Viktor Orban has been building a modern one-party system, well-known American historian Anne Applebaum told Hungarian news site HVG. She said it shows the crisis of Hungarian politics that even serious people believe the conspiracy theories which the government created around George Soros. Applebaum spoke to HVG before holding a lecture at the CEU.
According to Applebaum, the situation of the EU had become very unstable after the Brexit referendum and Donald Trump’s victory, but the direct threat was gone with the French and German elections. She said the Hungarian elections matter because of its neighbours: “these countries will have to decide whether they want to remain members of the EU in the next few years. Several Eastern European countries try to capitalise on their eurosceptic stance, and this can have two results – either they leave voluntarily, or they will be thrown out”. Applebaum said she doesn’t know whether it’s an existential question for the EU, but it is for Hungary.
When asked why Western populists like Orban, she said it’s the other way around: “It was the Hungarian prime minister who copied them. Anti-migration wasn’t part of Orban’s policies. He had learnt their radical techniques, methods”. Applebaum said Orban has experienced the effectiveness of populist techniques and seeing that he is floating to the extremes.
Applebaum said Orban “has been building a modern one-party society”, in this political system “no other parties can compete, because the electoral system, the judiciary and the media climate prevent anyone else from winning”. “He’s been going with this project slowly, but consequently. If you ask whether Hungarians are profiting of it, whether Hungary will be a more livable place, my answer is no. This can be good only for him and his party”, she added.