Viktor Orban’s “dystopian warnings of a future dominated by a clash of civilisations appear to have struck a chord with his countrymen”, the Financial Times writes about the Hungarian prime minister’s election campaign and rhetorics on migration.
The article quotes Orban’s speech on the national holiday:
“Brussels is not defending Europe and it is not halting immigration . . . It wants to dilute the population of Europe and to replace it, to cast aside our culture, our way of life and everything which separates and distinguishes us Europeans from the other peoples of the world.”
According to the article at home Orban faces allegations of corruption and dismantling checks and balances from his opponents, but his party, Fidesz is most likely to reach a majority in the April elections. FT notes that the opposition is fragmented: they were able to win a by-election in Fidesz stronghold Hodmezovasarhely by rallying behind one candidate, but they can’t make a similar deal on a national level. Fidesz is also benefitting from favourable economic conditions: 4% GDP growth and low unemployment.
Andras Biro-Nagy from the Policy Solutions think tank told FT that Orban’s stance on migration is the most important factor in his popularity. He pointed out that Orban considers migration a winning card, an issue that – as the quota referendum in 2016 proves – goes beyond party politics.
“What is at stake . . . is whether after April 8 Hungary will remain a democratic country, or whether it will head towards some sort of banana republic or some sort of dictatorship or some sort of autocracy,” Marton Gyongyosi, MP of the strongest opposition party, Jobbik said, also referring to corruption scandals.
Government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs told FT that such claims are “purely political” and OLAF “has never suggested that the irregular use of European money in Hungary is higher than the European average”.