The other day, Hungary held its usual quadrennial legislative elections. Hungary has a mono-cameral Parliament of 199 members, most of whom are elected in winner-takes-all single-member constituencies; the rest are elected in a national constituency according to some complicated mix of Proportional Representation & more complicated ideas. Hungary is a small country in Central Europe, of about 10 million people, which has almost inexplicably become an object of great interest to American politics.
For my part, years back I became aware of this strange insistence, first in Europe, then also in America, on a small country that has neither money nor prestige, having suffered terribly under Communist tyranny. So in 2020, I jumped at the chance of hearing Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán talk about his country’s predicament & his political outlook. I wrote it up for American Greatness. In short, I was impressed that the man was both direct & subtle, confident, yet without arrogance, speaking as the intelligent leader of a small, endangered regime. Moreover, he has the pride of having been a youthful anti-Communist dissident & the charm, at almost 60 years, of the successful man of affairs. I cannot say on the basis of what I learned that day whether PM Orbán, leader of the largest party, FIDESZ, has done well for his country; I am sure his countrymen can think of no better, since they returned him to his office for the fourth consecutive time—he leads a coalition of two parties that keeps winning two-third majorities in the Parliament. This is strange in any democracy, & impressive, but of course, it is confined to the Hungarian situation, where former Communists became corrupt oligarchs overnight in the ‘90s &, eventually, PM Orbán persuaded the electorate to throw them out in 2010.