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War of the clowns

June 11th, 2011

As public expenditure cuts spark protests among more and more categories of employees, including teachers, doctors, bus drivers and locomotive drivers, a pro-government commentator suspects that the protesting policemen are politically motivated.“What kinds of interests may be lingering behind the threats voiced by demonstrating armed forces personnel?”, asks Matild Torkos, an editorial writer in Magyar Nemzet.

The government is planning to cut back the early retirement schemes for personnel of the armed forces, and even while negotiations with the trade unions were still underway, Parliament passed an amendment to the Constitution which opened the way for those changes. When one trade union leader proposed to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán that he discuss the issue with thousands of demonstrators in the square, he replied that “the state secretary responsible for clowns is the competent official in this matter”. Union leaders have now called for “a clowns’ demonstration”, to be held later this month.

Policemen, firemen and soldiers have already staged three angry demonstrations, and according to the commentator, some of their slogans and placards expressed politically motivated hatred. One poster showed human excrement in order to characterize the floor leader of the governing party, another read “you have power in your hands; we have the weaponry”.

“It would perhaps be appropriate for the Interior Minister to dismiss those servicemen who have proved to be unworthy of their uniforms, especially those  voicing threats, within twenty-four hours.”

Row in Brussels over Hungary’s Constitution

An ethnic Hungarian MEP from Slovakia depicted the atmosphere of the debate on the new Hungarian Constitution as war-like, and the pro-government Hungarian commentator described the it as shameful.

In a bitter commentary on the debate, which took place in the European Parliament, Magyar Nemzet’s Brussels correspondent István Lovas contends that “socialists, extreme left wingers and liberals staged an unprecedented ballyhoo”.

Representatives from active monarchies condemned the Hungarian constitution as ‘monarchical’; citizens of countries where there is no “green ombudsman”, complained about the change in the status of Hungary’s environment commissioner; Slovak and Romanian MEPs criticised Hungary for granting citizenship to Hungarians living abroad, while their own countries have been doing so for years.

The commentator also blames Hungarian Socialist MEPs who claimed that European values and democratic liberties are in danger in Hungary, while five years ago the same MEPs condemned their right wing colleagues for staging a hearing in Brussels on police atrocities against demonstrators in Budapest. At that time Socialist MEPs thought Brussels was not the place to discuss Hungarian home affairs.

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