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Viktor Orbán Turns 60

Mariann Őry 2023.05.31.
Viktor Orbán

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán turns 60 today. The press has published numerous analyses regarding the career of the prime minister, who has been in office since 2010.

Viktor Orbán was born on May 31, 1963. He studied at the Faculty of Law of Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE) in Budapest and briefly at the University of Oxford  – where he developed a close friendship with philosopher Roger Scruton – before entering politics in 1988, and founding the Alliance of Young Democrats (Fiatal Demokraták Szövetsége – Fidesz). Orbán became nationally known after giving a speech in 1989 in which he openly demanded that Soviet troops leave the country.

Viktor Orbán in 1990 (Source: Fortepan / Szalay Zoltán)

He has been a member of parliament since 1990. His party, Fidesz, was in government between 1998-2002, and again since 2010. Fidesz has won a two-thirds majority in parliament in every election since 2010.

Orbán has been married to Anikó Lévai since 1986. They have five children and five grandchildren.

Experience and commitment

The news site Index.hu asked well-known analysts about what has changed since the beginning of Orbán’s career, and what were the defining moments for him.

According to Gábor G. Fodor, Strategic Director of the 21st Century Institute, Orbán has gained a lot of experience, “obviously bitter experience too, and also experience that has given him the right and correct conclusions on how to be politically successful.”

The most important characteristic of Orbán is that he is driven by commitment, the analyst stressed. According to Fodor, if you look at the battles Orbán has fought over the past decades, you can see that he is driven by the same commitment to the truth that “we Hungarians think something about our truth, but the big and the powerful always try to suppress it.”

The Viktor Orbán of 2023 is different from the 1989 Viktor Orbán in that he understood that the truth is not enough, he pointed out. “The truth is worth nothing if you cannot get a majority behind it. You need a cause, you need commitment, but you need to put strength behind it within the framework of democratic politics. This is the art of politics,” Fodor summarized.

Balázs Böcskei, Director of Research at the IDEA Institute, summarized Orbán’s political character in three phrases, which are in fact the basis of all political action, but in the enforcement of which Orbán stands out:

The pursuit of self-determination and autonomy, and the adherence to one’s own rules.

These three are conditional on the possession of one’s own resources, which then point towards the generation of new resources, he explained. The former can be economic resources and the community as a resource. “In other words, a politician should be sovereign in his own strategy, and should not base his decisions explicitly or even dominantly on external expectations, but on his own resources,” added Böcskei.

Another day at work

Tabloid newspaper Blikk asked the prime minister how he is spending his birthday.

“Thank you for your interest and your good wishes. But this is just another working day,” Orbán told Blikk.

But there is one thing that cannot be missed: as every year on this day, I will visit my mother.”

he added.

According to the paper, Orbán has official meetings at his office in the Carmelite monastery and in the evening he will go to Puskás Arena for the AS Roma-Seville Europa League final, where he will hold talks with prominent figures from UEFA. He will then hurry home for an official trip abroad early the next morning. The paper reported that he will not celebrate with his wife, children, and grandchildren until the end of the week.

Featured photo via Facebook/Orbán Viktor

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