Thursday, June 18, 2015

Hungary's slide from democracy, Part I

I was recently in Hungary, where I lived for some five years between 1989 and 1996, where Prime Minister Viktor Orban has been making good on his promise to construct an "illiberal state" inside the European Union. In Politico Magazine today you can read my dispatch on the situation there.

A teaser: most worrisome is that the only effective opposition to Orban comes from the extreme right Jobbik Party, which are on the ascent despite not long ago maintaining a jackbooted paramilitary group that marched through Roma neighborhoods wearing uniforms and symbols reminiscent of the Nazi-era Arrow Cross.

A sad state of affairs for Hungary, which when I first moved there was leading the drive for democracy and independence in the Eastern bloc.

For those with a focused interest in Orban's rhetorical argument, reading his full "illiberal democracy" speech is clarifying.

More on Hungary coming soon.... [Update, 6/21/15: That was a reference to this review of former US Ambassador Eleni Kounalakis's memoir of her term in Hungary, which ran in today's Washington Post.]

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