Ungaria după comunism

Texte selectate sau scrise de echipa redacţională: Vasile Ernu, Costi Rogozanu, Florin Poenaru.

Un reportaj informativ despre situația partidelor politice din Ungaria.

Hungary After Communism

Everything in Budapest seems to be under construction. Exiting the central train station upon arriving in the city, I had to pick my way through a jumbled mass of heavy machinery and mangled concrete — the legacy of a subway line that’s been under construction since 2009. On the eastern side of the Danube River, tourists stepped around stooped construction workers to access the numerous posh shops on streets being re-paved. The Hungarian Parliament building, with its regimented forest of spiky spires, is fenced off and inapproachable from the east due to a massive renovation project — an effective screen against the protest rallies that regularly attend the square.

The renewal of the city’s prominent sections is likely due to the approaching 2014 elections, which will be the first since the conservative Fidesz party won 262 of 386 seats in the parliament. The party’s leader, Viktor Orbán, is the most memorable of the former Communist regime’s opponents, described at the time of its 1989 overthrow by historian Timothy Garton Ash as the “fiery, black-bearded” activist who was the only speaker at dissident leader Imre Nagy’s reburial to inspire a heated response from the restive crowd. “Of all the leaders of the post-Communist era, he’s the only one they’ll build a statue of,” as one journalist told me.

But since the heady days of 1989, Orbán has shifted ever rightward. Now, his party appears destined for another electoral victory. The establishment center-left parties have little legitimacy or energy to challenge him, their thinning ranks comprised of aging party loyalists and neoliberal technocrats. And the only force that seems willing to tap into Hungary’s mass discontent is the fascist Jobbik Party, one of the strongest far-right formations in Europe.

Authoritarianism, Revisited

The parliamentary super-majority Fidesz won in 2010 was so large that the party could rewrite the Constitution at will with no consultation from other political parties. In 2011, they did exactly that, drafting it from scratch with provisions that threatened the independence of the media, the judiciary, the Central Bank, and emphasizing Hungary’s Christian identity. (The new document enshrines the idea that life begins at conception and that marriage can only be between a man and a woman.) Calls for a popular referendum on the new constitution were spurned, and the heads of prominent cultural institutions in Budapest were replaced with party loyalists.

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