Hungarian foreign minister Péter Szijjártó recently addressed a question by RTL news regarding the comments Barrack Obama made towards Hungary and Viktor Orbán.
In a recently uploaded interview with Daily Show host Trevor Noah, Obama discussed not only his recently published memoir, but the systemic issues he believes to be impacting today’s world. He believes many of the issues we face are caused by a lack of democratic leadership. According to the former president, there are two types of leaders, those who include their citizens in the decision making process, and those who act in a top-down, hierarchic manner, treating their citizens as inferior. In his examples of undemocratic leadership, he included Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán, likening him to Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte.
When Péter Szijjártó was asked for his take on Obama’s statement, he responded by clarifying that Hungary’s democracy is alive and well. The prime minister is not chosen through a lottery, but is elected by the Hungarian people, Szijjártó said. He continued that the qualification of the Hungarian leader, therefore, is based off the quality of the decision brought by Hungarian citizens. The foreign minister said that considering this, “it almost seems as if the one making such claims is implying that the Hungarian people are incapable of making effective decisions about their own future.”
Both former president Obama and president-elect Biden have made the same comments towards the Hungarian government, and Szijjártó has responded to both. Whether he will address the accusations in greater detail is yet to be seen. What is clear, however, is that the comments are not well received, and are no doubt damaging the relationship between the two nations.
Featured photo illustration via Zoltán Máthé/MTI