“Democracy and the rule of law are in jeopardy in Hungary.”
Senior reporter Benjamin Novak interviewed Lajos Bokros after yesterday’s joint opposition political rally.
The President of Hungary, Janos Ader, is in the United States this week visiting expat Hungarian communities. If you could speak to those communities what would your message be?
The message is that democracy and the rule of law are in jeopardy in Hungary. It’s important to restore democracy and the rule of law. We need to have a new constitution which is supported not only by one party but by all the important democratic political parties. We need a government that can improve economic policy to such a great extent that we can further the development of the country.
Unfortunately, the present government made every effort to destroy the rule of law, while at the same time doing great harm to the economy. There’s a need for a new system of change in order to better integrate Hungary into the European Union.
You refer to Fidesz and Orban as “new communists”. Why?
There are two issues that are important in this regard. One is economic policy, of course. A party which is against the market, against capitalism, which does not like entrepreneurship, which wants to increase the role of state property, cannot be a right-wing conservative party. Rather, it is a new communist party, which is very fashionable these days in many other countries within the European Union.
The second is the political part of the equation, which is typically a non-democratic party. The communist parties believed in the dictatorship of the proletariat, which basically meant that they believed in the unchallenged role of the communist party itself. There were no free elections during that time. The restoration of democracy was a great achievement 23 years ago, and now, once again, we have a party that tries to distort the democratic rules in order to perpetuate its own rule.
It shows every aspect of a new communist party.
I suppose that makes today’s event so much more significant.
Yes, it’s not just another anniversary of the glorious 1956 uprising when the Hungarian nation rose up against the Stalinist system and Soviet rule. Now, in ways, we have a more difficult situation because it’s not the Soviets, not the Austrians, not the Turks, not any other foreign occupier or conquerors trying to subjugate the Hungarian nation. The threat is coming from within, from people who don’t believe in democracy wanting to perpetuate their power want to destroy what we have achieved over the past 23 years. I think it’s very important for every democrat to stand up against this.
If you knew Prime Minister Orban was watching this interview would you have a message for him?
In a small, open country which is part of the European Union no oligarchic power will ever be successful.