganda international observers aren’t needed for brainwashing.

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Istvan (Chicago)
Istvan (Chicago)
April 16, 2022 17:11

I want to thank Istvan for mentioning the possibility of Le Pen’s election victory in France. Le Pen has already signaled that she would take French troops out of NATO’s integrated command — where various national armies contribute to a force led by generals answering to the alliance.

Given that there is a real possibility at some point Putin could actually get into a military conflict with Poland in particular, have as large as possible conventional NATO response is critical. France still maintains the 6th largest military in the world and has around 260 nuclear warheads that could be launched.

All of the readers on this blog are aware that Orban would be thrilled to see Le Pen in power and it could allow him to continue his dance with Russia with the possibility of not being fully dominated by Putin. Le Pen has pushed back against calls to cut off purchases of Russian gas like Orban, warning that such a move would be suicidal for French businesses, even while other European countries have announced plans to phase out purchases from Russia in the coming years.

The domestic reality of a declining standard of living in France due to inflation, as is happening here in the USA too. President Biden’s polling numbers are terrible due to inflation and shortages of many consumer products, and the Republicans are anticipating taking over Congress. The Republicans have no tools to easily fix inflation without massive increases in interest rates that well could create a recession either.

My impression is that popular support for Ukraine in its war for survival continues in the USA, but the idea that the war could continue for a good while is not good for Americans who want things done immediately and really were exhausted by our middle eastern wars. I can’t determine the sentiment in France, but playing the Orban card of staying out of danger has an appeal to the masses. The French have been fighting a long term war against Islamic terror in Africa for years now, that too can wear a society down.

All these isolationists of the right are delusional, there can be no appeasement of Putin. He wants the great Russian empire back even if he gets shot in the process by his own generals and security services.

April 16, 2022 18:28

Current polling average:
Marcron 54%
Le Pen 46%

Estimate by the Financial Times:
Macron: 43.5%
Le Pen: 40.5%
Uncertain: 16.0%

My calculation from the first round:

Macron + endorsed Macron (Pecress, Jadot, Hidalgo)
= 9.786 + (1.679+1.628+0.617) = 13.710 million

Far right

Le Pen + Zemmour = 8.136 + 2.486 = 10.622 million

Far left

Melenchon + other left-wingers (Roussel, Poutou, Arthaud)
= 7.715 +0.803 + 0.269 + 0.197 = 8.984 million

Melenchon said after the first round: “do not vote for Le Pen”,
but did not say: ‘vote for Macron’

The questions is what % of the left-wingers will be persuaded by Le Pen’s freshly minted left-wing rhetoric?

April 16, 2022 18:40
Reply to  tappanch

More precisely:

Macron: 13.706 = 9.783 + (1.679+1.628+0.616)
Far right: 10.619 =  8.134+2.485
Far left: 8.981 = 7.713 +0.802 + 0.269 + 0.197

April 16, 2022 19:45
Reply to  tappanch

Dupont-Aignan (0.725 million voters) is also a supporter of Le Pen in the second round.

So far right: 11.344 = 8.134+2.485 + 0.725

Don Kichote
Don Kichote
April 16, 2022 19:29

Hmm …

Michael Detreköy
Michael Detreköy
April 16, 2022 19:51

The main reason for Le Pen’s increased support is the combination of a much more effective and broader campaign (compared to earlier), in which she tones down the multi-phobic far right rhetoric. That trick won a large part of the Republican party’s voters over on her side. While at the same time, Macron hasn’t really campaigned up to the preliminaries, which made many of his voters from the last election hesitant to vote for him, or vote at all.

Last edited 2 years ago by Michael Detreköy
April 16, 2022 21:39

You are right, Michael. The French system was designed by de Gaulle in the late 50s when due to many factors France fell apart and the great man agreed to return to save the Nation, but on his terms. There is still no stable and established party structure. They vote for a President who may not even have a party. What is the point of electing a President who cannot even put together a Parliamentary majority in the elections in June? We have seen this before and we know the problems it generates from the US.
Thank you for your analysis of the figures. It suggests a comfortable but not overwhelming win for Macron. It is however very difficult to understand the reasons behind the needless complexity of French politics. It maybe due to the fact that it is a hugely agricultural country. There are big cities and industries but many people live simple country lives.

