Nothing new under the Hungarian Sun…
Reporting about green results at elections in Hungary traditionally consists of explaining why not. Therefore I will skip this part of the story. It is hardly likely that I would find any excuse or factor that hasn’t been cited yet.
The Hungarian green voters could find themselves in a dilemma or even trilemma of choosing a party to support, but “luckily” the Hungarian Young Greens (more intimately ZöFi) knew all of them well enough to support the Common European Green Party Campaign with all our hearts but avoid all contacts with the so-called Green Parties in our country. The fights to prove who is the “real” Green Party offer strong associations with the Monty Python’s classic film, Life of Brian, unfortunately these competitions remain on the verbal level.
The green movement has become more active than ever. This year we have organised the Human Peace-Sign Action in Heroes’ Square. It was a huge international pacifist action on the anniversary of the strike against Iraq. A series of actions to prevent Zengő Hill, which is a proposed Site of Community Importance for biodiversity under Natura 2000 from becoming a NATO base. This Zengő movement, has been extremely successful, gained a lot of support from the public and the media and eventually managed to reach its goal. This is just to mention the biggest and most popular actions.
Thus there were plenty of opportunities for the “Green Parties” to prove their green devotedness, which unfortunately did not happen. The conservative – nationalist greens, the Social Greens and the Alliance of Green Democrats (new name and old results), as mentioned above, were also campaigning against each other (Eastern European Syndrome), which reduced their chances even further.
The message of the Alliance of Green Democrats for the Hungarian voters did not exceed the otherwise clear and original pan-European Green Common Campaign. The Alliance campaign, without any local references or voices gained nothing but the prospect of a few random protest votes. The slogan, “Watch The Day After Tomorrow and vote for the Greens” offers a huge temptation for various kinds of silly jokes, “Watch Terminator 3 and vote for the Socialists”. In any case the whole campaign seemed a mess of slogans, not connected to each other nor any of the activities and priorities of the Party. The Party programme lacked priority issues, and the whole block of Western green principles could be unclear and confusing for a hesitant voter. The coalition partners of the Alliance are
changing so quickly that it has become impossible to follow, especially since some of them are fictive partners, like the National Green Movement or some organisations no-one has ever heard of. While others became their opponents in just a couple of months. The leader of their list was Bertalan Farkas, the Hungarian astronaut, who was very popular at the time, but has never been active in politics.
And if astronauts go to parliament, why can’t it be the other way around? It has therefore been no surprise that the Party was not even able collect the minimum of 20 000 signatures, which is the precondition for creating a national list at the EP elections in Hungary.
The movement on the other hand has been more active than ever in the past few years. It has even been able to communicate the interconnectedness of environmental issues with pacifism, protection of human rights, minority rights, and active citizenship. A network of green and alternative organisations, Lehet Más a Világ which translates as Another World is Possible, has been established; it has partners throughout Europe, is an active participant of the European Social Forum and is proclaiming the Charter of Principles drawn up in Porto Alegre. Hopefully, in the near future this environment will eventually be able to provide the background for a Green political force growing out
from the grassroots movement and thus having the support of the movement itself. One that exists not only in paper, which knows no compromises when it is about principles, and is able to address the wide public. The rôle or responsibility of the Green Group and the EGP should be also considered.
They have been insisting on giving support to the Alliance of Green Democrats, ignoring all facts, results, opinions and analyses, and while one can blame local conditions once, twice, maybe up to four times, no conspiracy theory can be valid for 10 years long.