The conclusion for the Hungarian opposition shall therefore be quite obvious: they need to find an answer to the abovementioned economic needs. The refugee crisis may dominate the public discussion for now, but everyday lives of the voters are defined by the worsening economic situation and the fear of wash-out.
Hungarian citizens can be more engaged and active in politics, though it is not certain, whether the Podemos-model as a whole can be simply copied. There are differences in the political culture as well as taste, not to mention that for many the radical rightist Jobbik is also an acceptable anti-regime alternative.
The 15th of March is a time of national celebration and pride in Hungary. In 1848 on this day, the Hungarian people rose up against Habsburg overlords and started a revolution to fight for liberties. This year, the country was divided between two main celebrations.
Zoltán Kész’s victory shattered the two third majority of governing party Fidesz in the parliament. Using this supermajority, the government has implemented a new constitution and new laws curtailing the freedom of speech, human rights and the power of the constitutional court since 2010. Hungary has also become fearfully friendly with Russia regardless of the growing tensions between the EU and Putin.
Merkel’s criticism of Orbán’s domestic politics came through clearly via independent media. The visit made it very clear how far Orbán is from the mainstream European opinion on issues of democracy and rule of law.
Fidesz got so detached from reality and from its voters that the government can no longer assess how far it can go. Fidesz’s attempt to tax the Internet was the last straw.
On the day after the internet tax protests it is hard to tell whether they mean real burning point for Fidesz government or Hungarian politics in general.
The strengthening of extremism is an important signal, but the EU-committed “mainstream” remains strong. If the notion of the crisis becomes stronger within the EU, the prediction of “Europe will fall” can fulfill itself.
The results confirmed the predictions of Fidesz victory, saw a weakening of the still formidable extreme right and led to a restructuring of the Hungarian left. Unfortunately, no liberal MEPs were elected.
From among the EU member-states, the Hungarian government used the most lenient approach to the Russian operations in Ukraine. The opposition parties’ immediate reactions to these events made the government party express its opinion too.