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.

The New Geopolitics Of The Middle East

Date: 21/02/2018 5:00 p.m.
Location: Danube Institute, 1067 Budapest, Eötvös utca 24
A presentation by Professor David Newman on the Geopolitical Dynamics and Border Changes in the Israel/Palestine Conflict.

MCC Neighbourhood Dialogues 2018

Future events

Conference about The role of the V4 countries in the future of the EU.

Germany Between Elections and a New Government: ‘Encore’ or New Casting?

Date: 13/02/2018 4:00 p.m.
Location: 24 Eötvös u., 1067 Budapest
A debate on the German political landscape in 2018 at the Danube Institue, on February 13.

Austrian Economics Meeting Europe: Call for Papers

Future events

The Austrian Economics Meeting Europe invites young scholars to next year's meeting in Budapest.

Danube Institute Internship Programme ⁄ Ösztöndíj

Internship

The Danube Institute invited applications for its four-month internship programme starting in February 2018.

Autonomy or secession: the case of Catalonia

Date: 29/11/2017 4:00 p.m.
Location: 1067 Budapest, Eötvös u. 24., Danube Institute
What theoretical and practical implications does the Catalan example have for Spain and Europe? A discussion at the Danube Institute.

100th Anniversary of the Russian Revolution

Date: 09/11/2017 1:00 p.m.
Location: Budapest, Horánszky u. 20, 1085 - Párbeszéd Háza
On November 9, Danube Institute held an international conference on the Russian Revolution.

The EU and Israel: an uneasy relationship

Date: 13/11/2017 2:30 p.m.
Location: Eötvös u. 24, Budapest, Danube Institute
Professor Eytan Gilboa (Israel Public Diplomacy Forum) and Dr. István Gyarmati (ICDT) talked about the Middle East.

Making Hungarians, Making Europeans: Problems, Solutions

Past Events

A mini-conference on demography at the Danube Institute on October 25.

Conference on today's warfare and insecurity

Past Events

Understanding hybrid threats and managing insecurity in 21st century. Conference on 18 October at the MTA in Budapest.

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