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Praise and soft New Year criticism in the main pro-government daily

January 3rd, 2020

A prominent pro-government columnist believes 2019 was the best year in Hungary’s millennial history, but warns the government side that it must change its attitudes to remain in power.

In his Magyar Nemzet editorial, Gábor Bencsik measures the success of any country by the proportion of citizens living in decent conditions. He suggests that this figure reached unprecedented levels in Hungary last year. He doesn’t exclude the possibility that a ‘golden age’ may follow, but such a scenario, he adds, is conditional on changes in attitudes. The combined opposition is a challenger that should not be underestimated and should by no means be despised, he writes. In order to defeat it, Bencsik continues, the government side must respect it. Another piece of advice he addresses to the government’s supporters is to welcome criticism, rather than rejecting it as playing into the hands of the opposition. Criticism is vital for self-improvement, he argues, and refers to opinion polls which prove that Fidesz’s popularity is lower among the younger generation than among their elders. The government side should therefore try harder to win over more young people. The youth will never accept an uncritical environment, he warns.

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