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Ukraine War Reframes Hungarian Campaign Messages on Both Sides

Hungary Today 2022.03.02.

The war in Ukraine and the response and reactions to it, have already left their mark on the ongoing Hungarian electoral campaign. In certain constituencies, the opposition’s candidate is described as the “warranty for peace,” while the ruling forces’ representative as “Putin’s henchmen.”

The ongoing war has definitely become a focal point in the electoral campaign. According to the main points:

  • Fidesz accuses the opposition’s prime-ministerial candidate of wanting to drag Hungary into the war by sending weapons and Hungarian troops to Ukraine (although Péter Márki-Zay has not voiced direct support for sending weapons or soldiers to Ukraine, and only stated that NATO decisions must be followed. Later, he also said that Hungarian soldiers have no place in Ukraine).
  • Meanwhile, the opposition depicts Orbán as “Putin’s henchmen,” “Putin’s escort,” or the “traitor of the West” for failing to condemn the Russian president for the war and for allegedly still insisting on his shuttlecock policy, going as far as saying that “Orbán is personally responsible for the fact that there is a war in Ukraine and people are dying,” and that “Orbán didn’t go on a peace mission to Moscow, he went to prepare for war.” There is, however, no evidence at all for this.

As a result, these upcoming elections will be a choice between war and peace. According to Fidesz, Márki-Zay wants to drag Hungary into war and Fidesz and Viktor Orbán represent peace.

According to the opposition, Orbán and Fidesz represent war, and they represent peace.

The opposition’s most recent message has also become increasingly visible on their campaigning materials, too.

In response to Telex, the United for Hungary opposition alliance argued that given Hungary’s foreign policy towards Russia and Ukraine, peace in Europe also depends on the political parties in government in Hungary.” And Fidesz MPs vote in everything just “as and when Viktor Orbán tells them to.” They say Orbán “has clearly behaved as a henchman of Vladimir Putin,” and “Fidesz spokesmen, Orbán’s friends, the public media, according to the government’s guidelines, are all still carrying out specific Russian propaganda, which is now an act breaching EU sanctions. The Hungarian Foreign Minister and all Fidesz MPs and candidates are standing behind him.”

They also write that if Fidesz wins the elections, Orbán’s “pro-Russian henchmen policy will prevail,” but the opposition is pulling towards the West and NATO, and “we believe that this is a guarantee for peace.”

They also revealed that for now, they are not applying the same narrative and messages in all the 106 constituencies.

featured image: one of the oppositions’ ads saying that “the warranty for peace, instead of Putin’s henchmen;” via Facebook


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