Is Viktor Orban right to fear Western interference in Hungary’s election? — Analysis
Hungarian PM was concerned about election inspectors, withholding money, and criticism from USA and EU.
Hungarians vote in April 3. This will be their most difficult election since 1990 when the country was a democracy.
The stakes are very high, and they go way beyond Hungary’s borders. This election is not just a clash between ideologies but also a part of wider culture war that’s currently taking place across western countries.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has long painted himself as a strongman, determined to protect his country’s national identity and Christian values. He often feels at odds to Western leaders and European Union members, while being close to Donald Trump is what makes him even more hostile to the Biden administration.
It also irritates West because of his close relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Orban, who was arguing against sanctions when they met, claimed that the bans were unnecessary. “caused more damage to Hungary than to Russia.”He said that he also believed “it is possible to reach an agreement that guarantees peace, guarantees Russia’s security and is acceptable to NATO member states.”
The accusation also includes a more lenient attitude towards China. Hungary is due to open Europe’s first Chinese university and China is also funding the construction of a new Budapest to Belgrade railway. Orban’s government has also denounced the fact that Russian and Chinese Covid vaccines have not been globally recognized, with his foreign minister claiming the decision was “political” rather than medical.
Moreover, the general election will not be the only vote taking place in Hungary on April 3 – a referendum on Hungary’s LGBT law, which bans the teaching of LGBT lifestyles in schools, is also taking place on the same day. Orban is, naturally, betting that the Hungarian electorate supports his firm stance on this matter, which has alarmed many liberals across Europe.
Hungarian officials are therefore preparing themselves for interference from outsiders in the elections campaign. Orban’s chief of staff warned earlier this week of an “attack,” as he claimed, “the western European elite”You want to assume control “the helm of Hungary’s ship.”Orban warned last year that the US could interfere in the elections. Tucker Carlson of Fox News was told by Orban that he believed the US might interfere in the election. “it will happen,”But “we are not worried about it, we are prepared for it.”
Orban also has been at odds with the European Union over the primacy EU law. In an attempt to persuade Orban to compromise, the European Commission has begun to withhold funds from Hungary prior to the elections. Orban, however, shows no sign of bowing to Brussels’ demands.
This has led to all sorts of accusations, including one that the Orban government will somehow ‘steal’ the election. A group of anti-Orban MEPs contacted the Office for Democratic Institutions Human Rights (ODIHR) last month to request a large-scale international observation mission be sent to Hungary in order to monitor the voting. The ODIHR complied and now recommends that a large-scale international mission be sent to Budapest to observe the election. Orban’s supporters, however, seem relaxed about this prospect, as Hungary’s ambassador to Britain, Ferenc Kumin, has argued that his country’s democratic process is robust and compares favorably to the UK’s.
The West’s obsession with removing Orban has led them to support an odd rag-tag of extremes. The opposition, led by conservative Péter Márki-Zay, is a coalition of convenience, which includes the hard left and the far right. Indeed, I remember the MEPs from one of the parties involved, Jobbik, sitting in the European Parliament wearing uniforms … and these are the characters the West’s liberals want to replace Orban. This is all surreal.
Although it looks like Orban is fighting the world, the west liberals are disappointed to see that he seems to be winning. Polls show Orban’s lead widening, with 51 percent of Hungarians saying they will vote for his Fidesz party, a higher percentage than in the last election in 2018. Perhaps this is why there is such nervous activity regarding the election emanating from the West’s corridors of power. They will be furious if Orban is elected on April 3rd.
Statements, opinions and views expressed in this column do not reflect those of RT.