András Göllner in Huffington Post: EU must take decisive action against Orbán government

András Göllner, Founder and International Spokesperson of the Canadian Hungarian Democratic Charter and Professor Emeritus at Concordia University, gave a live interview to Huffington Post, over Skype, from his home in Montreal. Professor Göllner spoke to the growing popular unrest in Hungary and the destruction of the rule of law since 2010. “Hungary has taken a wrong turn. It has taken a turn from the democratic path and what’s happening now is that more and more people are starting to object to this, by going out into the streets and demonstrating” observed Professor Göllner.

“The reason Orbán veered increasingly in an authoritarian direction, is because he felt that this is what would sell in a country that does not really have a democratic tradition that one could speak of. It is a country that prefers strong leadership, a powerful head of government. The prime minister utilized this type of cultural background to steer Hungary in a direction that is now an autocracy rather than a democracy,” added Professor Göllner in the interview.

András Göllner speaking to HuffPost over Skype. Photo: Video capture from HuffPost.

András Göllner speaking to HuffPost over Skype. Photo: Video capture from HuffPost.

The host asked about Hungary, pre-2010 and the nature and efficacy of the country’s system of checks and balances.

“Hungary had a pretty good constitution put in place in 1989, which had very elaborate checks and balances, an independent judiciary, guaranteed freedom for the mass media, and all of the usual parameters, which entitled Hungary to join the European Union in 2004. Yet since 2010, all of these checks and balances have been very rapidly eliminated, by the Orbán government. Right now, the scrutinization of parliament and political parties, as well as overall transparency is very limited in Hungary. This is one of the factors behind the unrest in Budapest and in other cities,” noted Professor Göllner, adding that economic factors are also present and the high level of corruption that is now rampant has helped spark the demonstrations.

“The highest level of the judiciary are packed by cronies, the friends of the prime minister. The entire political apparatus, the police, the secret service, the head of the media authority, are all comprised of cronies. This power is supported by a very small, but powerful oligarchy of multi-billionaires, who are the prime minister’s friends and who finance him. The public mass media does not carry any messages critical of the government and even the national wire service (MTI) is managed by friends of the prime minister. There is a very tight control and it is very similar to Putin’s Russia. The big difference is that Hungary is a member of the European Union, and the European Union should be speaking up, or acting in reaction to this backsliding from democracy. So far, there hasn’t been very much other than a light slap on the wrist. The European Union doesn’t have mechanisims of policing members who have already been admitted into the club”, Professor Göllner observed.

“Only 27% of eligible voters actually voted for Fidesz-KDNP, yet this 27% has still given the government a supermajority, largely thanks to the self-serving electoral system implemented by the regime. Hungary is no longer a country governed by the rule of law,” added the Democratic Charter’s spokesperson.

The full interview can be viewed here. It is the first 10 minute segment of the 30 minute program on HuffPost.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *