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Ruminations about the far-right demonstration

May 7th, 2013

A liberal columnist believes that PM Orbán’s disrespect for the rule of law is a greater threat to Hungary than racist protesters. A pro-government commentator, on the other hand, contends that whatever it does, the Orbán government will either be labeled as anti-democratic, or as racist.

Those who believe that the leader of the right [PM Viktor Orbán] can be counted on to fight racism are so naive they are plain stupid,” writes Sándor Révész in Népszabadság. The liberal commentator contends that “the one thousand Nazi” protesters joining the “anti-Zionist“ demonstrations called by the far-right Jobbik party on the eve of the World Jewish Congress held in Budapest (see BudaPost May 6) are less dangerous than PM Orbán, who wanted to ban the demonstration despite a court order which allowed it to go ahead. If Orbán can ignore the law in order to silence racist protesters, he could do the same with his left-wing critics – just as he did in the case of Klubrádió (see BudaPost), Révész speculates. He also condemns the leaders of The Alliance of Hungarian Jewish Faith Communities and left-wing pundits who welcomed Orbán’s efforts to ban the far-right rally by violating the law. As for PM Orbán’s strong messages against racism, Révész accuses the PM of hypocrisy. He claims that despite the PM’s ‘empty words,’ his government is trying to revive the cult of the interwar Horthy regime (see BudaPost) and its anti-Semitic politicians and artists.

Whatever PM Orbán does, his opponents will attack him, Gyula Haraszti comments in Magyar Nemzet. The pro-government pundit suggests that if Orbán stands up against racist groups, he is criticized for undermining democracy and the rule of law, but if he respects the freedom of speech rights of radicals, he will be labelled as a racist by both the left-wing opposition and international organizations. As the racist far-right and the Communists (see BudaPost May 2) are constantly testing the limits of the law by provoking the authorities, the Hungarian government has little chance to avoid such controversies, Haraszti suggests.

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