Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has been hailed “Man of the Year” in an op-ed piece published in the Austrian liberal daily newspaper Der Standard.
The article, authored by Vienna-based Hungarian political commentator Paul Lendvai, otherwhise known as a fierce critic of PM Orbán’s policies, claims that “the Hungarian Prime Minister’s calculations have been proven fully correct on both the national and the international level”. It also argues that in terms of power politics, Mr. Orbán is the most succesful politician not only in his homeland but also on the European scene, going as far as naming him “Man of the Year” for 2015.
The veteran journalist explains that Mr. Orbán “securely dominates Hungarian politics” one and a half years after elections while the “fragmented left-wing phantom opposition” is waning inexorably and the possible threat posed by the opposition radical national Jobbik party has “at least temporarily been successfully isolated”.
Novelist and prominent Orbán critic György Konrád recently also came out in support of the Hungarian leader’s hard-line immigration policies (photo: hetek.hu)
The article goes on to reveal that a full 87 per cent of the Hungarian population are in support of the cabinet’s hard-line immigration policy, in which Mr. Orbán has again proven his “extraordinary political talent” by “building on fear and rejection against Muslim refugees”. He also calls attention to the fact that even novelist György Konrád, another long-standing critic of the Hungarian Right and PM Orbán, supports the government’s line.
Both liberal intellectuals are commonly cited by the international press on matters concerning Hungary and usually take a heavily critical stance on the Hungarian Prime Minister’s policies.
Concluding the article, the 86-year-old veteran liberal journalist claims that countries led by Social Democratic governments, such as Slovakia and the Czech Republic, as well as conservative-ruled Poland, could well follow the Hungarian Prime Minister’s example.
Paul Lendvai, a resident of Austria since 1957, has so far been an uncompromising critic of the policies pursued by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his ruling conservative party. In September, he told the left-wing daily Népszabadság that “the Orbán regime is now paying the price of its own mistakes and irresponsibility. Everyone can see that they prepared or the influx of refugees even less than Austria”.
photo: Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI