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Anniversary swept away by the snowstorm

March 16th, 2013

The traditional open-air March 15 rallies on Hungary’s national holiday were cancelled due to the exceptional meteorological conditions, but nothing prevented the dailies from fighting their usual opinion duels on the anniversary.

In Népszava, Anikó Nagypál claims that some of the 12 points containing the demands of the revolutionary youth in 1848 could be legitimately formulated again in today’s Hungary. There is no censorship, she concedes, but she accuses the government of dominating the media and of trying to silence opposition outlets. A few hours after the article was published, the Media Authority bowed to the latest court ruling and prolonged Klubrádio’s licence for another five years. Another lawsuit, over a “community frequency” for which the opposition radio station would not have to pay a licence fee, is still underway. (See BudaPost, 2012 through 2013.)

As for the 19th century revolutionary demand for a “government responsible to Parliament”, Nagypál complains that right-wing MPs depend on the government nowadays, rather than the other way round. She also accuses the government of attempting to tame the judiciary and paralyse the Constitutional Court. She deems it intolerable that the ruling majority pushes through frequent amendments to the constitution, and fills the leading posts of the National Bank with its acolytes.

In Magyar Nemzet, Zsuzsa Körmendy believes one year before the elections, the opposition is poised for a ruthless campaign, and is using the anniversary of the revolution for its divisive purposes. She finds it absurd for them to accuse the government of dictatorial ambitions, since this is the first administration which takes the principle of equal taxation seriously. (Until the revolution nobility was exempted from paying taxes.) The right-wing government has, in fact imposed levies on “powerful banks and influential multinationals, because it felt that laying the entire burden on the shoulders of the average citizen was unjust.” She criticises a group of left-liberal intellectuals who called on all opposition groupings to jointly demonstrate their alliance on the anniversary. Körmendy finds the tone of the appeal “we want to see them show unmistakeable commitment without reservations” – threatening, and deplores what she calls an attempt by the opposition to “expropriate the national holiday” for its own purposes.

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