Entries RSS Feed Share Send to Facebook Tweet This Accessible version

Rembering PM József Antall

December 13th, 2013

In an article to mark the twentieth anniversary of PM József Antall’s death, a left-wing pundit contends that the current right-wing parties have betrayed Antall’s conservative liberal vision. Another former ally of PM Antall, on the other hand, believes that the main goal set by the first democratically elected Prime Minister is being fulfilled by the Orbán government.

PM József Antall was a committed democrat, József Debreczeni writes in Népszabadság. Debreczeni, a former MP of Antall’s MDF party in the early 1990s, and currently the Vice-President of Ferenc Gyurcsány’s Democratic Coalition, writes that PM Antall, who successfully led the country out of the Communist era, was committed both to European integration and to the Hungarian national cause, while at the same time distancing himself from radical right-wing nationalist rhetoric. Debreczeni contends that Antall’s main achievement was to lay the grounds of strong democratic institutions, which the former PM could do by his willingness to compromise with the opposition parties. Turning to contemporary politics, Debreczeni notes that after Antall’s death, his conservative liberal vision was replaced on the right by anti-democratic and authoritarian radicalism. Without mentioning PM Orbán by name, he suggests that the current government is the ideological heir of the inter-war far-right, and thus those MDF politicians who joined Fidesz are betraying Antall’s heritage. Debreczeni concludes his article by drawing a parallel between PM Antall and PM Gyurcsány. He believes that both were too good for their parties – and the whole country.

In addition to leading the country from dictatorial rule and a planned economy to parliamentary democracy and a market economy, PM Antall successfully restored Christian and national values, György Csóti, a former MP in Antall’s MDF party in the early nineties, and currently a Fidesz MP writes in Magyar Nemzet. Csóti believes that the Orbán government has fulfilled PM Antall’s aim of reuniting the Hungarian nation by offering non-resident citizenship to Hungarians living outside the national borders.

Tags: , ,