The era of Victor OrbanComments
Parliamentary elections on Sunday 3rd April, in what could be an unpredictable contest in the light of the war in Ukraine.
Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban has been in power continuously since 2010, making him the longest serving Prime Minister in the EU.
At the beginning of his first term, Orban was faced with the fallout from the great recession, which like many other EU nations, hit Hungary hard.
He succeeded in stabilising the post crisis economy, by enacting sectoral taxes and dipping in to pension savings, but without increasing direct taxes.
His ruling Fidesz party came to power with a large two thirds majority in parliament.
It allowed him to force through many amendments to the Hungarian constitution, including controversial restrictions on the power of the Constitutional Court and stating a preference for traditional families.
During and in the aftermath of the EU migration crisis of 2015, Orban started to rail against migration to Hungary.
He launched a campaign blaming refugees for taking Hungarian jobs and insisted that Hungary should not be forced to take its share of people fleeing to the EU.
An obvious sign of his opposition to accepting refugees and migrants manifested as a barbed wire fence that Hungary created on its southern border, ostensibly to guard its frontiers.
Coupled with this was an accusation that the billionaire investor George Soros, was aiming to bring a million migrants into hungry a claim he has consistently denied.
The EU and Hungary increasingly came into conflict over accusations of corruption and abuses of power, as Orban sought to limit the activities of civil groups, whom he often accused of aiding refugees.
During his rule, most of the media, universities and major economic actors were put under Fidesz’s formal or informal influence.
Certain friends of Hungary’s PM became very wealthy, very quickly, such his best friend, a gas fitter Lőrinc Mészáros. He quickly became the richest man in Hungary, leading to accusations of nepotism and economic corruption. The Prime Minister's son in law, István Tiborcz also saw his wealth rapidly increase under Fidesz’s rule.
After Orban was returned to power a third time in 2018, he increasingly focused on the LGBT community in Hungary. He enacted a law in 2021 which severely restricted LGBT education for minors, which critics said also blurred the line between homosexuality and pedophilia. The Prime Minister denied these claims and said the law’s aim was to protect children.
Recently trends of lower public debt have been reversed due to extra spending in the coronavirus pandemic. Orban’s critics accused him of trying to buy the election, by offering generous handouts to key voter groups in the year running up to the election.
On 3rd April, he hopes he will be returned to a historic fourth term as Prime Minister of Hungary.