| It doesn't stop|
at the water's edge
Viktor Orbán is the current
Dark Lord prime minister of Hungary, taking office in 2010 and maintaining a death-grip on it ever since. He has furthermore been the head of Fidesz for most of its existence and taken the formerly (classical) liberal party to the right wing of conservatism. Conveniently, he was virulently anti-Russian until he started winning elections.
He and his party originally were liberal, but they left that direction, after in 1993 they got infamous for the "székház ügy" or "hall controversy", which meant they sold their own party building to a bank at a ludicrous price, however this meant they now could buy or build a media empire, and make people forget about these events.
While he already had a largely forgettable term from 1998 to 2002, during a time when Hungary was not yet in the EU and hence nobody cared, his current term is characterized by right-wing populism, anti-liberal and anti-democratic rhetoric and attempts to shut down the free press, tax the internet, and blame the EU for all ills that have befallen his country.
His ascendancy to the post of prime minister was a result of the complete disintegration of the Hungarian democratic left. One of the biggest parties in Hungary besides his own Fidesz is Jobbik, a bunch of right-wing lunatics even further to the right of Orbán. Hence, many Hungarians voted him into office because the democratic left had disappointed them and they kept voting for him because, well, at least he's not Jobbik. Orbán managed to twist the electoral law and constitution in his favor so much that even the roughly 45% of the vote his party got in the 2014 election was enough to gain the number of seats necessary to change the constitution.
Good things he did
At least he's not Jobbik. He has been accused of using Jobbik as a barometer for how far-right he can be without being insane. In the last elections (local elections, 2019), however, Jobbik, despite extreme right-wing stances, joined coalition of liberal and leftist parties against Fidesz and Viktor Orbán.
Arguably, he could have had some role in boosting the automotive industry in Hungary,. However, Hungary's GDP is still lagging compared to its neighbors.
Abolished hospital and educational fees and reverted privatization of social insurance, previously started by Hungarian socialists. Expanded welfare state.
Bad things he did
“”The era of liberal democracy is over.
He took over the media. The public channels are almost all drinking the Kool-Aid already, now he's going after the private channels. He tried to introduce an Internet tax and only (temporarily) backed down after massive protest and even a piece on Last Week Tonight forced him to. He is trying to stir up conflict between the Hungarian minority in Slovakia and Romania and other ethnic groups living in said country. On a visit to Slovakia, he ignored the major Hungarian party (then in coalition with another party to form a government) and instead talked to representatives of a smaller Hungarian party more in line with his wingnut beliefs. He also claims the refugee crisis of Summer 2015 is "a German problem" and says "nobody would like to stay in Hungary." Indeed. Orbán and his ilk have written a new constitution that basically enshrines the fiscally and socially conservative views of Orbán and his party into the highest law of the land for the foreseeable future. This is part of his ongoing campaign to remake Hungary as an "illiberal state", which has become Orban's dream. He has repeatedly referenced Russia and China as models he wishes to follow. The man is turning his country into a dictatorship under the justification that dictatorships make lots of money, apparently ignoring the small matter that the US and Germany along with most of the world's most competitive economies are democracies, and that Russia, like many other autocratic regimes, is a kleptocracy.
He's also had a massive role in making the EU's refugee crisis far worse than it needs to be. His xenophobia (or cruel political calculation in a country whose second largest party is openly fascist) has driven him to order a razor-wire fence to be built along Hungary's borders, and his current policy involves stopping refugees and hauling them off of trains which weren't intended to stop in Hungary which means Orbán is being needlessly cruel just for the evulz. Much of his justification for this is a desire to "defend European Christianity" from the "Muslim influx." This has some unfortunate connotations for those versed in history.
Orbán, a former benefactor of George Soros, has waged a demonization campaign against Soros, a Jewish Holocaust survivor from Hungary, during his 2018 election campaign despite not having much real opposition.
Thanks to rampant racism in Hungary against the Roma (and stereotypes of them being thieves) and some old and flattening photo of him in his youth, many believe that he's secretly Roma, with most going as far as his original name was Viktor Orsós, but somehow not only changed his, but some of his long dead relative's names to hide this fact. The actual truth is that long before the refugee crisis in 2010, his party rallied on a platform that targeted Roma minorities, which later got implemented in some form of other, such as gutting social benefits for the unemployed, and lowering the school age from 18 to 15. Later Fidesz also gifted the very well funded religious schools the power of redlining, forcing Roma kids into the underfunded and catastrophic secular state schools.
This conspiracy theory turns left-wing activism in Hungary a very hard feat: it pushes many - mostly older and already racist - leftists into hating Roma even more, which creates a very hateful atmosphere. Hopefully this doesn't really influence left-leaning parties, but might explain why certain ex-MSzP voters later became Jobbik supporters.
- Richard Field, "It appears Viktor Orban’s hypocrisy knows no bounds", The Budapest Beacon.
- The Regression of Viktor Orban | Foreign Policy
- PwC: Leading sector in Hungary: Automotive
- Liberal democracy isn’t dead after all by Max Boot (May 14 at 8:16 PM) The Washington Post.
- John Oliver — Hungarian Internet Tax (From HBO's Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.) | Youtube
- Refugee crisis 'a German problem' says Hungary's Viktor Orban (euronews.com) | Youtube
- Europe's new dictator | POLITICO (Europe edition)
- Global Competitiveness Report 2015-2016 — Reports – World Economic Forum
- Hungary: Prime Minister Tells Muslim Refugees 'Do Not Come' | Time
- Hungary Prime Minister Says Muslims Not Welcome | Al Jazeera America
- Migration crisis: Hungary PM says Europe in grip of madness | World news | The Guardian
- Hungary election: Once-fringe conspiracy theory about George Soros takes center stage by Griff Witte (March 17, 2018 at 4:13 PM) The Washington Post.