Hungarians impatiently await promised "fairy tale"

2012. szeptember 19. 10:00
Krisztina Than | Gergely Szakacs
For Hungarians queuing up to work abroad, the government's promise to achieve a "fairy tale" of national prosperity soon is precisely that – more a fantasy than a realistic possibility.

"Only time will tell if Orban's policies, dismissed by some opponents as 'voodoo economics', will achieve their aim of creating many new jobs, reducing tax evasion and eventually boosting consumption. Orban, a founding member of Fidesz shortly before the fall of communism, divides opinion not only over his economic policies. To his allies and supporters, he is a strong leader with a strategic vision who wants to put Hungary on new foundations to outlast Europe's crisis.

'He does not make ad hoc decisions. He has a long-term idea and he never makes decisions without having a strategy behind them. You just can't always know if it will work out well in the end,' said a government source, on condition of anonymity. Opponents see Orban as a reckless daredevil who is putting Hungary's economy and international standing at risk. With a firm hand, Orban has solidified the power of Fidesz – which began as a radical student group before shifting over the years to the right – in ways that critics say have eroded democratic checks and balances.

The government has consistently rejected such charges, but the passing of a media law which critics say could be used to curb press freedom provoked a dispute with the European Commission. Curbs on the Constitutional Court's jurisdiction have also proved contentious, while tens of thousands of Hungarians rallied in January to call for the removal of the man they called the 'Viktator' after the constitution had been rewritten. A few weeks later a pro-government rally attracted 100,000 people, showing Orban remains popular among his core supporters."

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