Hungría

Un conflicto lleva años gestándose entre el primer ministro húngaro Viktor Orbán y el Partido Popular Europeo, la organización supranacional de partidos democristianos y de centroderecha de los estados miembros de la Unión Europea. Tras largas vacilaciones, en marzo del año pasado el PPE suspendió al partido de Orbán, Fidesz, y ahora estudia su expulsión.

Motivos para hacerlo no le faltan. Fidesz no sólo destruyó la democracia y el Estado de Derecho en Hungría, sino que también ha presentado a la UE como una institución despótica a la que acusa de privar a los europeos de su libertad. Tras la suspensión de Fidesz, Orbán contraatacó diciendo que es el único defensor auténtico de la democracia cristiana y que sus críticos en el PPE están vendidos al liberalismo.…  Seguir leyendo »

Puedo llegar a entender a quienes afirman que en los últimos cuatro años ya se ha escrito todo sobre la destrucción del Estado de derecho y el desmantelamiento de la democracia en Polonia. Pero es que el Gobierno populista de Ley y Justicia (PiS, en sus siglas polacas) quiere tomar el control de los tribunales para que los funcionarios del partido, como en la época del comunismo, puedan influir en las sentencias y utilizarlas para fortalecer su poder.

Gracias a los tribunales serviles es posible amordazar a los medios de comunicación insumisos, llevar a la quiebra a los empresarios que no quieren compartir sus ingresos con el partido y encerrar a los oponentes políticos en la cárcel como si fueran delincuentes comunes.…  Seguir leyendo »

In recent weeks Fidesz, Hungary’s ruling party, has proposed legislation to tighten its hold over state-supported theaters, and further consolidated the media under central control.

This may be a response to Fidesz’s major losses in October’s mayoral races. Fidesz entered the elections holding 38 of the 47 most significant positions — but ended up with only 19.

Fidesz lost (contrary to some media coverage) because of the consolidation of the opposition vote. And it faces an important choice: whether to adapt by pursuing effective governance, or by attempting to undermine democracy.

Fidesz altered the election system

Hungary has a mixed electoral system.…  Seguir leyendo »

El 15 de noviembre, la Universidad Centroeuropea (CEU) inauguró oficialmente su nuevo campus en Viena (Austria), tras su arbitraria expulsión de Hungría. Ese mismo día, el gobierno del primer ministro húngaro Viktor Orbán abrió otro gran estadio deportivo en Budapest.

Previsiblemente, los medios húngaros controlados por el gobierno centraron su atención en el segundo acontecimiento y no hablaron de la partida de la CEU, la universidad húngara mejor calificada en Europa y el mundo. Pero la dirigencia de la Unión Europea también se quedó mayoritariamente en silencio (un silencio que ensordece y desalienta), el día de la apertura de la primera “universidad en el exilio” de la UE en la capital de un estado miembro vecino.…  Seguir leyendo »

Thirty years ago this month, wrapping up a long and joyous democratic upheaval, Hungarians cast their votes in a referendum on the remaining powers of the Communist Party. It would be too easy to commemorate that event with sad reflections on the current malaise of our country — the reign of corrupt authoritarianism authored by Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Sorry, but I will resist the impulse. No, our revolution was not wasted. What we accomplished in 1989 is not going away.

If any proof were needed, we received a remarkable anniversary gift on Oct. 13, when municipal elections handed Orban a resounding defeat in Budapest and several other big cities.…  Seguir leyendo »

Indudablemente, es muy fácil señalar con el dedo al culpable. Es el Gobierno del partido Ley y Justicia (PiS en sus siglas polacas), que acudió a la cumbre de Bruselas con un solo nombre en su agenda: el de Frans Timmermans. Sin embargo, el primer ministro Mateusz Morawiecki no quería que fuese elegido, sino más bien vetarlo como candidato para el puesto de presidente de la nueva Comisión Europea. Timmermans, primer vicepresidente de la Comisión saliente, supervisó en Polonia los procedimientos disciplinarios por infringir el Estado de derecho. Hablamos —sin exageración alguna— del político occidental más odiado por la derecha polaca.…  Seguir leyendo »

In April 2018, Hungary’s Viktor Orban and his Fidesz party won their third parliamentary supermajority, securing 49 percent of the vote and trouncing the fragmented opposition. A year earlier, Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic won an outright victory in his bid for the presidency, taking 55 percent of the vote and preempting the need for a presidential runoff for the first time in Serbia’s history.

Orban and Vucic have both moved to dismantle institutional checks and balances and centralize power in their own hands; they have also benefited from European Union support and ineffectual domestic opposition. But it is their domination of the media that has underwritten their success.…  Seguir leyendo »

En su edición del 22 de marzo, el semanario esloveno Mladina mostró en su portada una caricatura del Primer Ministro húngaro Viktor Orbán haciendo el saludo nazi mientras lo abrazaban políticos de derechas del Partido Democrático Esloveno (SDS). Y Orbán, cuyos gobiernos han logrado un control casi completo de los medios de comunicación de su país, no se lo tomó a la ligera.

La caricatura se refería a un artículo sobre la decisión del Partido Popular Europeo –un grupo trasnacional de partidos de centroderecha que posee desde 1999 la mayor cantidad de escaños en el Parlamento Europeo- de suspender la membresía del partido Fidesz de Orbán.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Hungarian resistance

Most people want to survive. What could be more natural than that? Most peoples want to survive, too. That’s no less natural.

For a thousand years, the lands inhabited by the Hungarian people have been invaded, their settlements sacked, men, women and children enslaved and slaughtered. Mongols, Ottomans, Nazis and Soviets were among those who conquered and ruled the Hungarians. Somehow, they’ve survived.

Hungarians today, a clear majority, believe their national existence — their unique identity, language, culture and traditions — is threatened again. This time, however, it is not by nomads on horseback or soldiers in tanks. It is by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the European Union.…  Seguir leyendo »

A demonstration in Budapest during January against the proposed new labour legislation dubbed the ‘slave law’. Photograph: László Balogh/Getty Images

As a Hungarian living in Berlin, I’d watched the protests against Viktor Orbán from afar – until, like almost everyone I know, I went home for Christmas. Recent months have been very special for many people in my native country. Thousands have been demonstrating against the government, the ruling party Fidesz and its leader. Among the cheerful crowds in Budapest, I felt the significance of these events for myself too.

This was the first demonstration I’d attended since leaving Hungary in 2012. I quit my job at the Hungarian public TV broadcaster because I’d been offered a German academic fellowship. And I’d applied for that because of the introduction of a law restricting media freedom a year earlier.…  Seguir leyendo »

This week, the Washington-based think tank Freedom House published its annual Freedom in the World report assessing the state of democracy and freedom in countries around the world. Freedom House assesses countries’ political rights and civil liberties, and categorizes them broadly as “free,” “partly free” and “not free.” The report found a “consistent and ominous” pattern of democracy in retreat across the globe, but its judgment on Hungary was especially notable. Ever since it became a democracy in 1990, Hungary has been categorized as “free.” This year, it was downgraded to the status of “partly free” — along with countries such as Pakistan, Singapore, Ukraine and Zimbabwe.…  Seguir leyendo »

El 3 de diciembre de 2018 la Universidad Centroeuropea (CEU) anunció que a partir del 19 de septiembre de 2019 trasladará la mayor parte de sus clases de Budapest a Viena. En la práctica, el gobierno del Primer Ministro húngaro Víctor Orbán ha logrado cerrar esta institución, fundada por su villano favorito, George Soros. “El desalojo arbitrario de una universidad reputada constituye una violación flagrante de la libertad académica”, declaró su rector, Michael Ignatieff. “Es un día oscuro para Europa y un día oscuro para Hungría.”

No para Orbán, que, como reportara The New York Times “ha visto por largo tiempo esta institución como un bastión del liberalismo y una amenaza a su visión de crear una ‘democracia iliberal’”.…  Seguir leyendo »

Anti-government demonstrators carry a banner that says “We protest against the slave bill” as they march in front of the parliament building in Budapest on Jan. 5. (Marton Monus/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

Thousands of Hungarians turned out again to protest in Budapest and other cities Saturday, calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. This makes nearly one month of protests since Hungary’s parliament approved a new law on overtime work Dec. 12.

Dubbed the “slave law” by its opponents, the law increases the amount of overtime employers can ask of their employees, from 250 to 400 hours per year. Companies have up to three years to pay the added wages. The law does not require employees to work overtime — but in a country where many workers fear losing their jobs, they may feel obligated to accept management’s request.…  Seguir leyendo »

La elección dejó a uno de los países más grandes del mundo profundamente dividido, y entregó la presidencia a un agitador militarista, que hostiga a las minorías y critica duramente a los medios, y que prometió aplastar a un establishment corrupto. No me refiero a la elección presidencial de 2016 en Estados Unidos que llevó a Donald Trump al poder, sino a la elección de 2018 en Brasil, cuyo ganador (ahora apodado el Trump de los Trópicos) Jair Bolsonaro asumió formalmente el 1 de enero.

