Hungary’s Junk Democracy by Gyorgy Konrad (a scathing op-ed about the over-reach of Hungary’s new Constitution, it’s impact on the Hungarian people, and the downgrading of Hungary’s debt by 3 leading credit rating institutions as “junk. A junk country, with a junk administration and a junk prime minister.”)
Hungary Misunderstood by Kim Lane Scheppele (Thank you for bringing her to our attention, Paul Krugman!)
Ms. Scheppele is going to be in Budapest this week giving public lectures. If you are in Budapest and have the opportunity to see her speak, please do.
Her article begins…
“On Tuesday, January 17, the European Commission launched an urgent “infringement procedure” against Hungary for violating EU treaties with its new laws. On Wednesday, January 18, Viktor Orbán dramatically appeared before the European Parliament to defend his country’s new constitutional order.
Orbán’s defense could have been guessed in advance from what Fidesz government officials have been saying for weeks as they fanned out around the world to explain why they rewrote the Hungarian constitution. They claim that they have been misunderstood. And they repeatedly say that their many foreign critics do not understand Hungary.
In this post, I will take up the most frequent arguments that the government has made in its own defense. And, as I will show, its explanations for the new constitutional order are not credible.
The main government explanations are:
1. Fidesz has a popular mandate for change and democracy requires a government to give the public what it wants.
2. Fidesz has consulted with the public about the constitution and this is the constitution that the public approved.
3. Fidesz has consulted with European agencies and they have approved, too.
4. Fidesz is replacing a communist constitution, and finally closing the chapter on the communist period.
5. Fidesz is acting on the basis of Christian principles, like other states within Europe.
6. Everything in the new constitutional order can be found in other European countries.
I will take up each of these in turn.”
Do yourself a favor and read the full article. Her talent for de-bunking is masterful.