Democracy distorted in Hungary

2014. március 13. 15:08
Michael Shirrefs
ABC.net.au
How Hungary went from having one of the most admired legal systems in the world to the most worrying symbol of democratic decline in Europe.

„Ultra-nationalism, anti-Semitism, censorship and violent intimidation: Michael Shirrefs reports on how Hungary went from having one of the most admired legal systems in the world to the most worrying symbol of democratic decline in Europe.

The European Union was founded on the belief that all members wanted to distance themselves from the sorts of conflicts and closed regimes that defined much of the 20th Century. Yet Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is presiding over a state that proves that this assumption was naïve, and that Europe was ill-prepared for the cascading side-effects of a crippling economic crisis.

Orbán has been here before. He was Prime Minister of Hungary from 1998 to 2002, but this time it's different. In 2010 his right wing Fidesz Party was able to gain a more than two-thirds majority in parliament due to the quirks of the country's electoral system. As a result, he has been able to unlock the Hungary's constitution and reconfigure it to fit his ideological agenda. A two-thirds majority means that he can effectively bypass the opposition. (...)

Orban has been playing to a domestic audience and fuelling rising mainstream nationalist sentiment. He's also been engaging in a dangerous game with the country's far-Right Jobbik Party and the myriad racist militias that swirl around it. As a result, in addition to the sorts of endemic anti-Roma and anti-refugee violence and intimidation that have plagued Europe, Hungary has displayed the sort of public anti-Semitism that hasn't been witnessed on the continent since the end of the Second World War. It's the worst sort of nightmare for a Europe that had hoped these spectres had been well-and-truly exorcised.”

 

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