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Storm Clouds Over Hungary

By Dr. Miklos K. RadvanyiFrontiers of Freedom

In Hungary, elections to the National Assembly, the unicameral legislative body, will be held on April 8, 2018. The electoral stakes are extremely high. The eight year long reign of the Alliance of Young Democrats (Hungarian acronyms FIDESZ) has only brought political, economic, moral, and cultural misery on the Hungarian people. From 2010 on, Hungarian society has gone from a reasonably well developed democracy to the despotic rule of a single individual, the Prime Minister Viktor Orban. With its parliamentary supermajority, FIDESZ unilaterally promulgated a new Constitution that essentially has cemented its absolute political power for many decades to come. This mammoth basic law with an aggregate of sixty pages practically has put an end to democracy, the rule of law, and economic and financial transparency. As a result, today, Hungary is an autocracy led by the most corrupt politicians in the country’s more than thousand years old history.

Adding the insult of hopelessness to the injury of repressed anger, Hungarian society is on the verge of a violent upheaval against its current political leaders. The reason for such an outcome is simple. The electoral system is rigged by FIDESZ and the opposition is weak, and fragmented. Because of the lack of a strong opposition force, the people will not see any other alternative but to take to the streets, as they did on October 23, 1956, and overthrow the Orban government by force.

For FIDESZ and personally to its top leadership, eventual defeat in the elections would mean total existential collapse. From an avalanche of criminal investigations possibly resulting in severe convictions, to court confiscations of their ill-gotten wealth, Viktor Orban and his accomplices would be rendered penniless while still in the prime of their lives. Moreover, the European Union whose watchdog OLAF has been conducting numerous corruption related investigations against Hungary would accuse the same individuals of having violated the organizations’ founding principles, which include “democracy, equality, the rule of law, and respect for human rights.” Thus, potential Hungarian criminal proceedings would be reinforced by European Union-wide investigations of the Orban government’s eight year long illegal activities.

Therefore, a perfect political storm is brewing in Hungary. With the United States is missing in action, it would be up to Brussels to foresee and resolutely defend the principles and practices of truly free elections in Hungary. They both will have to realize that the fate of Hungary, Europe, and the West is on the line. Thus far, because of a messy chaos in the European Parliament, Brussels would not be able to act decisively. However, meaningless compromises that would leave FIDESZ in full control of Hungary is unacceptable to the Hungarian people. The majority of them wants radical change. They want Viktor Orban and his corrupt political organization to disappear and allow Hungary to return to the pre-FIDESZ era.

Yet, if the European Union abdicates its responsibilities, it will rightly be accused of ignoring the threat to its very existence. This threat is only compounded by Viktor Orban’s closeness to the Russian President Vladimir Putin and his budding friendship with the President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping. Viktor Orban’s strenuous lamentations about being singled out for his nationalism and conservatism have thus far enveloped the explosive situation in Hungary in enough smoke to marginally hide this clear dual danger to the European Union’s security. Moreover, broader geopolitical considerations also call for decisive actions instead of toothless compromises with the Orban government. Finally, Viktor Orban is challenging the very essence of the European Union as a unified community of democratic and law abiding European nations.

In closing, it is worthwhile to state that FIDESZ has taken absolute possession of the government with less than fifty percent of the votes. No absolute power can result from this fact. Viktor Orban is only a dictator de facto. Therefore, he and his party cannot perpetuate themselves. To wit, FIDESZ does not possess in itself the necessary substance to lead. It must look for allies outside the European Union and NATO. But absolute power cannot reside in empty rhetoric, foreign models, and ideologies. For all these reasons, if Brussels avoids dealing with the forthcoming Hungarian catastrophe now, it will surely come to an apocalyptic explosion of anger, aggression, and hatred after April 8, 2018, throughout the streets of Hungary.