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Viktor Orbán

Viktor Orbán

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Viktor Orbán is a Hungarian
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

 populist
Populist
Populist may refer to:* A supporter of Populism, a political philosophy urging social and political system change that favours "the people" over "the elites", or favours the common people over the rich and wealthy business owners...

 and conservative politician
Politician
A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...

 and current Prime Minister of Hungary. He was also Prime Minister from 1998 to 2002 and is currently the leader of Fidesz
Fidesz – Hungarian Civic Union
The Fidesz – Hungarian Civic Union is a major conservative party in Hungary. At the 2010 election in Hungary, Fidesz-KDNP won a two-thirds majority of seats by gaining 52% of the votes, with Fidesz winning 227 seats and KDNP winning 36...

, which in alliance with the Christian Democratic People's Party
Christian Democratic People's Party (Hungary)
The Christian Democratic People's Party is a political party in Hungary.- History :The party was founded in 1944 by Hungarian Catholic statesmen, intellectuals, and ecclesiastical such as Bishop Vilmos Apor, Béla Kovrig , László Varga and General József Pálffy, among others...

 in the 2010 elections
Hungarian parliamentary election, 2010
A parliamentary election was held in Hungary on 11 and 25 April 2010 to choose MPs for the National Assembly. They were the sixth free elections since the end of communist era. The 386 members of parliament were elected in a combined system of party lists and electoral constituencies...

 won 52.73% of the votes and a two thirds majority (supermajority
Supermajority
A supermajority or a qualified majority is a requirement for a proposal to gain a specified level or type of support which exceeds a simple majority . In some jurisdictions, for example, parliamentary procedure requires that any action that may alter the rights of the minority has a supermajority...

) of seats in the parliament of Hungary.

Background


He was born on 31 May 1963 in Székesfehérvár
Székesfehérvár
Székesfehérvár is a city in central Hungary and is the 9th largest in the country. Located around southwest of Budapest. It is inhabited by 101,973 people , with 136,995 in the Székesfehérvár Subregion. The city is the centre of Fejér county and the regional centre of Central Transdanubia...

 and spent his childhood in two nearby villages, Alcsútdoboz
Alcsútdoboz
- History :Archduke Joseph, Palatine of Hungary had his palace there. It was constructed by the renowned architect Mihály Pollack. It was destroyed during World War II, with only the portico remaining.-External links:*...

 and Felcsút
Felcsút
- External links :*...

. In 1977 his family moved to Székesfehérvár.

Orbán graduated from secondary school, at which he studied English language
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

, in 1981. In the two year period after that he completed his military service, then studied law at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest
Budapest
Budapest is the capital of Hungary. As the largest city of Hungary, it is the country's principal political, cultural, commercial, industrial, and transportation centre. In 2011, Budapest had 1,733,685 inhabitants, down from its 1989 peak of 2,113,645 due to suburbanization. The Budapest Commuter...

. After graduating from that institution in 1987 he lived in Szolnok
Szolnok
Szolnok is the county seat of Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok county in central Hungary. Its location on the banks of the Tisza river, at the heart of the Great Hungarian Plain, has made it an important cultural and economic crossroads for centuries....

 for the next two years, commuting to Budapest where he had a job as a sociologist at the Management Training Institute of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food.

In 1991 Orbán received a scholarship
Scholarship
A scholarship is an award of financial aid for a student to further education. Scholarships are awarded on various criteria usually reflecting the values and purposes of the donor or founder of the award.-Types:...

 from the Soros Foundation
Soros Foundation
A Soros Foundation is one of a network of national foundations, mostly in Central and Eastern Europe, which fund volunteer socio-political activity, created by George Soros, international financier and self-proclaimed philanthropist, and coordinated since early 1994 by a management team called the...

 and spent a half year in Oxford
Oxford
The city of Oxford is the county town of Oxfordshire, England. The city, made prominent by its medieval university, has a population of just under 165,000, with 153,900 living within the district boundary. It lies about 50 miles north-west of London. The rivers Cherwell and Thames run through...

, where he studied at Pembroke College
Pembroke College, Oxford
Pembroke College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England, located in Pembroke Square. As of 2009, Pembroke had an estimated financial endowment of £44.9 million.-History:...

.

Viktor Orbán is married to jurist Anikó Lévai. Orbán is a Calvinist
Calvinism
Calvinism is a Protestant theological system and an approach to the Christian life...

