Electoral boycott? Prominent Hungarian journalist sees Tusnádfürdő speech as watershed

Zoltán Lovas, a prominent Hungarian journalist and activist whose name is certainly not unfamiliar to those who have followed the on-going Freedom Square protests, published a Facebook post Tuesday afternoon, in which he called for a boycott of the municipal elections scheduled for October 12th, 2014. Mr. Lovas believes that since Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s infamous speech in Tusnádfürdő/Băile Tușnad, Romania–in which he spoke in glowing terms about the demise of liberal democracy in Hungary–the country has become a veritable “neo-fascist state.”

Zoltán Lovas

Zoltán Lovas

“The dictator [ie: Mr. Orbán] has announced the establishment of a neo-fascist Hungarian state. Our allies, the developed, western countries, have essentially assisted in all of this. The democratic opposition is fragmented. As such, in its current state, the opposition is in no shape to halt or stop this fascistic process,” wrote Mr. Lovas.

The opposition journalist noted that supporters of liberal democracy must draw two conclusions from the most recent developments:

  1. The current regime should not be legitimized through the democratic opposition’s participation in the upcoming local elections.
  2. The current democratic opposition is not only incapable of halting the evolution of a fascist state, but in the future — when this regime eventually collapses — it will be ill-suited to serve as the main force behind the reconstruction of a liberal democratic system of governance.

In closing, Mr. Lovas indicated that he plans to join the hundreds of thousands of Hungarians (half a million, according to some estimates), who have decided to emigrate since 2010.

“I have tried to fight against the gradual rise of the dictator for the past 25 years. But I have to admit: I have failed. Within a matter of weeks, I will emigrate. I hope to see the day when there will once again be freedom in Hungary,” observed Mr. Lovas.


  1. I know Mr Lovas’ steadfast and caring work and his close ties to Hungarian history and his deep attachment to the visual world around him. It seems to me inconceivable that he would leave – and if he does so, I’ll betcha he’ll be back… within the year !

  2. Avatar Christopher Adam says:

    I hope so as well, for the sake of Hungarian society. A brain drain is extremely damaging, especially when the people leaving are so socially engaged.

  3. Avatar András Göllner says:

    I beg to disagree, with all due respect, with Zoltán Lovas. Boycott is not the answer – doing your homework, and hard work is the only solution. Boycott is a cop-out ! There are many reasons why the democratic opposition is so weak in Hungary – a full rationalization exceeds the capacity of this posting. But one of the reasons is frequently ignored – the political parties opposed to the Orbán regime have yet to learn that political power grows out of grass-roots party activism, via dedicated, enthusiastic local activists, in each and every riding. Without an active, visible, respected, community minded presence at each and every riding, you cannot hope to win the hearts and minds of the public at large. The opposition parties are nowhere, outside of Budapest, and even in Budapest, the organizational effort is woefully inadequate. You cannot win elections, by holding the odd rally in the capital for a few thousand people, or by publishing clever advertorials in magazines read by a handful of intellectuals, or delivering rousing speeches on a TV channel, that reaches less than 5% of the public. Democracy has to be built from the ground up. Unfortunately Hungary’s political parties, with the exception of the populist, neo-fascist FIDESZ, have failed to take this into consideration. It’s time to roll up your shirtsleeves ladies and gentlemen, and get down to the task.

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