freelogoOur objective is to provide English speaking readers interested in Hungary with a well balanced view of political activities in Hungary by featuring contents from various printed and online sources together with our own commentaries. We are convinced that Hungary is built on all sorts of different ideas, thoughts and opinions and, despite of the new Media Law, our aim is to provide an alternative and reliable source of information – contrary to the one-sided press of the government – for those who want to hear the voice of a free Hungary.

OSCE found ‘intimidating and xenophobic rhetoric, media bias and opaque financing’ at Hungary's election

International observers have delivered a damning verdict on the parliamentary election in Hungary, complaining of "intimidating and xenophobic rhetoric, media bias and opaque campaign financing".

The vote on 8. April delivered an overwhelming victory for Viktor Orbán, who will now serve a third consecutive term as prime minister. Orbán and his Fidesz party campaigned almost exclusively on a programme of keeping migrants out of the country.
"Rhetoric was quite hostile and xenophobic and that's a fact which we find regrettable in an electoral context," said Douglas Wake, the head of the monitoring mission for the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), at a briefing in Budapest on Monday.
The observers found that the hostile campaign "limited space for substantive debate and diminished voters' ability to make an informed choice". They also noted that public television "clearly favoured the ruling coalition".
It is an unusually strong rebuke for elections in an EU country, but given the size of Orbán's victory and his previous imperviousness to outside criticism, is unlikely to have much effect inside Hungary.
The OSCE's preliminary report also strongly criticised the use of public funds for so-called "government information campaigns". The electoral process was "characterised by a pervasive overlap between state and ruling party resources, undermining contestants' ability to compete on an equal basis", it said.
With just two weeks to go before the vote, thousands of anti-migrant billboards appeared that were theoretically unrelated to the campaign. They featured a long line of migrants, emblazoned with the word STOP. The same photograph was used in Ukip's controversial "breaking point" poster during the UK's Brexit referendum campaign.
"Putting up many, many billboards with messages that are almost exactly the same as the ruling party when they're being financed by the taxpayer is an electoral concern," said Wake.
Despite the strong criticism from the election monitors, a number of European politicians lined up to congratulate Orbán, including a number of far-right leaders such as Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders.
Britain's foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, tweeted: "Congratulations to Fidesz and Viktor Orbán on winning the elections in Hungary. We look forward to working with our Hungarian friends to further develop our close partnership."
Hungary is seen as one of the only friends Britain has as it continues with Brexit negotiations, leading to an extremely cautious approach to any criticism of Orbán from British diplomats and politicians.
In Brussels, however, responses were more mixed. Manfred Weber, the German leader of the largest party in the European parliament, the European People's party, of which Orbán's Fidesz is a member, welcomed the news.
Those comments were immediately denounced by the former Belgian prime minister and leader of the liberal group, Guy Verhofstadt. He tweeted: "By congratulating Orbán without calling on him to respect European values, the EPP legitimises his vile campaign, his attack on the rule of law & attempt to install authoritarianism."
A spokesman said the European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, would write to congratulate Orbán on his clear victory and call him to discuss "issues of common interest".
He said: "The EU is a union of democracies and values. President Juncker and the commission think that the defence of these values and its principles is a common endeavour of all member states, without exception."
There is little sign that any words of reproach will have an effect on Orbán, particularly after winning such a convincing mandate.
Four years ago OSCE monitors said the previous parliamentary election was "free but not fair", and Wake made it clear that the Hungarian government had largely ignored the recommendations contained in that report. "The response to our previous recommendations was extremely limited," he said.
Many observers believe that rather than the EU changing Hungary, there is a higher probability of a newly emboldened Orbán winning ground in his battle to reshape the EU. Although Orbán's political language is of the far right, his Fidesz party is part of the centre-right grouping in Brussels that includes Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union party.
Orbán's new mandate makes it less likely that Brussels will be able to hold him to account over democratic backsliding. András Tóth-Czifra of the European Stability Initiative thinktank said European leaders would now feel there was no alternative to Orbán, which would make it harder to apply pressure and give him more leeway to brush off criticism.
"This in turn will encourage parties like the Front National, Dutch Freedom party, Austrian Freedom party and the AfD [Alternative for Germany] to call for policies like Orbán's, and cow more and more EPP politicians into adopting these policies themselves," said Tóth-Czifra.
Source: The Guardian

Newsletter

Comments

Written on 21/12/2017, 21:09 by admin
jerusalemJerusalem, the eternal capital of the state of Israel and the Jewish people, finally got the official recognition which was overdue for decades....
Written on 13/09/2017, 20:13 by admin
guest-post-eu-and-orban-two-good-friendsThe decision of the European Court of Justice, according to which Hungary should accomodate more than one thousand refugees is at the same time appaling...
Written on 06/10/2016, 19:58 by admin
guest-post-the-day-after-the-referendumThe much anticipated referendum about the resettlement of migrants in Hungary was declared invalid, however, those who voted overwhelmingly rejected the...
Written on 23/06/2016, 06:31 by admin
disintegration-or-something-else-gyurcsany-s-solutions-to-the-ills-of-western-democracies  Something has gone wrong. Quietly, but ever more noticeably, more and more people in more and more places are in revolt. In the American...
Written on 06/04/2016, 19:20 by admin
how-germany-and-its-leftist-liberal-supporters-killed-solidaritySolidarity. This is the word that is probably is the most used and misused term in European politics. Its original meaning is supposed to mean to show...
Written on 23/03/2016, 20:30 by admin
the-orban-regime-can-only-end-in-failure  Change in the Orbán regime is only possible in the event of its downfall, so ruling Fidesz either becomes successful with its current set of...
Written on 23/03/2016, 20:20 by admin
anger-or-resignation  No matter how hard Mr Orbán is trying to get rid of his old cronies, he just cannot get rid of himself. He is too old for his system. The...
Written on 14/01/2016, 20:51 by admin
europe-s-new-yearThe European continent had a very difficult year in 2015, but that may be dwarfed by 2016. The most heated issue will be, without a doubt, the migration...
Written on 09/12/2015, 14:16 by admin
the-secret-diaries-of-viktor-orban-nov-dec-2015November 14th 2015I awoke to the shocking news about the Paris attacks last night. Words cannot express my feelings of shock.It turns out that one of the...
Written on 12/11/2015, 14:31 by admin
spies-in-the-newsroom   According to a new scheme, the government might place spies in the newsrooms, to have a better view of what is being written. This all...
Joomla templates by Joomlashine