Sir, Your editorial “Orban warfare” (August 5) on the Fidesz-led coalition government in Hungary raises the question of the basis on which these criticisms are made. The Hungarian government is accountable to Hungary’s voters, not to foreign journalists, even if you decry this as “nationalism”. The government’s support at home remains solid. Hence its legitimacy, derived from the voters, is not in question.
No one likes to be criticised by outsiders and the effect of external criticism is to strengthen support for a government that resists being pushed around by foreigners. This may well be an unintended consequence of your editorial and others like it.
Additionally, your negative comment would have much more force if you had been equally critical of the 2002-10 leftwing Hungarian governments and their disastrous policies. This was not the case, despite occasional tut-tutting, and there is an undeniable whiff of a double standard being applied. Are centre-right governments to be assessed by harsher criteria than leftwing ones? Many people in Hungary see it that way and that inconsistency undermines your criticism in Hungarian eyes. This is what counts.
On the specifics, your observations about the charges potentially being brought against the former premiers are premature, indeed inaccurate. There has been no attempt to bring charges. Rather, a recommendation has been made to the appropriate parliamentary committee to consider the grounds for charges to be brought. Nor, in the event, would any charges be brought retroactively: Hungary’s constitution would not allow this.
It is ironic that you presume sufficient knowledge of the legal basis to label the government’s actions as “legally spurious”, while at the same time demonstrating that you yourself have a very poor understanding of Hungarian law.
Minister of State for Government Communication,
Hungarian Ministry of Public Administration
Last Updated on Friday, 30 August 2013 09:11