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Dispute over “neo-Machiavellian” governance

July 27th, 2015

In the leading conservative daily, a commentator accuses the government of surrendering its principles in pursuit of power. A columnist in a rival conservative paper dismisses this accusation and claims that Fidesz is acting in accordance with a conservative and democratic vision.​

In Magyar Nemzet, a veteran law professor accuses the government of following a “neo-Machiavellian” policy path. Tamás Sárközy thinks that the government has given up on principles, values and ideologies in the pursuit of power. He speculates that as a result of what he sees as its “arrogant style of governance”, populist rhetoric, unwillingness to compromise and lack of transparency, even conservative voters are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with Fidesz. Sárközy thinks that the current government has become Machiavellian and is only concerned with remaining in power, even at the price of weakening democracy and the rule of law. In conclusion, Sárközy calls for more moderation in governance and recommends that the government start listening to experts rather than making decisions solely based on political considerations.

Tamás Sárközy’s main issue with the Fidesz government is that it was bold enough to use its power to govern, Bence Kővári comments in Magyar Hírlap. In the past, Hungarian governments shied away from major reforms and liked to hide behind experts whenever it came to important decisions, Kővári remarks. He thinks that the Fidesz government has a clear conservative vision and it decided to follow the needs and interests of the people rather than grounding its policies on expert recommendations. The pursuit of public interest is the basic principle of democratic governance, and it should not be mistaken for unprincipled Machiavellianism, Kővári argues.

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