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József Antall’s image – thirty years after his passing

December 13th, 2023

The nationwide pro-government print daily devotes three articles to the figure of Hungary’s first democratically elected prime minister on the thirtieth anniversary of his death.

In Magyar Nemzet, László Szentesi Zöldi writes that the regime change in 1990 was only partial, as it was the result of great-power deals, which meant that Hungary did not regain her full sovereignty. József Antall, he writes, should have done more to bring the perpetrators of communist crimes to justice.

In another commentary on the anniversary, Sándor Faggyas also points out that Antall had to sail against a strong headwind generated by a strong liberal opposition and the ‘intact communist deep state’. Nevertheless, he writes, Antall did what he could – and left the country in better shape than it was in on the day he was sworn in.

Péter Miklós describes Antall as a man who gave his life for his country. Despite his fatal illness, he remained in office and fought his foes inside and outside his governing coalition. Antall knew that his was a suicidal enterprise, and once said that his was a ‘kamikaze government’. After Antall’s death, the disappointment caused by the side-effects of the regime change, Miklós concludes, brought the post-communist (Socialist) party back to power in 1994.



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