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Our Homeland unveils Horthy bust in their Parliament office

September 2nd, 2022

As far-right MPs unveil a bust of Regent Miklós Horthy (in office 1920-44) in their Parliament offices, a left-wing columnist accuses Fidesz of ‘piggybacking’ on the Horthy cult. A conservative commentator, on the other hand, thinks that the Left’s tendentious interpretations of the Horthy era make reasonable debate impossible.

On the anniversary of the 1940 Second Vienna Award, reannexing Northern Transylvania to Hungary, the far-right Our Homeland party unveiled a bust of interwar Regent Horthy in the Parliament building. The event took place in the office of deputy speaker and Our Homeland Vice-President Dóra Dúró, after House speaker László Kövér banned the party’s planned ceremony from the common premises of the Parliament building.

In Népszava, András Vas criticizes Fidesz for not banning the Horthy bust completely from the Parliament building. The left-wing commentator acknowledges that Fidesz politicians (including Prime Minister Orbán in 2015) clearly stated that Regent Horthy has no place in the Parliament, but finds the governing party nonetheless complicit in the revival of the Horthy cult. Without giving any specific examples, Vas claims that the government emulates the policies of the Horthy regime and also uses the interwar period as an important reference in its memory politics. Vas even speculates that Fidesz decided not to completely ban the Horthy bust because the scandal helps the government to divert attention from skyrocketing energy prices.

Magyar Hírlap’s László Petrin suggests that what he calls the ‘tendentious and slanted left-wing views’ of Horthy make any reasonable assessment of Horthy’s record impossible and open up the possibility for the far-right to appropriate the Horthy era and use it for political purposes. The pro-government columnist believes that Horthy did a great job in helping the Hungarian economy recover from the loss of a large proportion of its territory and population, and stabilized the country after the shock of the First World War and the violence of the short-lived Hungarian Soviet Republic. Petrin also suggests that Horthy did what he could to save Jews during World War Two, noting that many Jews offered him financial help during his exile in Portugal. In an aside, Petrin notes that the leader of the Democratic Coalition still lives in a house confiscated from a Jewish family. He concludes by urging an objective assessment of Horthy’s historical record.

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