Bolsonaro se une a la creciente lista de líderes supuestamente transformadores (entre ellos Trump, el primer ministro húngaro Viktor Orbán y el líder de facto de Polonia Jarosław Kaczyński) que obtuvieron el poder despotricando contra el establishment y jurando poner fin a la corrupción sistémica.…  Seguir leyendo »

A demonstrator holds a banner with likenesses of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Russian President Vladimir Putin in front of the Hungarian presidental palace in Budapest on Dec. 21 to protest a law about overtime work and pay. (Peter Kohalmi/AFP/Getty Images (Peter Kohalmi/AFP/Getty Images)

Most of the international criticism directed at Hungary over the past nine years has focused on domestic indicators such as the rule of law, separation of powers and press freedom. Prime Minister Viktor Orban has been remarkably blunt about his designs for Hungary, citing China, Russia and Turkey as models. After an election in April widely deemed free but not fair, he sounded a triumphal note, declaring that “the era of liberal democracy is over.”

Since Orban won reelection, however, his behavior has called into question not only his democratic bona fides, but also his basic trustworthiness as an ally of the United States and member of the democratic Western world.…  Seguir leyendo »

A woman attends a demonstration against Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Budapest on Sept. 16. (Bernadett Szabo/Reuters)

Since coming to power in 2010, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has undermined key democratic institutions in his country. He’s attacked foreign-funded nongovernmental organizations, worked to tighten his control over courts and forced a leading private university out of the country.

But Orban has rarely done the things typically associated with autocracy. His government hasn’t banned any opposition candidates, and few have been attacked. Hungary holds no political prisoners. No journalists have been arrested. The country continues to hold relatively clean multiparty elections with virtually no outright fraud.

According to standard conceptions of democracy — which focus on violations of civil liberties, including freedom of speech, assembly and the press — Hungary’s status as an autocracy is ambiguous.…  Seguir leyendo »

De entre todos los éxitos que está teniendo la nueva derecha en Europa y América, el caso de Hungría seguramente merezca especial atención. En primer lugar, por tratarse de una de sus sedes más exitosas y desde hace más tiempo: Viktor Orbán lleva gobernando (si prescindimos de su anterior período en el poder, de 1998 a 2002, en que se confesaba democristiano) desde 2010, con tasas de un 48,9 % de los votos en su última y reciente reelección. En segundo lugar, porque es húngara una de las etiquetas con que este tipo de políticos se ha decidido a nombrar su propia ideología.…  Seguir leyendo »

Depuis déjà une semaine, des milliers de personnes battent de nouveau le pavé à Budapest et ailleurs en Hongrie, bravant le froid, pour s’opposer à une série de nouvelles lois du gouvernement de Viktor Orbán. C’est l’adoption par le Parlement de deux lois en quelques heures à peine qui aura mis le feu aux poudres. Celle qui est surnommée «la loi esclavagiste» permettra aux employeurs d’exiger de leurs employés jusqu’à 400 heures supplémentaires par an, payables jusqu’à trois ans plus tard.

La seconde établit une nouvelle juridiction administrative qui traitera un large éventail de litiges, dont les affaires électorales, les cas de violence policière, l’asile et les marchés publics.…  Seguir leyendo »

A rally in support of Central European University in Kossuth Square, in front of Parliament, in Budapest on Saturday.CreditCreditBernadett Szabo/Reuters

It was 3 a.m. on Sunday and we were camping in Kossuth Square in front of the Hungarian Parliament. We were trying to keep dry in the freezing rain, and trying to save our university.

I’m American, but I applied to Central European University because of the strength of its gender studies program and the faculty in my field of research (analyzing nationalist recruitment techniques from a feminist perspective). Now the far-right government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban has cut gender studies from the approved list of degrees in Hungary. (“The Hungarian government is of the clear view that people are born either men or women,” the prime minister’s chief of staff said over the summer, and “does not wish to spend public funds on education in this area”).…  Seguir leyendo »

Protesters demanding a free press at a rally in Budapest in April. Laszlo Balogh/Getty Images

If you’re wondering what attacks on the news media around the world mean for the future of democracy, it’s worth a trip to Budapest. Consider it a cautionary-tale vacation.

When I visited Hungary recently, I knew I was entering a waning democracy that’s become increasingly authoritarian. I knew that Prime Minister Viktor Orban won a third term in April by convincing voters that a phantasmic combination of Muslim migrants, the Hungarian-born billionaire George Soros and European Union bureaucrats was coming to get them.

But I only understood how Mr. Orban pulled this off when I spoke to Hungarian journalists. They explained that Mr.…  Seguir leyendo »