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Self-critical reactions to Sólyom’s speech

August 10th, 2012

In his analysis of the left-wing reception of former president László Sólyom’s recent criticism of government policies, a Marxist philosopher calls his fellow left-wingers intolerant, while a conservative columnist admits that the right-wing press is silent because it would find it difficult to challenge Mr Sólyom’s verdict.

As BudaPost reported earlier this week (See BudaPost, August 7), former president László Sólyom called the policies and the legislative practice of the government majority ‘reckless’, and in defiance of Hungarian and international law. Left-wing commentators suggested that he did not go far enough in his criticism of the right-wing government.

In Heti Világgazdaság, Marxist philosopher Gáspár Miklós Tamás scorns the left-wing press for expecting “full repentance” from the conservative former president, instead of appreciating his critical attitude. “If our centre left is as intolerant as this, what can we expect from them if they return to power?,” Tamás asks. He also remarks that the right wing press keeps conspicuously silent on the matter.

Silence can be rather eloquent sometimes,” writes Heti Válasz’s, András Stumpf in a reaction to Tamás’s comment.  In Sólyom’s case, it means that the right-wing press probably thinks the former president is right on many issues. Stumpf quotes unnamed right-wing opinion makers who tend to agree with most of what Sólyom said. He himself believes nevertheless that the former president should have explained why he thought the planned voter registration system violates the Basic Law and the European Human Rights Charter, and why he suggested that recent anti-constitutional decisions taken by the new Romanian government are similar to some of the controversial legislation enacted by the Hungarian parliament. In any case, the former president has proved that “criticism is not tantamount to treason,” Stumpf continues.  Sólyom’s ideas are worthy of broad public debate, he suggests.

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