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Weeklies on the election

April 2nd, 2022

Commentators from right across the political spectrum see the election as an existential battle for Hungary’s soul and future. A former liberal MP also considers the vote as an important chapter in the battle for a new global order.

Heti Világgazdaság’s Árpád W. Tóta predicts that the government will rig the election. The left-wing liberal pundit sees the election as fundamentally unfair, as the opposition had much less opportunity to appear on the state-owned media than the governing party. Tóta goes on to claim that the sole aim of Fidesz is to continue plundering the country, even if the consequence is that EU funds to Hungary are cut.  If Fidesz wins, everything will deteriorate in Hungary, including education and health care, Tóta thinks, noting that young people will continue to leave the country in their thousands.

In a front-page editorial, 168 Óra hopes that the government will not be able to buy enough votes via utility price cuts and various promises. The left-wing weekly calls on voters to think strategically, and vote the government out of office. The weekly argues that the Orbán government has isolated Hungary in Europe. 168 Óra takes it for granted that after the election, the new government will face immense financial difficulties.

Writing in Élet és Irodalom Ferenc Gegesy, the former liberal mayor of Budapest’s 9th District, believes that this is the last chance of the opposition to defeat Fidesz. The liberal columnist accuses Fidesz of large-scale corruption jeopardizing Hungary’s future. Gegesy is hopeful that the opposition has a chance to win by a narrow margin. But even if it does, it will have a hard time to roll back Fidesz policies and reclaim the money spent in a corrupt way. If the opposition fails to win – or fails to stay in power after winning the election – Fidesz will ‘complete its mission to establish a dictatorship’, Gegesy fears.

András Bencsik, Magyar Demokrata editor-in-chief accuses the Left and ‘the allegedly non-existent hidden international powers helping them’ of launching an offensive of hatred in their campaign. The pro-government commentator agrees with Prime Minister Orbán that the Sunday election is a matter of life and death, suggesting that a victory of the opposition could result in direct Hungarian involvement in the ‘war of East and West’ taking place in Ukraine. Bencsik calls on voters to support Fidesz, the party of ‘angels and patriots’ and help it defeat a Left which consists of ‘stupid and envious proletarians, hateful and sick Communists, globalist agents and irresponsible cosmopolitans’.

On Mozgástér blog, Zoltán Kiszelly suggests that the victory of the Left would jeopardize Hungarian security as well as economic interests. The pro-government analyst accuses the opposition of ‘threatening Hungarian lives’ by demanding that Hungary should send weapons to Ukraine. In addition, the ‘globalist’ Left endorses tougher economic sanctions on Russia, Kiszelly fulminates. He remarks that without Russian gas and oil, Hungary would have to pay much more for energy – which would have deep implications for all Hungarians.

In Hetek, former liberal (SZDSZ) MP Péter Hack believes that the Hungarian election is an important chapter in the battle for the new global order. Hack points out that the opposition parties receive important support from the US government as well as the Ukrainian President, who bolster the Left’s claim that Hungary will become part of Russia’s sphere of influence if Fidesz wins. The government, on the other hand, follows pragmatic economic thinking, wants to stay out of the war and refuses to cut Russian gas supplies as that would have immensely negative economic implications for Hungary. Hack adds that the election is a battle in the culture war too, as voters will decide on the government’s controversial child protection law (see BudaPost August 2, 2021). Hack concludes by suggesting that President Biden’s ‘war for a new global order based on progressive values’ will not be decided in Hungary, but as ‘the unprecedented international attention and efforts to influence the election show, the advocates of the new global order do consider Hungary an important battlefield’.