Budapest autumn: hollowing out democracy on the edge of Europe

2014-10-30 11:13:46

Ian Traynor
The Guardian
The number one item on Orbán’s destroy list appears to be the western democratic model.

„In a time of collapsing public confidence in the political classes across Europe, Orbán can claim to be unique – a gifted, popular strongman with the most formidable electoral mandate in the EU. Untroubled by a fragmented and morally bankrupt centre-left opposition, Orbán led his rightwing Fidesz to a landslide victory in 2010. He coasted to a second term last April, won the European elections in May and in October took control of virtually every town and city in Hungary in local elections.

Highly unusually, he has a two-thirds parliamentary majority, meaning that the vast Westminster lookalike on the banks of the Danube in Budapest is a rubber stamp. After his election hat-trick this year, he need not face the voters again until 2018. He shows every sign of using that time to reshape Hungary.
The only organised opposition are the neo-fascists of the Jobbik party on the far right, suggesting that the opposition on the streets this week might challenge Orbán but not really threaten him. (...)
The number one item on Orbán’s destroy list appears to be the western democratic model. In an infamous speech to supporters in Romania in July, he declared the western model dead and cited the authoritarian regimes of Russia, China, Turkey and Singapore as the templates to follow. »We are parting ways with western European dogmas, making ourselves independent from them,« he declared. »We have to abandon liberal methods and principles of organising a society. The new state that we are building is an illiberal state, a non-liberal state.«
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