Concern over rising racism as Hungarians prepare to vote

Written by admin on 07/30/2019 Categories: 苏州美睫

(Transcript from World News Radio)


Mr Orban has a reputation as an authoritarian leader, and the European Union says it is concerned about rising levels of racism in the country.



But, as Kerry Skyring reports, he seems set to cement his grip on power.


(Click on audio tab to listen to this item)


Viktor Orban strides onto a Budapest stage.


He looks across a sea of supporters, many waving the red, white and green Hungarian flag, and lets the applause roll on.


And then he tells the rally:


“Ladies and Gentlemen, Fellow Citizens, Hungarians throughout the world, I greet you with Lajos Kossuth. As the messengers of freedom, we greet the day of Hungary’s freedom. We greet our guests from Poland with some lines from the Polish National Anthem. Poland is not lost as long as we live, if we have been robbed of our lands, our sword will recapture them”


Mr Orban’s speech marks the anniversary of Hungary’s 1848 revolution against the Austrian empire, and he laces it with nationalist rhetoric.


Ahead of this election, Mr Orban exudes confidence.


Since returning to power in 2010, he has led what many are calling a revolution in Hungarian politics and society.


The revolution’s aims are controversial, but political scientist Zoltan Kiszelly says the results are clear.


“Fidesz is facing an absolute victory. That means more than 50 per cent of the parliament seats. And if it is a lower voter turnout, around 50 per cent, it could be a two-thirds majority again. But it depends on the voter turnout.”


In Budapest’s Café Jedermann, photo artist and teacher Gabriele Csozog tells how a new Hungarian word has been invented.


It is a word that describes new levels of racism in the country.


“You know, discrimination in Hungary is getting stronger and stronger. And the two main groups that are so weak are the Jewish people and the Romas. And ‘anti-zigeunism’ is the new word. This is ‘anti-Roma’. And we hadn’t got this word two years ago. This is something new.”


And it is not likely to change after this election.


Istvan Grajczjar heads the sociology department at Budapest’s King Sigismund College.


He says Hungary’s self-described “radically patriotic Christian” party Jobbik is flourishing and could win up to 30 per cent of the vote.


“They will get more, a little bit more, voters because of the resocialisation process of the Orban regime, which is a semi-autocratic and nationalistic regime. And this is a very good atmosphere for the developing of Jobbik party.”


The Orban Government is under pressure from the European Union for what is seen as damaging democratic values, such as freedom of the press.


As well, Jewish groups and defenders of minority rights say the government is not doing enough to fight racism and anti-Semitism.


But Zoltan Kiszelly says Fidesz is doing what the electorate wants.


“The Government had to set some values, like family, homeland, patriotism. In the last 40 or 60 years, these values were discredited, but we see that the overwhelming majority of Hungarian society is supporting this value.”


Viktor Orban’s bid for another four years in power is boosted by a divided opposition.


Eighteen parties will contest this year’s election, compared with just five in 2010.


The Hungarian novelist Gyorgy Konrad has termed Mr Orban an “elected dictator in the making”.


Zoltan Kiszelly says Hungarians have had enough of dictators.


“Hungary is tired of dictatorship. We had bad experiences in the 20th century with leftists and rightists dictatorship totalitarianism. Hungarian people are open for democracy. They are open for market economy. They want to see the benefits of democracy and social market economy.”


Hungary today is a country engaged in a battle of beliefs, with no sign of consensus between the more liberal and conservative ends of politics.


The election is likely to show that, for now, Viktor Orban’s brand of politics is winning the battle.


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