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1848 commemorations as campaign events

March 18th, 2014

The leading left-wing daily excoriates PM Viktor Orbán for drawing a parallel between the 1848 revolution and his government’s achievements. A conservative pundit, on the other hand, criticizes the opposition parties for considering the commemoration a campaign event.

In his speech on the anniversary of the 1848 revolution, PM Orbán called for national unity and compared his government’s achievements to goals set by the 1848 independence movement. He said that the government’s efforts to reduce the burdens of Hungarian families are in line with the main aspirations of the 1848 independence movement. The commemoration of the left-wing opposition parties scheduled for the afternoon was called off due to an approaching windstorm.

PM Orbán used the anniversary of the 1848 revolution to reiterate his campaign messages, Miklós Hargitai simmers in Népszabadság. The left-wing commentator finds inappropriate what he calls PM Orbán’ attempt to copy-paste his own tax and utility tariff cuts onto the programme of the 1848 revolutionaries. While in 1848 the leaders of the national independence movement wanted to boost domestic production and modernization through higher taxes and mercantilist policies, the Orbán government does exactly the opposite by beating down prices, Hargitai remarks. He also mentions the Paks nuclear deal (see BudaPost through January 28) which, he suggests, will decrease Hungary’s independence.

In Magyar Nemzet, Tamás Pihál finds it peculiar that in a Twitter post three hours before its mass meeting scheduled for the afternoon the MSZP suggested that the national weather service warned of a storm in order to scare away people from attending the opposition rally. In the end the organizers canceled the event, and though they blamed the storm, another possible reason for backing off could be the absence of a proper audience, the pro-government columnist speculates. In an aside, Pihál notes that in an improvised speech after cancelling the commemoration, MSZP leader Mesterházy accused the Orbán government of weakening democratic rule and crippling the economy, and by doing so, he used the anniversary as a campaign event rather than remembering the 1848 revolution.

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