- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Right in Hungary

Ibolya David placed principle over politics when she rejected a proposal from another party in Hungary that would have handed her conservative Hungarian Democratic Forum the prime ministership last year.

Mrs. David, the party leader, explained that the cost was too high. Her party would have had to compromise on key principles with the Young Democratic Alliance, a much larger but more moderate party.

The decision resulted in a second term for the Socialist Party but a political bonanza for her forum when Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany said he lied to the public to win re-election. Instead of lower taxes, higher pay and greater spending on social programs, the Socialists delivered higher taxes, lower pay and budget cuts.

“You can make big promises and excite expectations, but there will come a point where you have to deliver and a point for getting sober,” she told Embassy Row yesterday at the residence of Hungarian Ambassador Andras Simonyi.

“The Hungarian government discovered that last year. The prime minister stood up and said, ‘We have to do the opposite of what we promised.’ ”

Mrs. David said her forum, known by its Hungarian initials as MDF, benefited from the Socialists’ blunder by increasing their popular support in opinion polls.

“Support for the MDF rose the most,” she said. “First people realize this is a party that says the same thing before the election as afterwards. … Our strategy is to prove politics can be done in a different way.”

The MDF first held power after the collapse of communism but lost in the 1994 elections. Many of its members defected to the Young Democratic Alliance. The MDF formed a coalition with the alliance and returned to power in 1999, when Mrs. David served as justice minister.

The Socialists won in 2002 and 2006, when Mrs. David broke the center-right coalition and ran her candidates under their own banner. The MDF won 5 percent of the vote, which gave them 11 seats in the 386-member parliament.

She was in Washington to make contacts with Americans on the political right and form a trans-Atlantic alliance of U.S. and European conservatives. Among her meetings, she visited the Heritage Foundation, the International Republican Institute, administration officials and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Mrs. David said her party endorses the principles of “limited government, free markets, individual responsibility, individual freedom and Judeo-Christian values.”

First lady tulip

The Dutch know how to treat a lady, especially the first lady of the United States.

Tomorrow, Ambassador Christiaan Mark Johan Kroner will present Laura Bush with a vase of tulips named in her honor.

“Tulipa Laura Bush” is a pink flower with soft white accents, originally named for her at a ceremony at the Dutch ambassador’s residence in April 2004.

Mr. Kroner yesterday told editors and reporters during lunch at The Washington Times that the White House ceremony will be part of the commemoration of 225 years of diplomatic relations between the Netherlands and the United States.

“We were the first to recognize the United States,” he said.

Mr. Kroner praised the “genius” of John Adams, whom the Continental Congress sent to the Netherlands in 1781 to negotiate a loan and establish diplomatic relations. Adams, who later served as the second president, faced opposition initially from the Dutch government but won the support of the people of the Netherlands when he appealed to them as citizens of a fellow republic. The Netherlands established relations in April 1782 and later granted the United States a badly needed loan to help pay off debts accumulated in the American Revolution.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison@ washingtontimes.com.

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