In an opinion article published yesterday in the Washington Post, authors Anthony Faiola, Shibani Mahtani and Isabelle Khurshudyan fret that the siege that took place earlier at the US Capitol poses a threat to democracy worldwide. They ponder scenarios in which the events in the US could have a negative impact on the political situation in countries, like Venezuela, Turkey, Belarus, and Hungary – you know, those places that the Post lumps together under “populist” leadership.
Luckily for the writers, they have Bernadett Szél, former leader of the now quasi-defunct LMP and candidate for prime minister in 2018, to help them see clearly through the troubled waters of Hungarian politics. “In Hungary,” where, by the way, “[PM] Orbán has used his decade in office to wipe away checks and balances restraining his power,” the left-liberal Szél was apparently “glued to the television” and “couldn’t sleep.” Because, according to Szél, what happened at the Capitol could be a “warning to opposition politicians in Hungary” about “how far they [the so-called populists] go” to “hold on to power.”
That’s rich. Anyone with a memory for events in Hungary will recall that it is not PM Orbán and supporters of the governing Fidesz-KDNP coalition that’s likely to engage in acts of violence but rather Ms. Szél and her loyal comrades.
In December 2018, following the government’s proposal to amend the labor code, representatives of the liberal-far-right opposition coalition incited a series of violent demonstrations on the streets of Budapest by claiming that the amendment was equivalent to a “slave law.” While a “slave law” it was not, the amendment successfully cleared up some pressing questions in Hungary’s labor code.
Many of you may also recall that the events began on December 12, with the Hungarian opposition, led by Ms. Szél among others, resorting to violence inside the Hungarian Parliament building as they occupied the floor, prevented Speaker László Kövér from calling the house to order and insulted several Fidesz-KDNP members of parliament. Four days later, Szél, alongside eight fellow opposition politicians, forcibly entered the building of Hungary’s public television. The next day, Bernadett Szél and Ákos Hadházy provoked an altercation with security personnel and were removed from the building.
Photo credit: Index.hu