Up until 2010, leftist and even socialist politicians ruled Hungary, until widespread protests and civil unrest led to chaos in the streets of Budapest. In the aftermath, a new far-right Hungarian political party called Jobbik gained power and even represented Hungary in the European parliament. Their Prime Minster became Viktor Orban, a member of the right-wing Fidesz party, which has been accused of destroying democracy and plunging Hungary back into a state of Nazism (Hungary was one of the only Central/Eastern European countries to ally with Nazi Germany).
Jobbik, the far-right party mentioned before, has been openly anti-Semitic (even though some Jobbik party insiders and leaders were found to have Jewish heritage) and sported the Nazis’ swastika symbol. They even founded a paramilitary arm that was likened by Jobbik members themselves to Adolf Hitler‘s “brownshirts”. They claimed that the paramilitary arm, called Magyar Garda, was actually meant “to protect innocent Hungarians from dangerous migrants”, similar to other anti-immigrant paramilitary groups in Sweden. Paramilitary arms like these are often ones that don’t disarm for years and even turn to terrorism, as in the case of the Basques’ ETA (standing for Euskadi Ta Akatasuna, which means “Basque Homeland and Liberty”).
And it’s not like most Hungarians don’t support far-right and often anti-Semitic political parties like Jobbik and Fidesz, because they do. In reality, most Hungarians voted for these platforms, which resulted in Jobbik’s representatives screaming obscenities and wearing leather jackets with racial slurs written on them at the European parliament. This, in return, caused outrage for most of the other delegates at the European parliament, who kept silent. However, the President of the European parliament (Jean-Claude Juncker) retaliated by calling Viktor Orban “Dictator” and slapping his face, culminating in a semi-breakdown of relations and awkwardness between Hungary and the rest of the European community.
The thing is, most European countries can’t afford to censure Hungary, since it’s the world’s 35th largest exporter. According to the OEC, countries like Germany would lose almost $30 billion a year without Hungary, not to mention all that they import from Hungary, like car parts and engines.
Plus, it’s not like Hungary’s alone in their ways. The whole world has been on a populist trend partly orchestrated by Steve Bannon, the former Trump White House Chief Strategist who recently founded a “school of populist tactics” on the grounds of an Italian monastery. Other countries who are shifting include France (with Marine Le Pen‘s close loss in the most recent presidential election), Germany (with Angela Merkel‘s loss of power), the Philippines (with the Philippine public’s increasing support for Rodrigo Duterte), the US (with the election of President Donald Trump), the UK (with Brexit and UKIP), Brazil (with the election of Jair Bolsonaro), and finally, Mexico (with the election of AMLO as their president).
Historically, populist and nationalistic trends have been violent, and signs of this are already beginning to show. In the Philippines, any suspected drug offender is shot and executed on the spot, leading to complaints from human rights groups about there not being fair trials and due process, and arguing that “shoot first, ask questions” later should remain in movies and video games only.
Another potentially violent politician might be President Jair Bolsonaro, who applauded the idea to the return of the days of Brazil’s military dictatorship, arguing it was more “stable”.
In conclusion, political trends are hard to game out, since most politicians target one specific issue that matters a little more to their nation. In the predominantly Roman Catholic Philippines, drug abuse and addiction is seen as a problem of national concern, which led to their current policy of killing suspects. In Mexico, drug cartels and gangs are seen as a major national concern, with criminals assassinating politicians and journalists with relative ease. And in France, many richer and upper-class citizens, especially those found to be in living in more conservative regions, are scared of migrants and the crime or religious fanaticism they might bring with them, which nearly led to the victory of Marine Le Pen in the 2017 French Presidential Election.
“Political populism always poses a great danger because it disorients people, creates excessive expectations, or, on the contrary, prioritizes objectives that are clearly not priorities or are simply impossible to achieve”Russian President Vladimir Putin, a populist himself
What are your thoughts on the political situation in Hungary, and indeed, all of Europe or even the world? What do you think about populism and the populist political trend? Comment below and join the discussion!
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