Sunday, March 09, 2008

Super Sunday!

It's not just in the FA Cup that the underdogs are routing the plutocrats this weekend: the rich and powerful are getting a bloody nose in the European political arena too.

In the Hungarian referendum, there has been a resounding victory for anti-government forces. With around 93% of votes counted, 84.46 have voted 'yes' to scrap hospital visit fees, 82.2% to scrap doctor's visit fees and 82.64% to scrap tuition fees. The result is a massive blow to the ruling MSZP/SDZSZ coalition neoliberal 'reform' programme, and makes the position of the hated, multi-millionaire Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany (above) untenable.

Meanwhile in France, Nicolas Sarkozy's ruling UMP party has suffered major losses in the local elections. And in Spain, exit polls indicate that the progressive, anti-war government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero will be relected.

If we add to these three positive events, yesterday's news from Serbia that Prime Minister Kostunica has finally told his fanatically pro-EU, pro-'reform' coalition partners to take a running jump- then it really has been a weekend to savour.


Gibepregiba said...

Kostunica finally did something smart, although he should done that a year ago, now is too late.

I cant believe, that, Hungarian Prime Minister thought he could won this referendum?!

Sarkozy is idiot. Good thing is that now French people also aware of that fact.

Karl Naylor said...

'With around 93% of votes cast, 84.46have voted 'yes' to scrap hospital visit fees...'

But what proportion of the population has turned out ? This is the really important statistic.

Most of those who turned out did so to vote against the MszP government.

But those who are apathetic or don't care won't vote.

Orban sees this as a moral victory but even he now says that it won't bring the government down.

That leaves everything until 2010 before voters can get rid of Gyurscany.

That's why he made the fatous comment about the man down the gym not being an Einstein but knowing more than Orban.

Obviously, I hope this does make the position of Gyurscany untenable but we'll have to see how the vote represents the total number of the possible electorate.

Karl Naylor said...

Here is some breaking news

'In the binding referendum, citizens could cast «yes» or «no» on whether to eliminate co-payments for doctor's visits
and hospital stays, and tuition fees in higher education.
With 90 percent of the votes counted, results showed a turnout of 49.8 percent _ with more than 80 percent casting ballots rejecting all three fees.

Political analyst Gabor Torok called the relatively high turnout 'surprising' and interpreted the results as an overall rejection of the government's policies.

«This is a total victory for the initiators of the referendum and a total failure for the government,
Torok said on state television.'

So yes, a moral victory but it still leaves half the population undecided. Gyurscany has also planned tax cuts conveniently for 2009 , just a year before the elections. And 3 years after he lied in that secret speech.

Charlie Marks said...

Great news, indeed. Add to all this the growth of Die Linke in Germany, and it looks as if the tide could be about to turn against neoliberalism...

Neil Clark said...

gibepregiba: agreed on all three counts.
karl: thanks for the latest; of course it is an 'overall rejection of the govts policies'. If there were an election tomorrow the MSZP would stuggle to get more than 15% and the SZDSZ wouldn't get into parliament. The Hungarian people have had enough.
charlie: yes, things are looking very positive in Germany too. I honestly believe that the tide is turning.

Anonymous said...

I hope you're right Neil. There's nothing to suggest that's the case here at the moment. The nationalisation of Northern Rock could well just be a straw in the wind.

But the referenda in Hungary sound like a good idea. Perhaps we could get one running?

Charlie Marks said...

Electoral reform often gets bogged down in the merits of various PR systems - a vital and progressive reform to the electoral system would be the ability to vote on legislation rather than just for legislation. Citizen initiated referenda and people's vetoes are definitely the way to go...

And I forgot to mention, the election of a communist President in Cyprus... An event so bemusing I spent a whole sunday wondering if I had slipped into an alternate universe.