Hungarian PM Viktor Orban won a fourth term, after Fidesz’s victory at the ballot box. Just a day prior, CNN had proclaimed “Top Putin ally facing tough reelection fight in Hungary,” a take that aged like spoiled milk.
Once it became clear that Orban had won, CNN then put out a story entitled “Viktor Orban, Hungary’s authoritarian leader and key Putin ally, calls Zelensky an ‘opponent’ after winning reelection.”
Hungary’s authoritarian leader and longtime Russian ally, Viktor Orban, clinched a fourth consecutive term in power on Sunday, after a landslide election win that he touted as a rebuke of liberalism, the European Union and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Orban’s Fidesz party strengthened their position in Parliament despite forecasts predicting a tight race. With almost all votes counted, 53% of voters voted for it. That’s enough to hold a strong lead over an opposition alliance.
Just to be clear, Orban has not only condemned Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, but he has also supported the EU sanctions on Russia. Yes, Hungary and Russia are close, with the former being heavily dependent on the latter for its energy needs, but to suggest Hungary is a “key” Putin ally at this juncture is a highly simplistic reading of the current situation.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Orban campaigned primarily on a platform of keeping Hungary’s troops & weapons out of the conflict. He has supported most of the EU’s sanctions against Russia since it invaded Ukraine, but resisted going further…
This means that the Hungarian position mirrors the German and, more generally, US positions. Still, as expected, Orban’s big win led to claims that Hungary had voted “against democracy.”
It is not possible to accept Hungary in the EU if it votes against democracy and corruption. It’s time to get rid of it! https://t.co/Z66yrH6PFb
— Anders Åslund (@anders_aslund) April 3, 2022
Now it seems almost certain that Viktor Orban was reelected Prime Minister of Hungary after elections that were dubious and barely fair.
This is a terrible day for Hungary’s democracy and the EU.
— Yascha Mounk (@Yascha_Mounk) April 3, 2022
Leftists claim that democracy in itself poses a danger to democracy. There are no indications the vote in Hungary was tampered with or rigged in Orban’s favor. It is transparent and efficient. It is anti-democratic to suggest that Hungarian voters don’t have the right to elect their leaders.
And while this article isn’t meant as a defense of everything Orban has done or will do (for a thorough breakdown of Hungary’s right, click here), the left continues to completely miss the point as to why he’s popular. Hungarians tend to be very traditional. Most of them do not agree with Europe’s descent into boundary-less hedonism. These people are generally anti-abortion and believe in biological sex.
Orban’s latest victory is not a stain on democracy. It’s democracy in action. However, not everyone can agree on the results. The left does not get to redefine the term to mean “whatever the far-left approves of,” and the rush to proclaim Hungary a dictatorship while trashing it as a poor, less enlightened European country probably only solidified support behind its populist leader.
“I don’t know how we ended up with an American Orban, and neither do my fellow teachers who used to try to chat up first graders about sex.”
— Kurt Schlichter (@KurtSchlichter) April 4, 2022
If the left is seeking to prevent an “American Orban,” they couldn’t be doing a worse job of it. Encouraging the sexualization and abuse of children Let the border collapse into chaos? Declaring the federally-protected civil right of the children’s mutilation? That’s how you get an even larger populist backlash than occurred in 2016, and it will be well deserved.