Currently Hungary is in the limelight, hardly a news report anywhere in the world goes by without images of thousands of refugees entering the country, trying to board trains out of the country, suffering ill treatment at the hands of the Hungarian authorities. Contrastingly, there are also pictures of volunteers helping or trying to help desperate families camping out in railways stations, walking on the sides of motorways or along railway lines.

The right-wing FIDESZ (Young Democrats’ Union) of Viktor Orbán have once again won the elections in Hungary. However, due to the very high levels of abstention, in reality only 25% of the electorate actually voted for them, most people being utterly disgusted with politicians in general.

Hungary has been in the news lately and while a fully fledged dictatorial regime is nowhere near established yet, the steps that Viktor Orbán’s FIDESZ (Alliance of Young Democrats) government had been taking for the last 3 years point in no other direction by concentrating more and more power in the hands of the executive and neutralising or weakening all the existing counterbalancing powers within the state and society. In other words we have been witnessing a prolonged shift towards authoritarian rule by Orbán, the legal framework of which is represented by a series of constitutional “reforms” aimed at entrenching FIDESZ into power.

“In the space of twenty years, in a throwback to eighty years ago, millions believe the racist, chauvinist ‘ideas’ of the 1930’s.” writes Attila Csernok in Népszava, a Hungarian liberal daily. Is the situation in present day Hungary that critical? Does the election of the Fidesz government in April 2010 by a two thirds majority mean a return to the horrors of 1930’s Hungary?

The Hungarian presidency of the EU ended on 30th June and life is supposed to be getting back to normal all over the country.  Or is it? The population of Hungary, that elected the right-wing FIDESZ/KDNP government just over a year ago with a two thirds majority, very soon discovered what such a government really meant.

Recent opinion polls show that a majority of Hungarians find life so miserable that they would like to live somewhere else. Many consider that life was much better before 1989 when people enjoyed full employment and an advanced welfare system. Capitalism has destroyed all that. However, as our correspondent points outs, what existed before was not genuine socialism, but a Stalinist regime that people rose up against. What is required is state ownership and planning, but under the democratic control of the workers themselves.

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