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“State of the nation” addresses under fire

February 18th, 2014

On the left, Viktor Orbán’s annual Sunday speech is described as “success propaganda” and scaremongering, while pro-government commentators condemn Ferenc Gyurcsány’s Saturday speech as “scandalous” from the man they hold responsible for his country’s demise.

Ferenc Gyurcsány and Viktor Orbán delivered their “State of the nation” speeches on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. The former devoted most of his speech to a fiery condemnation of Mr Orbán’s government. Viktor Orbán, the next day, gave a rather short speech touting Hungary’s economic success and calling on his party and its supporters to fight against “post-communist restoration attempts”.

Writing for Népszabadság, Ákos Tóth characterized Orbán’s speech as an effort to mobilize his 2 million strong supporter base for the election against opponents who are rooted in the Comunist régime. The rhetoric, Tóth believes, is meant to reinforce Orbán’s narrative – that the last elections gave him a mandate to bring about a new “régime change”. Tóth interprets this language as an attempt to absolve “Orbán and his followers from all they have done in the last four years”, from the new constitution to “handing over Hungary to Putin-led Russia”. The good news, he writes in his sardonic conclusion, is that although the EU flag has been removed from the stage, at least the Russian flag has not been hoisted.

In Magyar Nemzet, Matild Torkos lambasts Gyurcsány in a rather emotional piece, implying that a country where Gyurcsány is still part of the political game is a “lunatic asylum” where a man “who grew rich on alum but is not even a PM candidate” feels entitled to “throw devilish slander” at the incumbent Prime Minister. She suspects that his words were a reaction to questions put to him by  journalists curious about the origin of his own wealth, after he challenged the Prime Minister to a public debate on the origins of their respective assets. While he was prime minister, she asserts, Gyurcsány wrecked the country, and was in large part responsible for the landslide election victory of Fideez in 2010. From her days as an investigative journalist, she only remembers “shady deals, tax evasion, and potential corruption” in Gyurcsány’s business dealings. Despite all her disagreements with Jobbik, she concludes, she does agree with them that the fact that this person is still around and free to poison minds with his lies is an abomination.


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