This Sunday, April 8, Hungarian voters will go to the polls to elect their 199 representatives for the National Assembly and indirectly nominate their prime minister. The incumbent, Viktor Orbán, electrifies both the domestic political debate and the European political scene in a country that has been called an “illiberal democracy”. Like Vladimir Putin, his reputation on the international scene is inversely proportional to his popularity on the domestic political stage.
To understand the structural issues of these general elections in a pivotal state of the EU, it is necessary to go beyond the divisive and controversial statements of the Hungarian leader. By posing as a protector of national sovereignty in the face of migrant quotas by Brussels, by advocating (until recently) the lifting of sanctions on Russia, or by playing the role of defender of the Christian identity of the Europe in a largely secularised country, Viktor Orbán blurs the image of the country in the EU.
This country of 9.8 million people faces three major challenges that the next legislature will have to grapple with. And the future of Hungary will influence the future of Europe: we see it in Poland, Austria and the Czech Republic, the future of the Union depends on the evolutions of the Mitteleuropa, as we often wrote it in New Eastern Europe. At least three key questions are at stake on Sunday:
1. Will the political landscape evolve?
2. Will economy be the next mandate priority, at last?
3. Toward a repositioning of Hungary in Europe?
To read more, click here: Bret Hungary The Conversation