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Army to be deployed to defend the border

September 23rd, 2015

As Parliament authorises the deployment of army units to police Hungary’s borders, left-wing newspapers suspect that the real aim of the government is to increase its own popularity by giving the impression of protecting the population against mass immigration. They also lambast the Socialist Party for not taking a clear stance.

Addressing Parliament on Monday, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said the police was not strong enough in numbers to protect Hungary’s borders with both Serbia and Croatia, hence the need to assign a policing mission to the army. The Socialists            abstained, saying that they approved of the enhanced presence of armed units along the borders, but had constitutional reservations about the deployment of the army.

In Népszava, György Sebes writes that what is happening “looks like part of a propaganda process” aimed at convincing citizens that their government is doing everything in order to defend them. He points out that the two thirds majority required to alter the legal status of the army was attained with the votes of the radical right-wing Jobbik party. He sarcastically adds that the Socialist Party could afford to be hesitant, because the public has grown indifferent to its position.

In a front-page editorial, Népszabadság admits that the government has been successful in its anti-immigrant policies, as the latest opinion polls show a substantial increase in its popularity over the past month. Its constituency amounts to almost 2 million, 24% of the adult population. Népszabadság accuses the “fragmented left-wing opposition” of even further aggravating its already delicate position by being inconsistent over such a crucial issue. One must be a highly motivated Socialist voter to understand what this party wants, Népszabadság concludes bitterly.


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