Tuesday, September 19, 2006
It has been a bad week for leaders saying things that have implications far beyond what they suspected. First there was the Pope and his quoting a Byzantine emperor to make a point (I am no fan of Benedict XVI but I do feel a bit of sympathy for him, however careless his comment might have been) and now there is Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany, who has been caught on tape admitting that he and his Socialist Party lied to win the elections in April, sparking rioting the likes of which has not been seen since the fall of Communism. Reading the transcript of Gyurscany's peroration I do not see the fuss, as it is more of a frank admission of failure and a civic-minded resolution to ameliorate the country's economy. Should he resign for admitting that he lied? Some might say yes but the outrage here seems to be directed more at the admission of guilt rather than the lie itself. It was probably something he should have kept to himself; the disclosure has rather the effect a detailed avowal of one's sexual predilictions might have. The fault here in any case is mild enough compared to what was committed by fascist and socialist regimes in Hungary throughout the twentieth century. I do not know enough about Hungarian politics or society to ascertain the Gyurcsany government's real guilt but surely the Parliament can dispose of it by a simple vote of no confidence?