Is Finland's path that of Hungary's?

by , under All categories, Enrique

By Enrique Tessieri

This is not a far-fetched question taking into account what is happening in Hungary and the rise of populism in Finland. How many in Hungary ten years ago could have envisioned what is happening today in that country?  

The architect of Hungary’s ever-autocratic grip over its democratic institutions has been  Fidesz party prime minister, Viktor Orbán. Daniel Cohn Bendit, the leader of the European Green group in the European Parliament, is not too happy in the video clip below about the reforms that have taken place under Orbán.

Says Bendit: “Europe was born in a struggle against totalitarianism and the basis of democracy, the basis of liberty, is quite precisely freedom of expression. And that disturbs. A democracy never died of too much freedom, democracies died through throttling freedoms.”

Here is a link to a massive protest in Hungary by tens of thousands of people against the government’s reforms.

What we are seeing in Hungary last decade and especially today is of concern: The rise of Antisemitism, xenophobia, hostility towards the Romany minority, increased government monitoring of the media and other institutions like the central bank by the government to name a few.

The guardian.co.uk sums it up pretty well: “…the new constitution is the source of most anguish. It came into effect on 1 January, and, combined with at least 350 laws that have been rushed through during Fidesz’s 20 months in power, has, say critics, all but removed checks and balances to the power of the government and ruling party…There have been crackdowns on Roma rights, and funds for education and social care have been shredded, campaigners say.”

The question that I’d like to ask our bloggers is if Finland could ever follow Hungary’s xenophobic and increasingly anti-democratic path if a party like the Perussuomalaiset (PS) got an absolute majority in the election as did Fidesz in 2010.

Fidesz election victory, which gave them two thirds of the seats in parliament, is as impressive as what the PS gained in April.

Another big winner of the 2010 election in Hungary was the Antisemitic and neo-fascist Jobbik.

If any party were to swing Finland on Hungary’s path, the place to start is the Constitution.

I am certain that there are a lot of sympathizers in the PS and in Finland of the anti-democratic reforms  in Hungary.

Thank you JusticeDemon for the heads up!

  1. Klay_Immigrant

    -‘The question that I’d like to ask our bloggers is if Finland could ever follow Hungary’s xenophobic and increasingly anti-democratic path if a party like the Perussuomalaiset (PS) got an absolute majority in the election as did Fidesz in 2010.”

    Enrique due to the D’Hondt method of proportional representation in Finnish Parliamentary elections and the multitude of political parties that contain a significant number of MPs it is practically and realistically a zero percent chance of the PS or any other party ever achieving an absolute majority in Parliament. So why bother speculating on the outcome of the impossible? My only guess is that you didn’t realise this or are trying to influence the opinions of those that are oblivious to this fact by the use of scare mongering.

    • Enrique

      Klay, the PS could form alliances with other parties. Certainly it has been a tradition in Finland that voters have not to give any party an absolute majority. That is why Finnish parties form coalitions.

      Despite our liberal Nordic and emphasis on social equality, what is surprising is that a party like the PS gets 19.1% of the votes. In the first place I respect the election result but I am totally against the party’s policies, especially those on immigration and cultural diversity. My point is the following: We don’t need a Constitution to permit discrimination and xenophobia to run wild in Finland like it is in Hungary.

      In Argentina we had military dictatorships that ruled despite having one of the most favorable constitutions in the world towards immigrants.

      Hungary is a terrible example of what the child from the marriage of chauvinistic nationalism and xenophobia can create.
      Don’t you agree?

  2. Klay_Immigrant

    -“Klay, the PS could form alliances with other parties. Certainly it has been a tradition in Finland that voters have not to give any party an absolute majority. That is why Finnish parties form coalitions.”

    Again, so why speculate on a PS absolute majority in Parliament when you know that will never happen? And if you are saying there’s a possibility of PS forming a coalition with another parties leading to a decline in democracy and freedom of speech then what are these other parties that will assist with that and why haven’t you identified them? It is because they don’t exist and this nightmare scenario of yours is impossibility?

    Look obviously what is happening in Hungary is not encouraging to say the least but to somehow predict that the PS would turn Finland into a carbon copy of Hungary is ridiculous. The two countries are geographically, economically, socially and culturally miles apart. Hungary in relation to Finland is a poor country only coming out of communism relatively recently. In fact the only important characteristic they have in common is that their languages belong in the same group unique to nearly all of Europe and that’s it.

    So how you come to these conclusions on the PS based on what’s happening in Hungary is beyond me. It’s like saying when Finland’s weather climate gets as cold as Canada’s they experience the same problems.

  3. justicedemon

    Klay

    Why is the situation in Hungary not encouraging to say the least? Aren’t these the very policies that you have consistently supported in your contributions to this blog?

    What specific policy of the Orbán government do you oppose? This is a PS policy programme in action down to the last detail. I’m sure that you would be cheering the government on the sidelines and bad-mouthing the protestors right up to the time when they took you behind the sauna.

    Many Germans voted for Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei in the belief that they would never form a government but would somehow be good for the country.

  4. Allan

    I would be extremely worried if the central bank would not be controlled by the government.
    But as you are from Argentina I can see you have the best knowlege on how to control finances. I think you should have been named heir to Kim-Il-Sung – your expertese in everything is overwhelming, whats your par in golf?

    • Enrique

      Allan, please don’t label me because you don’t know me. I don’t go around labeling you with urban myths. Is this how you state your case? If you want to know how our democracy functions, you could read a relatively unknown to people as yourself but highly influential Frenchman called Baron de Montesquieu. Ever heard of checks and balances?

  5. Allan

    What urban myths? You are the one talking of Argentina and unlike your friends you impress with with your “knowlege” we all know what happened there with the finances.

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