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Comments on a phantom coup d’état

February 11th, 2012

Columnists are rather sceptical about the rumours of an alleged coup against PM Viktor Orbán. Népszabadság pokes fun at the story, while Véleményvezér puts forward serious arguments against it.

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has been reported as telling a meeting of Fidesz MPs that a coup affecting national security had been attempted in order to remove him, and that Hungarian and international diplomats were involved in it, together with the US News Channel CNN. The rumours were picked up first by HVG on Thursday, but then confirmed by Magyar Nemzet and Népszabadság on Friday. According to the newspapers Viktor Orbán said the coup, attempted in late December last year, was eventually foiled. All these reports were published before the rumours were flatly dismissed by Fidesz floor-leader János Lázár. Mr Lázár told the press on Friday that nothing of the sort had been said at the meeting.

By that time, however, the fuss generated by the story had developed a life of its own  on the web and in the news kiosks. Népszabadság columnist László Rab sarcastically called the supposed coup an absolute novelty in the history of political science, since it was described as standing on three feet. One being the contribution of the secret services of unspecified countries, another ­– that of Hungarian diplomats hostile to the government, and the third – that of the media, including CNN which spread the news that Mr Orbán was losing ground within his own party. László Rab finds it curious that the same words – that a coup had eventually been foiled – were used by the editor of Heti Válasz. Gábor Borókai actually wrote that “a coup aimed at raising hysteria within public opinion at home and abroad by intellectuals representing the globalist world has been foiled.” Borókai suggested that the so-called coup was foiled by the hundred thousand strong mass demonstration of government supporters.

Véleményvezér is also sceptical, writing that the story has too many flaws, the funniest part being CNN’s alleged role. “It seems that the PM’s staff haven’t realized that the news channel ceased to be an important political factor 10 years ago.” The blogger also questions the alleged role of former Socialist diplomats. The political changes in Greece and in Italy might have induced someone to believe that the EU will reward Hungary if Viktor Orbán were to quit, and so “the PM’s reaction suggests that his staff at least took this possibility seriously,” Véleményvezér concludes suggesting that Viktor Orbán should rather worry about the sorry state of the Hungarian economy as the major threat to his position..

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