Michael Detreköy
Michael Detreköy
April 17, 2022 02:56
Reply to  Robert

The French are still basically a conservative people, in the traditional western sense. They prefer (broad) national agendas and an open political dialogue, where widely different views materialise and gain due recognition.
During De Gaulle, the resulting high-strung discussions (with accompanying demonstrations) usually ended in generally acceptable compromises, balanced by his dominant and strict focus on national (and global Francophone) economic premises. After he retired, the left gained more ground.
Time has reduced the broader French national lines to (almost) strictly European (where they make money) and North African (where they lose money) topics. De Gaulle is long gone.
Today, a speaker who before would have to write extensively to the press, or speak frequently in broad public in order to establish a platform, can just hire an internet media-consultant for massive exposition of anything, regardless of substance. In today’s media world – that difference costs votes.
In Hungary – The people and civil society in general, are 100+ years behind the French, regarding education, civil organisation and debates.
The Hungarian media-consultants have near-total control in Hungary and the “national cause” is a 100 year old conspiracy theory.

April 17, 2022 17:31

Hmmmm.. I’m certain that many French people would disagree with your description of them as ‘conservative’ (I’m not sure that the ‘traditional western sense’ means), especailly given that one of the founding moments of the French state was the storming of the Bastille amongst other revolutionary actions, and given that their practical politics have consistently been shaped by a revolutionary spirit (1968 and Gilets Jeunes etc…) many would think that the last thing they are is conservative. I’m not sure that support for the populist/fascist right is reflective of a conservative spirit at all… Le Pen manages to dress up her politics in terms of an imagined ‘traditional’ social order (rather like OV) but a basically conservative culture? No.

April 17, 2022 11:52

The problem with Marine Le Pen is no so much today but in 5 years when Macron ends his second term (provided he wins the second round) and cannot run again. Le Pen will be in the best position to win unless some unexpected new candidate appears but at this given moment in time, no one can challenge her: the traditional parties Les Républicains and Parti socialiste failed miserably. Mélenchon (La France insoumise, not far from the far left) might be running again but his position regarding the EU and NATO are pretty much the same as Le Pen’s. You still have plenty of far-right politicians other than Rassemblement national like Éric Zemmour or Nicolas Dupont-Aignan. A grim perspective in any case…

April 17, 2022 13:12
Reply to  theestampe

Five years is an eternity in politics. I have no idea who, but we can be pretty sure that a candidate of the centre will be running next time too.
Le Pen family have become a fixture of Presidential races. It speaks volumes for their staying power and for the consistency of the support for their, admittedly evolving, view of French politics. Orban’s election in Hungary is both a nuisance and a disappointment. Le Pen’s election would herald a national and international catastrophe. The French population includes far too many people who approach to life, society and the state makes their nation so unattractive in so many ways.
I was lining up at a French Airport to check in. I arrived at about the same time as a young couple. The lady allowed me to go first. I thanked her and said, you are obviously not French which she confirmed in an accent that was unmistakable Home Counties. I explained that I found the French queuing approach somewhat curious. Her anglicised but French husband told me that it worked perfectly well. Unfortunately he could not explain how a system could approve of those who arrive second come first. I am still none the wiser.
i could carry on, but perhaps those of us who cannot understand the persistence of Le Pen’s support might remember the above anecdote. Another example is the suggestion of reducing pension age from an already unrealistic 62 to 60 with an ageing population and shrinking budgetary resources.
Macron must pull out all the stops. The French represent a big enough problem without Le Pen as President already.

April 16, 2022 17:11

The list of parties which sent observers is almost funny.
Now every sane person knows
Wes Geistes Kind they are.
A bit OT:
After the election in France next Sunday we’ll know more about the extreme right wing in the EU. I just hope LePen will not win.

April 16, 2022 17:32

Only 3.58% of the refugees who entered Hungary from Ukraine declared their intention to stay in Hungary by requesting refugee status there.

(16,254 out of 454,098)


From the European Union, Hungary will receive / has received 300 million euros for them

300 million /16254 = 18,457 euro/refugee.

The number of refugees fleeing Ukraine exceeded 4.8 million on April 15, 2022

Poland         2.745 million
Romania+Moldova:   0.797 *
Russia:      0.485
Hungary:      0.454
Slovakia:      0.333
Belarus:      0.023

Total:         4.837 million

* from Ukraine to Romania 0.313,
 from Ukraine to Moldavia to Romania 0.420,
 from Ukraine to Moldavia and still in Moldavia 0.065

Source: UNHCR

April 16, 2022 17:42
Reply to  tappanch

Refugees entering from Turkey & Africa,
from January 1 to April 10, 2022:

0.020 million


Spain: 8,944 (including 6,078 landing on the Canary Islands)
Italy: 7,826 (including 6,812 landing on Lampedusa or Sicily)
Greece: 2,204 (including 1,064 crossing the Evros land border)
Cyprus: 589

Source: UNHCR

Dominic A
Dominic A
April 22, 2022 09:39
Reply to  tappanch

Thank you Tappanch, posted on Twitter

April 16, 2022 18:01

Advisor to the Ukrainian president, M. Podolyak:

“#1 Ukraine asks Europe for weapons
#2 Europeans support the call
#3 European Union gives Ukraine the weapons, [but] not the one we asked for
#4 Weapons take too long to arrive.

