Supporters of Hungarian Government Revving Up For Show of Strength
As a response to mass protests showing increasing dissatisfaction with the Hungarian government, supporters of Viktor Orban’s administration are preparing to counter, holding rallies.
The common driver behind the events is a show of solidarity with the government and the prime minister, who has been widely criticized internationally for policies and economic measures.
The event set to attract the biggest crowd is a “peace march” on Jan 21 organized by journalists, intellectuals and businessmen who have long supported Mr. Orban’s Fidesz party before and after he was elected to office in 2010.
“We watch with growing concerns as the misleading and biased international media amplify a perception of our country that is false and unjust and which causes increasing damages to our country’s economy and the Hungarian people,” the proclamation for the march reads. “Everybody bring a candle! Bring along national banners, put on your best clothes and come!”
Another event held on Jan 14 next to the parliament building by the Elolanc (living chain) movement is themed “Hands Off Hungary!”
“We find it unacceptable that others wish to decide for us who should lead our country and how we should conduct our own lives. Ultimate decision-making power over our laws and the Constitution belongs only to us, Hungarians,” reads an appeal to join.
The organizers are planning to introduce a declaration to be delivered to the embassies of those nations who have been critical of Mr. Orban’s governance.
After consideration, Fidesz said it won’t be involved in any of the events. The party’s deputy chairman Lajos Kosa said that the party will hold its own mass rally to show its support in the public on March 15, the anniversary of the 1848 Hungarian revolution against Habsburg occupation.
Regardless of the activity both for and against the government, the main trend among Hungarians is apathy when it comes to politics. Latest research by pollster Ipsos found that a new record of 57% of Hungarians have no party preferences, even though 84% of respondents found that the country is heading in the wrong direction.
Based on this poll alone, Fidesz still has little to worry about, with a 39% approval rating compared to the second-placed socialist MSZP trailing with 22%. Still, support for the governing party has slumped since 2010 when it secured a two-thirds majority in parliament after a landslide electoral victory in 2010.