Viktor Orban, Hungary, Victor Orban discussed on The Economist: The Intelligence


Any hopes they have of stopping the west destroying the woolworth soon dashed as dozens of young men pulled on a rope and chains. The chunk went up our don with the wall after the fall of communism in one thousand nine hundred nine. Hungary turned to democracy. It's new political system would be held up as an example for other central and eastern European states. That's not the case today. The current democratically elected leader is Viktor Orban's. He's held office once before for four years from nineteen ninety eight. He was re elected in two thousand ten ten and there's little sign. He's going to lose his job anytime soon I sing. Migration is stoppable in many countries especially invest your politicians tried to convince people that it's not possible to stop by not through Mr Orban's anti immigrant rhetoric and the accompanying policies of his party Videsh mean he remains popular in a country that has little ethnic diversity but he's also taken worrying steps to ensure his job security steps that have catalyzed Hungary slide into autocracy Chrissy. What victor done has achieved over the past nine years in Hungary is to hollow out a European democracy so so that it's effectively a one party state. MATT STAINED GLASS IS OUR EUROPE CORRESPONDENT. It feels like any other middle income European. Stay Day like a functional liberal democracy but it's not it's controlled by one man and his political party and his friends all of this is a far cry from the prime minister's routes when as a young long haired liberal urged the Hungarian people to reject communism communism and embrace free elections gone off in one thousand nine hundred nine as the Soviet. Via Block was coming apart. Victor Orban was a talented young law student who was identified as one of the most liberal anti-communist voices in the Hungarian student movement up politically but over the course of time he he has shifted from a liberal centre-right stance to an increasingly nationalistic stance so by today the it wants young liberal reformer is now a hardline nationalist ruler who dominates his country's political Michael System with an iron hand well. What do you mean by that in. In what way is he is a dominant. How is Hungary different under Victorian as of the late two thousands Hungary was seen as the most successful possibly the most entrenched formerly communist country in Eastern Europe in terms of its transition to democracy people saw it as a stable capitalist democratic liberal country member of the European Union and over the course of the last nine years he has changed the constitution altered all of the institutions of the democratic state so that they can be controlled old by his political party by businessmen politicians businessmen and oligarchs were linked to him. He is extended domination over the media sphere. He's hollowed out the court system but how has he managed that how has sort of gotten away with it starting from a stable happy democracy so completely undermined. How do you do that well hungry. It wasn't really a tremendously happy democracy. When Orbin took over people were quite satisfied with the previous Socialist government which was fairly corrupt erupt as well but that has faction led them in two thousand ten to vote for Mister Orban's Fidesz they about fifty three percent of the vote and because of the Hungarian electoral system that fifty three percent of the vote meant that they had two thirds of the seats in parliament and with two thirds of the seats in parliament they could changed the constitution which they quickly did they change the constitutional court they revise the electoral system and gerrymandered district in which people are being elected and make sure they wouldn't leave and what you found was that by two thousand fourteen by the time the next elections they had effectively guaranteed themselves victory victory and the two thousand eighteen election's again. They want exactly two thirds of the seats in parliament at this stage. It looks like there's no power you're in the Hungarian system of governments that can stand up to dash and Viktor Orban and the separation of powers which you need for a liberal democratic state effectively no longer exists in Hungary but insofar as they actually have. Why have the Hungarian people gone along with this is is all of this just simply below the radar clever gerrymandering and keeping quiet about procedural changes that don't look so nefarious victory robot infidels are still very popular. They're very popular because Serb. Nationalist politics of the kind of their practice are very appealing. The Jawbone was the first national leader in Europe to build a fence to block out to to block doc migrants in the migrant crisis two thousand fifteen that was extremely popular and the economy is doing well. Growth has been about three point five percents for the last five years and and unemployment is below four percent but that's also true for much of Central Europe and they've cut the budget deficit but what are the troubling things about what's happened in Hungary is that it appears that people don't really care all that much about constitutional issues and that is an issue that may have echoes well beyond Hungary. What's still surprises me about. This story is how complete Mr Orban's transformation from fist shaking liberal to shoot this kind of like absolute autocrat does that transformation kind of tell you anything about the current state of right wing leadership spreading throughout Europe well so true Viktor Orban's transformation from nine hundred eighty nine to do this in one thousand nine is an incredible encapsulation of what has happened to to the ideas that we had about liberal democracy in nineteen eighty nine and what's really worrisome is that it seems like he appears to have decided that the type of Liberalism uh-huh that he championed at the time of the fall of the Soviet Union was naive and not actually a lasting foundation on which to build a successful political party or successful State Heat Al explicitly says that he wants to govern illiberal liberal democracy he doesn't believe in Berlin he wants to govern a state in which the majority rules and takes no account minority interests and there are a lot of similar politicians to whom you could point around the world not just people like regurgitate in Philippines but people like Donald Trump United States who seem to value the will of the majority rather than individual rights who are eager to find enemies to vilify and to run campaigns based John Phobia and one just hopes that these people are not in fact the future of democracy. Uh thank you very much for joining us. My pleasure.

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