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Weeklies on the economy, international relations and Pride Month

July 17th, 2023

Opposition-leaning commentators find the record of the government extremely negative and lament the absence of a credible challenger. Right-wing columnists find serious deficiencies in the parties representing the western mainstream and their allies in Hungary.

In Magyar Hang, Szabolcs Szerető claims that despite official declarations to the contrary, the government is pursuing a policy of austerity to restore the balance of public finances. New taxes have been imposed on enterprises as well as on savings; transfers to cities have been cut back and the highest inflation rate in Europe is reducing people’s real incomes, he explains. Nevertheless, he adds, the balance of power among political parties remains basically the same. He attributes this to government propaganda. Another reason he mentions is that the disparate forces of the opposition are unable to catch the imagination of Hungarians.

In a very similar vein, Zoltán Lakner writes in Jelen that the textbook scenario in such a situation would involve spectacular political consequences, with declining support for the government and the opposition gaining popularity. That is precisely what happened after the 2008 financial crunch in the wake of which Fidesz scored a sweeping electoral victory in 2010. Yet, today’s opposition is not in a position to push the government side into a political crisis, although the latter has created critical economic and social problems, he continues. ‘If the regime cannot be shaken even under conditions of galloping inflation and painful austerity measures, I have no more leads’, Lakner complains.

In Mandiner, Gergely Szilvay hopes the radical Spanish Vox party will be a member of the new right-wing Spanish government which he predicts will be formed after the elections next Sunday. He welcomes the new right wing in the West, which in his words steps forward with strong statements – unlike the old Christian Democrats who have become grey and technocratic. During the decades of undisturbed prosperity, he explains, Christian Democrats as well as the Republicans in the United States lost the ability to face critical situations and were unable to change their attitudes after 2013, when new acute problems arose, including mass migration, gender issues, the coronavirus, the war, and China’s ascent. The new right, he concludes, has the courage indispensable to face those problems.

In its first page editorial, Magyar Narancs expresses schadenfreude over the government’s awkward position in international relations. While the Fidesz government has delayed a parliamentary vote on Sweden’s NATO membership for a year, Turkey suddenly gave up its reservations and promised to support the Nordic country’s accession. The Hungarian government wasn’t even informed about that shift in Turkey’s position, although it had kept Sweden waiting as a gesture towards Turkey. Now Hungary will have to ‘creep back in shame’, the editors write.

In Heti Világgazdaság, Árpád W. Tóta welcomes the annual Pride Month as a sign that there are still many people in Hungary who refuse to accept ‘the way we are living’. He vituperates in particular against the rule forcing bookstores to envelop in sealed plastic books that are ‘problematic for children’s safety’ i.e. carrying homosexual or transsexual content. Meanwhile, he remarks, the Estonian government celebrates the legalisation of same-sex marriage, proclaiming that they have ‘grown out’ of Eastern Europe. In Hungary, he writes, there are fortunately still many people who can see as far as Scandinavia, where people are not harassed because of what they find pleasure in – or as far as Estonia, at least.

In Demokrata, András Bencsik enumerates a few examples of what he sees as a wave of transsexual exaggerations in the West, including a San Antonio professor who was sacked because he taught that human sex is determined by X and Y chromosomes. Another case he mentions is the selection of a trans woman as Miss Netherlands 2023. He also finds it curious that the appeal court in the Hungarian city of Veszprém ruled that trans women can also retire after 40 years of work, just as born women can. One day, he fumes, a bearded man who declares or believes he is a woman will also avail himself of the right to make use of a privilege given to women because of their role as mothers.

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