RELEASE: In Hungary, a Cautionary Tale Against Right-Wing National Populism
Washington, D.C. — The recent elections throughout Europe and the United States have exemplified the rise of right-wing national populism among previously liberal democracies in the West. Right-wing national populist movements in Germany, the United Kingdom, Poland, Austria, Greece, and especially Hungary have begun to dramatically change the political landscape in Europe and, in many cases, dismantle democratic institutions and undermine civil society.
The Center for American Progress released an issue brief that looks at the right-wing national populist movement in Hungary and the political party and figure at its center as a cautionary tale for other nations currently facing their own anti-democratic right-wing national populist movements.
“The rhetoric used by Prime Minister Orbán and the Fidesz Party in Hungary is eerily similar to that heard throughout the U.S. presidential election from the president-elect and from other right-wing national populist movements throughout Europe,” said William Danvers, CAP Senior Fellow and author of the paper. “As seen in Hungary, that rhetoric, when implemented, is disastrous for democratic institutions. The U.S. and liberal democracies in Europe should look to Hungary as a cautionary tale of the dangers of right-wing national populism.”
The Fidesz Party in Hungary and its leader, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, have spent their past six years in power dismantling democratic institutions; demonizing immigrants and Muslims; threatening and, in many cases, undoing freedoms of speech and of the press; and installing cronies and party loyalists into important positions regardless of competency. Orbán has fined or otherwise penalized journalists, publications, and academics critical of him and his policies. He has packed the nation’s highest court with loyalists and rammed a new constitution through the legislature within a matter of weeks that is designed to maintain his grip on power.
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