Jun 202010

Hungary’s right-wing FIDESZ political party achieved a two thirds parliamentary majority this spring, ending eight years of Socialist rule.

Many predicted that once FIDESZ was in power, especially with a two thirds majority that allows them to modify the country’s constitution without opposition support, they will turn their back on democracy. While I had no illusions about the FIDESZ leader, Viktor Orban (he may be portraying himself as the leader of pro-democracy, anti-Communist forces but all too often, his behavior and mannerisms remind me of the country’s pre-1989 Kadar-era elite), I had no such worries: political parties come and go, but 20 years after the collapse of Communism, the democratic institutions of Hungary, a member of the European Union, seemed solid and stable.

Now I am not so certain. FIDESZ introduced a media bill in Parliament that seems to confirm some of the worst fears of their opponents. Is Orban really aspiring to become Europe’s next Lukasenko? I wish I could answer that question with a firm negative.

I keep telling myself that I should not care. I live in Canada, and while I may occasionally doubt Stephen Harper’s prowess as Prime Minister, I have no reason to doubt his commitment to democracy. So why should I care about what happens in a teeny little country in the backwaters of Europe, full of delusions of grandeur and outdated, obsolete political ideals worshiped by its “Christian middle class”?

And, truth to tell, I care less and less. I still care because my parents live there and might suffer as a result of a government gone berserk. And, I occasionally meet Hungarian expats here who don’t realize that 1956 was more than half a century ago as they celebrate the “defeat of the Reds”. (Replaying a revolution that never happened was a recurring theme in the FIDESZ political rhetoric, too.) Other than that… if the majority of Hungarians really believe that this is the route to the country’s salvation, well, enjoy.

 Posted by at 3:23 pm