Politics

Mr. Torgyán (left) chatting  with a much younger Mr. Orbán (right), about 15 years ago.

Hungary’s deluded, xenophobic prime minister has become the new József Torgyán

I was a teenager living in Budapest, when József Torgyán, the colourful chair of the right-wing populist Independent Smallholders’ Party (FKGP), bumbled his way through Hungarian party politics for over a decade, following the transition to democracy. He was, essentially, a self-important fuddy-duddy: the awkward uncle that both amuses, but at times causes embarrassment for the family.  Under Socialist Prime […]

by · May 20, 2015 · Politics
The Debrecen refugee camp. Photo: Zsolt Czeglédi/MTI.

Hungary set to turn away refugees and close main refugee camp

Szabolcs Takács, the deputy Minister of State for European Affairs, who some of our readers will recall from last fall–when a few of us asked him questions during his talk at Ottawa’s Carleton University–gave an interview to Italy’s La Stampa paper, entitled: “Enough of the immigrants! Hungary will lead the front against EU quotas.” Mr. Takács underlined that Hungary plans to […]

by · May 18, 2015 · Politics
Ambassador Réka Szemerkényi.

Ambassador Szemerkényi responds to HFP: It is legally “unacceptable” to refuse meeting with Jobbik delegation

György Lázár of the Hungarian Free Press published an article about the unprecedented visit of a Jobbik delegation at the Hungarian Embassy in Washington DC where Ambassador Réka Szemerkényi received and briefed them. They also visited the Hungarian Consulate in New York, where they met Hungarian Consul General Mr. Ferenc Kumin. We asked for feedback from the US State Department, US […]

by · May 13, 2015 · Politics
Ms. Szemerkényi with her family and President Obama in the Oval Office.

Ambassador Szemerkényi embraces neo-Nazi Jobbik delegation in Washington

Ms. Réka Szemerkényi has been recently accredited as Hungary’s Ambassador to Washington. After she presented her credentials to President Obama at the White House she promised to open a new chapter in US-Hungarian relations. She did. Never before had a Hungarian Ambassador to the US embraced  neo-Nazis. Ms. Szemerkényi is the first Hungarian diplomat in history to welcome the neo-Fascist […]

by · May 12, 2015 · Politics
Viktor Orbán tells members and supporters of the pro-regime Friends of Hungary Foundation that dictatorial countries are more successful than democratic ones, and that the Foundation's members should continue sharing the Hungarian government's message with the world. Photo: Kormány.hu

Viktor Orbán tells Friends of Hungary that dictatorial countries are more successful than democratic ones

Friends of Hungary, the organization that claims to be non-partisan, has been given its marching orders by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. The authoritarian Hungarian leader’s speech on Saturday, at a conference organized by the Friends of Hungary Foundation, was at least as inflammatory as that which he gave last summer in Transylvania on the value of illiberalism, and which made […]

by · May 11, 2015 · Politics
The Veritas Institute organizes a conference on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of parliamentary democracy in Hungary and the change in regime...without inviting key, liberal and left-wing participants in this history. Photo: Viktor Orbán's Facebook page.

Celebrating 25 years of Hungary’s parliament without the opposition

I am still sometimes surprised by the true extent of the Orbán government’s small-mindedness, its pettiness and the remarkably arrogant, self-serving use of public funds. It has been 25 years since the formation of Hungary’s first democratically elected parliament in May 1990. The government-funded Veritas Research Institute, led by historian Sándor Szakály–who callously called the deportation of Jews during the […]

by · May 6, 2015 · Politics
Gábor Vona (right) appearing with journalist Antónia Mészáros on ATV.

Gábor Vona’s interview on ATV: I am willing to apologize for Jobbik’s unacceptable statements

For years, as a matter of principle, Hungary’s left-leaning ATV news network didn’t allow the far-right Jobbik’s politicians into its studios. All of that changed just over a year ago and now party chairman Gábor Vona and other prominent Jobbik politicians are regular guests. Fortunately, most of ATV’s hosts are skilled, shrewd journalists and they are able to scratch below Jobbik’s new, “improved” and […]

by · May 4, 2015 · Politics
Alexei Galitsky of Night Volwes is greeted by Vladimir Szemidetko First Secretary of the Russian Embassy in Budapest.

Hungary welcomes pro-Kremlin Night Wolves motorcyclists

Members of the Night Wolves, a Russian biker club decided to travel to Berlin to mark the 70th anniversary of the defeat of fascism. Their journey started in Moscow on April 25; they were heading west to the Polish border. The Polish Foreign Ministry has banned the biker gang linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin from entering the country. Polish […]

by · May 1, 2015 · Politics
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in Miskolc earlier this month. Photo: Facebook.

Hungary’s prime minister shamelessly calls for death penalty

Ever since the governing Fidesz party’s defeat in the Tapolca by-election to the far-right, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has been shamelessly scrambling to appease and win back the support of those who voted for Jobbik. A few days ago, I wrote about the Orbán’s government overtly xenophobic “national consultation,” where a series of loaded questions suggest that immigration and terrorism […]

by · April 29, 2015 · Politics
Hungarian immigrants in Québec in the 1920s, before heading west, to the prairies. Source: Department of the Interior photographic records / Collections Canada.

Demonizing immigrants — Here’s why Hungary’s Fidesz is no less dangerous than Jobbik

There is a very common misconception in the West that Fidesz is somehow the lesser of two evils when it comes to the Hungarian right and the rising fortunes of the far-right Jobbik. Nothing could be further from the truth. For Fidesz, the only thing that counts is political expediency. To some extent, being effective politically, and thus being ideologically […]

by · April 25, 2015 · Politics