By Enrique Tessieri
This is not a far-fetched question taking into account what is happening in Hungary and the rise of populism in Finland. How many in Hungary ten years ago could have envisioned what is happening today in that country?
The architect of Hungary’s ever-autocratic grip over its democratic institutions has been Fidesz party prime minister, Viktor Orbán. Daniel Cohn Bendit, the leader of the European Green group in the European Parliament, is not too happy in the video clip below about the reforms that have taken place under Orbán.
Says Bendit: “Europe was born in a struggle against totalitarianism and the basis of democracy, the basis of liberty, is quite precisely freedom of expression. And that disturbs. A democracy never died of too much freedom, democracies died through throttling freedoms.”
Here is a link to a massive protest in Hungary by tens of thousands of people against the government’s reforms.
What we are seeing in Hungary last decade and especially today is of concern: The rise of Antisemitism, xenophobia, hostility towards the Romany minority, increased government monitoring of the media and other institutions like the central bank by the government to name a few.
The guardian.co.uk sums it up pretty well: “…the new constitution is the source of most anguish. It came into effect on 1 January, and, combined with at least 350 laws that have been rushed through during Fidesz’s 20 months in power, has, say critics, all but removed checks and balances to the power of the government and ruling party…There have been crackdowns on Roma rights, and funds for education and social care have been shredded, campaigners say.”
The question that I’d like to ask our bloggers is if Finland could ever follow Hungary’s xenophobic and increasingly anti-democratic path if a party like the Perussuomalaiset (PS) got an absolute majority in the election as did Fidesz in 2010.
Fidesz election victory, which gave them two thirds of the seats in parliament, is as impressive as what the PS gained in April.
Another big winner of the 2010 election in Hungary was the Antisemitic and neo-fascist Jobbik.
If any party were to swing Finland on Hungary’s path, the place to start is the Constitution.
I am certain that there are a lot of sympathizers in the PS and in Finland of the anti-democratic reforms in Hungary.
Thank you JusticeDemon for the heads up!