Post photo: Hungarian flag | © Pixabay
Viktor Orbán's election victory is bad news for democracy and freedom. To all appearances, there was no direct election fraud. However, the media barrage for Orbán and his fascist ideology was incompatible with fair election conditions. This and the scarcely any space left for a free and independent Hungarian civil society, as well as the state of the Hungarian constitutional state, allow the conclusion that Hungary is no longer a full-fledged liberal democracy.
The state and private media, all of which are controlled by Orbán's people, have done a great job. The corrupt network of the Orbán family can feel vindicated. In addition, the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine has given the Magyar "dictator" as the Jean-Claude Juncker still referred to as President of the Orbán Commission, played into the cards. But it was probably much more important that the opposition alliance had no real chance under the conditions that had prevailed in the Hungarian sham democracy for years.
The European Parliament has been demanding financial sanctions for Hungary for over a year. The legal requirements for this would have been in place since autumn 2020 with so-called conditionality. The Commission made a serious mistake by not taking decisive action against Orbán well before the general election. The European Union must now finally take action against Budapest with all the means at its disposal. Because this Hungary no longer belongs to Europe. Orbán is playing a double game in relation to Moscow. He deliberately made his country politically fully dependent on Russia and China. He admires Putin and Xi, sees himself as a strong man from another Europe, one that is nationalistic, authoritarian, xenophobic and homophobic, in which women have their allotted place as birthing machines.
China and Russia justify Russian aggression against Ukraine and the rest of the existing order by arguing that they are the true democracies of the world. Hungary, as Orbán himself emphasized with his popularization of “illiberal democracy”, is today more one of these authoritarian states than part of the political West, with which the EU is linked in terms of its values and goals.
In the conflict between the free democracies of this world and the autocracies of the East, the wheat must be separated from the chaff in the EU. This is also an important prerequisite for defending against the Russian attack, a turning point that not only declares, but also has to be lived. Tough action against Budapest now did not weaken Western-European cohesion. On the contrary, it strengthened him.