Eastern European autocrats pose new test for democracy

2013. augusztus 13. 16:52

Ian Traynor
The Guardian
Like Putin and Erdoğan, Orban also views politics as a zero sum game in which the winner takes all.

"While the different countries vary hugely in their politics, the strongmen leaders tend to exhibit strikingly similar characteristics and often resort to identical tactics. Orbán, Erdoğan, and Putin all head political parties or elites very much focused on and dominated by the leader.

Molnár describes Orbán's approach to policymaking as follows: "There might be some very limited discussion, but I'm telling you the result, and I'm doing it for the good of my country."

Like Putin and Erdoğan, Orban also views politics as a zero sum game in which the winner takes all. Opponents are reviled as extremists and traitors. Whether genuinely believed or used simply as a populist tactic, paranoia about foreign plots is regularly invoked to disarm critics. Nationalist rhetoric is used to brand opponents as unpatriotic puppets of foreign powers.

"There is an anti-Hungarian campaign," says Enikő Győri, the minister for European affairs.. "Foreign businesses are going to Brussels to complain about new taxes. Some in Europe say we're reducing democracy. It's not true. But the new constitution, plus the speed of reform and legislation, is seen as politically incorrect in Europe. Our critics say stupid things and that provokes anti-EU sentiment."

She sees Orbán as a visionary leader bent on restoring Hungary to regional prominence and arresting a long process of national decline."

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