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Orbán is no Le Pen

January 5th, 2012

A left-wing columnist finds Le Monde’s latest caricature depicting Orbán as a radical right-wing politician a clear overstatement and a false hyperbole. But he warns that the cartoon indicates that the West is highly critical of the course being followed by the Hungarian government.

The caricature is an exaggeration. Viktor Orbán cannot fully be compared to the xenophobic extreme right-wing Front National,” András Dési writes in Népszabadság.

The sketch published in Le Monde depicts the Hungarian PM saluting with his right arm raised, in boots and uniform with armbands reminiscent of Nazi paraphernalia. Behind him is a Hungarian flag with the word ‘republic’ crossed out.  Although under the new constitution the official name of the country was indeed changed from Hungarian Republic to simply ‘Hungary’, the Constitution still defines Hungary as a republic. The cartoon actually depicts Mr Orbán as even more radical than the extreme right-wing Front National.

Dési believes that Orbán does not have much in common with the extreme right wing French Front National dominated by Jean-Marie Le Pen and Marine Le Pen. The only possible similarity he can think of is that both Fidesz and the Front National use nationalist rhetoric and are critical of the European Union.

The publication of the caricature, however, shows that the French public is outraged by the Hungarian government, Dési contends. “Although the drawing is an exaggeration, the message is clear. The Orbán government is seen as an authoritarian regime, which omits the republic [from the official name of the country] not unintentionally. Whether one likes it or not, this is the image created by the Hungarian government.”

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