Threat to democracy in Hungary

Ann Eplbavm writes in the Washington Post about the restriction of political and civil freedom, which is practicing a new Hungarian government led by Viktor Orban and compares the situation in the country and in Belarus. We offer you the text of the publication with minor cuts.

Recently, I wrote about the results of the "elections" in Belarus after failing to reach a majority, the President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko beat the other candidates, arrested journalists and falsified the results of the vote, to hold on to power. The transition of Belarus from communism to democracy not only failed, it never took place at all.

Now I am writing about the results of the elections in Hungary, a country different from Belarus in almost all respects. Hungary — a full member of NATO and the European Union, a country where political parties are functioning, which has 20 years experience of free elections. Hungary's transition from communism to democracy had obvious success.

Nevertheless, in the last few months, given Europe Hungary is another example of how fragile democracy can be — even in a place where she works. If the problem is with the leader of Belarus, which is not popular enough to remain in power without violence, Hungary has a problem with a leader who is too popular and that can change the laws of their country and the constitution to stay in power without violence.

Indeed, if the authors of the U.S. Constitution were concerned about the "tyranny of the majority", they may have had in mind Viktor Orban, the current Prime Minister of Hungary. Orban is not a rogue: he is intelligent and experienced politician, a former member of the anti-communist movement, he was the head of the government, and now his center-right party "Fides" controls more than two-thirds of the Hungarian parliament.

Previous eight years, the country was ruled one of the most incompetent governments in Europe. Hungary's Socialists have significantly increased debt, declined to reform and hid the money in accounts in foreign banks. One former Socialist Prime said that he knew that he had "lied" to voters, and that only because of "the availability of money in the world economy and hundreds of tricks" kept the country afloat during his reign. If this speech was known to the public, in Budapest in April Hungarian voters rejected his trust.

But the victory was not enough for Orban, who began to take revenge for the years that he was not in power, the journalists who supported him, social groups, who did not vote for him, and above all — his corrupt and incompetent opponents. After coming to power, he formed a council to amend the Constitution, which is to deprive certain powers national Court of Auditors and the Supreme Court. More recently, his parliament passed a set of laws governing the media. It is difficult to say how they will work, given how dull they are written, but the new Council for the Control of the media, consisting exclusively of persons appointed by the party, "Fides", now has the power to impose fines of up to $ 1 million on journalists, publications which are "unbalanced" that Whatever that means.

On board is also tasked with the protection of "human dignity". The law seems to set the control not only of the national media, but also on the national segment of the Internet — a task that can not be solved in principle, but which requires the creation of a large system of supervision and control.

Orban seems indifferent to foreign criticism of bad laws, perhaps because he has repeatedly been the subject of criticism in the past. I was in Budapest this month and heard a lot of complaints about the biased image of Hungary in the international media. Supporters of "Fides" very indignant use of the word "fascism" for their performance, which sometimes uses the foreign press.

I agree with them. In fact, the real problem which generates Orban government — this is not fascism, and his demonstrated contempt for "the liberal elite" and "its media." This problem is not one of Hungary. Many U.S. politicians also like to punish "unbalanced" journalism that affects "human dignity." My friend, who is now dismissed by the Hungarian national radio for speaking out against the new media law, says the Stalinist atmosphere that prevails at council meetings by the media, so, of course, except that now it's funny, not scary.

Viktor Orban has grown into a one-party state. His sense of history was have prevented an attempt to build a state again.

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