Conservative or Revolutionary?
Three aspects of the second Orbán-government. A piece by Ferenc Hörcher with a response from Eszter Babarczy.

Ferenc Hörcher argues in his pamphlet that Viktor Orbán is one of the most debated figures of contemporary European politics. During the second term as Prime Minister (2010-2014) he enjoyed a two third majority in the parliament and with a sharply divided opposition he decided to use the opportunity to remap the Hungarian political system. He could push through his programme in spite of the world economic crisis and the strong criticism in the political elite of the European Union, as well.

Before the 2014 national election in Hungary, this essay analyses his performance and looks for the explanation of how he could keep his camp together in spite of all the challenges. Written by a well-known Hungarian political philosopher and historian of political thought, this essay is published here to open a debate about the performance of Viktor Orbán and his second government. (Please click here to download the pamphlet.)

 

 

In her response Eszter Babarczy agrees with her colleague that criticism directed at Mr Orbán is often misguided.

While his strategy is to amass power and control at the expense of consensus-seeking or even respecting the constraints of the law, his main objective is not to abolish democracy or the rule of law. His goal, I believe, conforms to the blueprint identified by Andrew Janos -- to create a new elite that would support Fidesz and its allies behind the scenes.

Yet, despite all the revolutionary rhetoric and fighting words, he seeks legitimacy in election victory. Pro-market and pro-democracy critics often fail to understand that he has no intention of transforming Hungary into a post-Soviet dictatorship with himself at the helm. Mr. Orbán prefers capitalism – especially in manufacturing and agriculture – to a state-run economy, and prefers democratic legitimacy to dictatorship backed by raw force. 

On the other hand, he is impatient with open debate and the democratic process, or too much independence on the part of economic actors. Hence he has created an environment that gives him maximum control and a way to efficiently and swiftly push forward with his own agenda. This agenda, in my opinion, resembles those of past Hungarian revolutionary elites with one crucial difference: it relies more on the carrot than the stick. 

Please click here to download the response of Eszter Babarczy.

Conversations: An Evening With Robert Agostinelli

Date: 21/09/2017 5:00 p.m.
Location: Institute of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 1016 Budapest, Bérc u. 13-15.
The well-known financier and philantropist Robert Agostinelli will be the guest of the Danube Institute in Budapest on 21 September.

Courts, governments and rights

Date: 27/09/2017 9:00 a.m.
Location: 1051 Budapest, Széchenyi István tér 9
What is the appropriate role of courts and constitutional courts in a functioning liberal democracy?

Who and What Funds Terrorism?

Date: 25/09/2017 5:30 p.m.
Location: Budapest, Eötvös u. 24, 1067
A lecture by Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld, PhD, Director of the American Center for Democracy and expert on terrorism and its financing.

FOCUS csoport: konzervatív fiatalok a magyarságért

Future events

A Danube Institute együttműködik a FOCUS csoporttal az első konferenciájukon.

Dinner with the Atlantic Council

Past Events

The Danube Institute and Zsolt Németh co-hosted a dinner for the delegation of the Atlantic Council of the United States.

Free Speech, Social Justice and the PC Culture

Past Events

What is taking place on certain university campuses in the West? A lecture by Ruth Dudley Edwards on June 8 at the Danube Institute.

Healthcare in Hungary: Are There Any Lessons From Abroad?

Events

International conference on the healthcare in Hungary and the lessons from abroad.

Free Market Road Show: The World after Brexit and Trump

Past Events

We now live in an era where the unthinkable happens, repeatedly. A conference on our times and the future of free market.

The Middle East, America and Europe in the Trump Era

Past Events

On April 13, 2017, the Danube Institute presented Tom Gross, noted Middle East commentator.

Europe vs Elections

Past Events

Will the Dutch, French and German Elections Change Europe’s Future?

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