Democracy won’t win form playing this game.
Ukraine needs weapons
Not in a month.

April 16, 2022 20:10

Invalid votes in the 2022 Hungarian elections.

Among the voters with Hungarian address (list ballots)

1.04% = 56,483 / 5,443,509
(52.15% = 2,809,238 / 5,387,026 of the valid votes were for FiDeSz)

Among the voters without Hungarian address, aka “mail-in”

0.22% = 582 / 268,416
(93.89% = 251,468 / 267,834 of the valid votes were for FiDeSz)

April 9, 2022,
1,086 invalid ballots among 265,117 ballots found
April 16, 2022
582 invalid ballots among 268,416 ballots found

The difference to award the 135th seat in Parliament to Fidesz and not to Mi Hazank is 91478-91364 = 114 votes !

There was ONE day to appeal the result, and the Orban-packed court rejected it.

April 17, 2022 09:56

Istvan Ch 17.11

On military issues:
According to creíble (opposition) Russian analysts there is little probability or none that the military or even the security establishment would topple Putin:
there is no such tradition (or precedent, afair) in Russian history,
Putin put the FSB under his control by replacing its high officers.

It was also mentioned that the scenario of using a tactical nuclear strike on NATO TERRITORY has been long ago played in gen.staff games, aimed at scaring off NATO from any intervention in Russian actions in the “close abroad”. (IMO The assumption of a fearful NATO to be easily scared has lost weight recently).
They also exclude the option of a nuclear strike.

An ex military suggested that the Ukra should drop the hopeless defense of Mariupol, which lays in flat, open country perfectly suited for armored units operations which are the Russians’ basic strength. Instead the Ukr should strike in a destination of their choice and with a victory there would balance the score in every sense.

Economics analysts stated that many of Russian industries are so dependent on western components or technologies that the effects of the sanctions will be felt everywhere – from paper to passenger cars to tank production, eg. the latter uses French made aiming systems.
Serious problems in missiles production were mentioned as the Russians are depleting their arsenals.

Last edited 2 years ago by Observer
Michael Detreköy
Michael Detreköy
April 17, 2022 17:18

According to French investigative Mediapart, an OLAF report holds Le Pen personally responsible for embezzling 136.993,99 euros of public funds, while holding a seat in the EP between 2004 and 2017. (It’s in French, but Google translates well enough).

Argent public : un rapport accuse Marine Le Pen de détournements, l… | Mediapart

April 17, 2022 20:01

This is a BBC report:
A huge queue of trucks has formed on the Poland-Belarus border as Russian and Belarussian drivers try to leave the EU following a sanctions deadline.
In the run-up to the Saturday deadline, the line extended to 80km (60 miles), with some stuck for up to 33 hours.
The EU has banned lorries from Russia and Belarus – except those carrying medicine, mail or petroleum products – from entering or staying in the bloc.
The move is part of sanctions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Does anyone know if there are similar queues at Zahony?

Michael Detreköy
Michael Detreköy
April 17, 2022 23:52
Reply to  Robert

The line has built up over the last 3 weeks. Belarusian haulers have taken a great deal of east-bound loads, sold to the cheapest, but now that they are out of bounds, they have to come home. The question remains – will they be able to actually make money enough to pay the 10-year loans for the trucks in Belarus/Russia?

Last edited 2 years ago by Michael Detreköy
April 18, 2022 07:54

Totally OT but interesting
The Guardian has a report on life expectancy of women with a graph for the OECD countries.
Their point is that in poorest parts of England’s it is 7 years less than in the rich parts.
Of all countries Mexico is last and then —- Hungary!!!
Sorry, can’t find the link, just Google it.

April 18, 2022 12:24
Reply to  Wolfi7777

the full article “Women in England’s poorest areas die younger than in most OECD countries”

and here’s the graph showing the almost shortest life expectancy for women in Hungary [compared to other OECD countries]

female life expectancy in the [former] V4 in order:
Czech 81.9 years
Poland 81.7 years
Slovakia 80.7 years
Hungary 79.7 years