Hungary’s amoral ruling party must be defeated

Standing on a little wooden chair and encircled by fans, this image of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán summed up effectively the bogus, foundationless nature of the Orbán regime that has ruled the country for 12 years. Fidesz is, after all, the party that embraces the conceit of being the sole legitimate representation of all that is Christian and patriotic. Yet it’s also the party of monstrously corrupt oligarchs like Lőrinc Mészáros, of cocaine-laced parties in Ibiza, of gay orgies in Brussels at the height of the pandemic, of the Chinese communist party’s growing influence in Budapest through the establishment of the sprawling Fudan University campus, and Fidesz is also the party that is attached at the hip to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin — allowing the murderous former KGB agent to use a nation once the hallmark of brave anti-Soviet resistance as a gateway to Europe.

Fidesz is the party that ran an outrageous hate campaign against Syrian refugees and migrants in 2015 — convincing Hungarians through a dense forest of billboards that the Syrians are coming to destroy Hungarian culture and steal Hungarian jobs. Fidesz is the party that legislated the explicit harassment of the homeless by authorities. Fidesz is the party and Péter Szijjártó is the seemingly sociopathic foreign minister that has reportedly turned a blind eye to Russian hackers affiliated with Russia’s Federal Security Service hacking into the ministry’s computer systems. For ten years, Russian security agents have been gaining confidential inside knowledge on the internal plans of Hungarian Foreign Affairs, as well as Hungary’s involvement with NATO. And Fidesz has allowed this to happen.

Viktor Orbán without a stage

This month, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has levelled searing criticism against Mr. Orbán for taking a hands-off approach to Russian’s aggression in Ukraine and for showing none of the courage demonstrated by Polish political leaders — traditionally close allies of Budapest. Mr. Zelenszky noted: “There can be no Russian branches in Europe that divide the EU from within, that are trying to help Russia make as much money as possible even now. Everyone knows very well who in the European Union opposes humanity and common sense, and who does nothing at all to help establish peace in Ukraine. This must stop, and Europe must stop listening to the excuses of Budapest.”

Mr. Zelensky is almost correct here — except that Mr. Orbán isn’t offering excuses when it comes to his unwillingness to support Ukraine when faced with murderous Russian aggression. It has to do with what is at the core of the Orbán regime. Fidesz is entirely amoral. What even the most cynical parties and politicians possess in terms of some moral compass, no matter how deeply buried, Fidesz simply does not have. Mr. Zelensky can appeal to Mr. Orbán’s conscience by pointing him in the direction of the shoes along the Danube, that stark Holocaust memorial in the heart of Budapest. It simply won’t make any difference. Mr. Orbán will still callously speak of Hungary’s political and economic interests, with an unwillingness to even contemplate any sacrifice — even when the airwaves are overwhelmed by images of death and destruction in Ukraine.

There’s no point in smearing lipstick on a pig. There’s no hope of appealing to Mr. Orbán’s conscience — or that of anyone in the Fidesz orbit. There’s only one thing left to be done. On April 3, 2022, we must pull the chair out from under Hungary’s authoritarian ruler by voting for Péter Márki-Zay’s United for Hungary.

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