• Report
  • Anti-Government Demonstrations in Hungary

  • György Szende | 27 Feb 19 | Posted under: Κεντρική και Ανατολική Ευρώπη , Ουγγαρία , Συνδικάτα και κοινωνικά κινήματα
  • Representatives of the ruling FIDESZ party presented a bill to the Hungarian parliament on the amendment of the labour code increasing the number of working after-hours that can be ordered by employers to 400 a year in such a way that the wage for it is to be paid not immediately but only within three years. The parliamentary opposition loudly protested against the bill and tried to call public attention on the case by spectacular actions. The ruling party, the speaker of the parliament belonging to it and its other officers sought to silence the protest. They penalized the protesting representatives with high fines, and responded to the attempt of obstruction by deploying their armed security guards. The parliament with the ruling party majority[1] accepted this „slave law” on 12th Dec. 2018 even together with another one, introducing a new, parallel system of the so called administrative courts, curtailing further the independence of the justice system (having already been hurt by earlier machinations of the government).

    Protest mass demonstrations began against the government in Budapest, then also in other cities with features not experienced earlier. One, may be the most important of them included the joint activity of the opposition earlier splintered and quarrelling. The Munkáspárt 2006 (Marxist Labour Party) led by Attila Vajnai takes part in the demonstrations, but also the national, red, black (anarchist) and even the Árpád stripes hard right flags can be seen together.

    In these demonstrations the anger and passion having been accumulated for eight years, since the FIDESZ party’s coming into power can be felt. During this period Viktor Orban’s goal, his „central field of force” has largely been achieved: his will is exerted. Liberties are boldly limited; most mass media are in the hands of the government and its people, in the provinces only their voice reaches the masses through TV and radio. They brought an enormous amount of bills at such pace that the MPs had not even time enough to read them before voting.

    FIDESZ passed the bigger part of the distance to a one-party, state-party regime. They strongly rely on select churches supporting them. The share of such churches in public education and other public services increased several times, while from other churches even the church qualification was refused. The scope of authority of municipalities was strongly restricted, zones of public health and education mostly nationalized. Orban’s regime also seeks to bring the courts under its control and to rout independent forces also in the fields of culture, academy and scientific research.

    In Orban’s politics an image of enemy is constantly needed. It is developing and growing, nowadays includes the migrants, and even the homeless, the opposition and all those with views differing from theirs. They seek to create a possibly darker picture of the EU in the consciousness of Hungarian population. Even though Orban isn’t aiming towards an exit from the EU, FIDESZ is saying and writing on Brussel’s playing the role of Moscow under the soviet age or even worse.

    In consequence of worsening living conditions in Hungary, hundreds of thousands left the country in the latter years for jobs in West Europe or outside of Europe.

    During this period, the Hungarian Left existed nearly out of action. Organizations left of MSZP (Hungarian Socialist Party) are splintered, have no significant strength or influence. The most important reasons of the „Left’s” failure are the repeated neo-liberal restricting economic measures by MSZP governments, lack of a coherent and effectively spread leftist view and program and the support of the Hungarian Right by the deep pockets of the international capital.

    Demonstrations, broad protest movements that began in January are undoubtedly an advantageous phenomenon. In spite of this, there is no reason for expecting the collapse of the „system of the national cooperation” (NER) or beneficial change of its politics in the near future. More predictably, Hungary will keep marching rightwards.




    [1] The ruling party owns more than two thirds of the mandates thanks to the new election law of the current regime, though actually having received less than half of the votes.

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