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Weeklies on the solidity of the position of the Hungarian government

October 30th, 2023

Opinions sharply diverge on the issue as well was on the chances of the opposition to win an election in the foreseeable future.

In Jelen, veteran political scientist Attila Ágh is convinced that the regime Prime Minister Orban has built during the past 13 years is due to collapse in the not-too-distant future. He describes the past 13 years as a sequence of events through which the government extended its dominance over most spheres of public life from politics to the economy and even culture. As a result, he claims, a full-blown autocracy has been built in Hungary. No wonder, he continues that permanent confrontation developed between the government and the European Union which is built on very different values. However, with so many spheres of life under government control, efficient governance has become impossible, Ágh asserts, concluding that the regime is therefore doomed to implode.

In his Élet és Irodalom editorial, Zoltán Kovács accuses Prime Minister Orbán of having misgoverned Hungary since his first day in power. In terms of per capita GDP, he quotes EU statistics, Hungary is only ahead of five out of the 27 EU member countries. Poland overtook Hungary many years ago and lately even Romania produces more goods per capita than Hungary. He asks if the government and the Prime Minister in power for the past 13 years can be held responsible for that.

In Mandiner, macroeconomic analyst Tibor Matus admits that Romania is by now ahead of Hungary in terms of GDP per capita and his Romanian colleagues even hope that the country will catch up with Poland by 2025. At the turn of the millennium, he writes, Romania’s per capita gross domestic product only amounted to ¼ of the EU average, while now it is over 70% of mean Union levels. However, he remarks that the swift growth of the past two decades came with sharp increases in public deficit and Romania’s trade balance has also sunk into the red. Those imbalances, he concludes, may jeopardise the sustainability of Romanian growth.

In Demokrata, Gábor Bencsik concedes that Hungary is facing economic difficulties and will struggle to put the economy on the right track for a few years to come. He asks why under these conditions the opposition hasn’t become any more popular, as usually happens in times of economic hardship. This is in fact what happened in Poland where the right-wing government lost the elections in mid-October. He answers that people who would otherwise look for an alternative to the incumbent government cannot see anybody else whom they could entrust to lead their country. The majority of the electorate, Bencsik writes, will continue supporting Hungary’s governing parties as long as they can’t see a better alternative on the political scene.

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