MSZP’s Karácsony and Molnár in Transylvania. A waste of time

Among the left-of-center opposition parties it is only the Demokratikus Koalíció (DK) that openly opposes extending voting rights to those people in the neighboring countries who acquired citizenship as the result of a registration drive organized by the Orbán government in the last five or six years. The others all join Fidesz in embracing the unity of the Hungarian nation across borders, which carries the right to vote as a given, and they openly disapprove of DK’s anti-voting-rights rhetoric. Critics maintain that Ferenc Gyurcsány and his party are only taking … Read the rest

The Financial Times in the crosshairs of the Orbán government

On January 15 a lengthy, detailed article appeared in The Financial Times written by Neil Buckley, the paper’s Eastern European editor, and Andrew Byrne, its correspondent for Hungary, Romania, and the Western Balkans.

The article, titled “The rise and rise of Viktor Orbán,” spans the life of the Hungarian prime minister, from his childhood and his anti-communism as a university student to his long political career at the head of the party he and his fellow students founded in 1988. The article reflects a solid familiarity with its subject and, … Read the rest

Picking a fight with the United Nations

Viktor Orbán, at his regular biweekly radio interview two weeks ago, on January 19, without any prodding from the reporter, began talking about the United Nations’ migrant policy. He warned his audience that the UN is contemplating the introduction of programs that would “assist worldwide migration.” This is a danger that the Hungarian government must tackle, and therefore the national security cabinet will get together to discuss the matter, which is “contrary to the interests of Hungary.” He added that the United States had already sensed the dangers inherent in … Read the rest

Hungary is again near the bottom of the list. This time it’s healthcare

The Health Consumer Powerhouse just released its “Euro Health Consumer Index” (EHCI) for 2017, and Hungary ranks near the bottom of the list of 31 countries in Europe. Sharing the honor with Poland, the country is in 29th place with a score of 584 out of 100. Hungary managed to fall behind even Montenegro (623 points) and Albania (596 points). Only Romania, Lithuania, and Greece scored worse than Hungary.

Let me quote what the authors of the EHCI had to say about the reasons for the disastrous performance of … Read the rest

Chinks in Fidesz’s political armor

There is great excitement in opposition circles because today HVG published Medián’s latest opinion poll on the current standing of Hungarian political parties. Medián, which has the reputation of being the most reliable polling company, came out with results that seem to indicate that the solid, abnormally high public support for Fidesz-KDNP has suffered a considerable setback.

Medián’s previous polling results were published on December 13 with a rather depressing title: “The voting blocks are frozen and the opposition is increasingly disliked.” Fidesz at that point had the support of … Read the rest

Austria as an ally of Orbán’s Hungary?

Viktor Orbán’s planned meeting yesterday with Sebastian Kurz, Austria’s youthful new chancellor, was made public almost a week ago which, given the secretiveness of the Orbán government, was quite unusual. As for the physical trip itself, the Hungarian prime minister opted for an ordinary train ride between Budapest and Vienna. But one of his Volkswagen minibuses was waiting for him in the Austrian capital. A strange arrangement.

There was something else that was out of the ordinary regarding this trip. During the train ride Viktor Orbán had a video made, … Read the rest

Sándor Lezsák: “A quiet prayer for Miklós Horthy”

I must say I was shocked when I read the text of Sándor Lezsák’s speech that he could not deliver because the “memorial mass” for Miklós Horthy, the regent of Hungary between the two world wars, was cancelled. Sándor Lezsák, the deputy speaker of parliament, is well-known for his unusually strong attachment to the whole Horthy family. He is also a proponent of Turanism and an avowed admirer of Russian culture. As a devotee of Turanism, this fervently Catholic man invited shamans from Central Asia to perform their pagan rituals … Read the rest