 Protestant, while maintaining good relations with the leaders of all the major churches in Hungary. Orbán and his wife have five children. He is very fond of sports, especially of football
Football (soccer)
Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a sport played between two teams of eleven players with a spherical ball...

; he was a signed player of the Felcsút
Felcsút
- External links :*...

 football team, and as a result he also appears in Football Manager 2006
Football Manager 2006
Football Manager 2006 is a game in the Football Manager series of football management simulation games. It is available for PC, Mac, Xbox 360, and PSP platforms, and was released in the UK on October 21, 2005...

.

Political career



Orbán was a founding member of the Fidesz
Fidesz – Hungarian Civic Union
The Fidesz – Hungarian Civic Union is a major conservative party in Hungary. At the 2010 election in Hungary, Fidesz-KDNP won a two-thirds majority of seats by gaining 52% of the votes, with Fidesz winning 227 seats and KDNP winning 36...

 party (an acronym of FIatal DEmokraták SZövetsége which means "Alliance of Young Democrats" in Hungarian), which was formed on 30 March 1988. On 16 June 1989, Orbán gave a speech in Heroes' Square
Heroes' Square (Budapest)
Hősök tere is one of the major squares of Budapest, Hungary, rich with historic and political connotations. Its iconic statue complex, the Millennium Memorial, was completed in 1900, the same year the square was named "Heroes' Square"...

, Budapest, on the occasion of the reburial of Imre Nagy
Imre Nagy
Imre Nagy was a Hungarian communist politician who was appointed Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the People's Republic of Hungary on two occasions...

 and other national martyr
Martyr
A martyr is somebody who suffers persecution and death for refusing to renounce, or accept, a belief or cause, usually religious.-Meaning:...

s of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution
1956 Hungarian Revolution
The Hungarian Revolution or Uprising of 1956 was a spontaneous nationwide revolt against the government of the People's Republic of Hungary and its Soviet-imposed policies, lasting from 23 October until 10 November 1956....

. In his speech he demanded free elections and the withdrawal of Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 troops. The speech brought him wide national and political acclaim. In the summer of 1989 he took part in the Opposition Roundtable negotiations.

In 1990 he became a member of the Hungarian parliament. Three years later, he became leader of Fidesz. In 1994, he transformed it from a social-liberal party (Fidesz was a member of Liberal International
Liberal International
Liberal International is a political international federation for liberal parties. Its headquarters is located at 1 Whitehall Place, London, SW1A 2HD within the National Liberal Club. It was founded in Oxford in 1947, and has become the pre-eminent network for liberal parties and for the...

) into a right-wing conservative party after the collapse of the national right. In 1995 the party changed its name to Fidesz-MPP (Federation of Young Democrats – Hungarian Civic Party).

Orbán also holds the position of Vice President of the European People's Party
European People's Party
The European People's Party is a pro-European centre-right European political party. The EPP was founded in 1976 by Christian democratic parties, but later it increased its membership to include conservative parties and parties of other centre-right perspectives.The EPP is the most influential of...

 (EPP) since October 2002.

First premiership (1998–2002)


Fidesz-MPP won the 1998 parliamentary elections
Hungarian parliamentary election, 1998
The results of the Hungarian parliamentary election of 1998 are as follows:The election was a significant defeat for the governing Socialist Party and their coalition allies , the Alliance of Free Democrats and a narrow surprise victory for Viktor Orbán's right-wing Fidesz.The successful...

 with 42% of the national vote, in alliance with the remnants of the Hungarian Democratic Forum
Hungarian Democratic Forum
The Hungarian Democratic Forum , abbreviated to MDF, was a centre-right political party in Hungary. It had a liberal conservative and Christian democratic ideology...

 (MDF) (the backbone of Hungary's first democratically elected government from 1990–94), promising improvements in the welfare system as an antidote to the bitter austerity program of the outgoing coalition government of the Hungarian Socialist Party
Hungarian Socialist Party
The Hungarian Socialist Party describes itself as a social democratic party in Hungary. It is the partial successor of the communist Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party , which ruled Hungary between 1956 and 1989. The decision to declare the party a successor of the MSZMP was controversial, and...

 (MSZP) and Alliance of Free Democrats
Alliance of Free Democrats
The Alliance of Free Democrats – Hungarian Liberal Party is a liberal party in Hungary, led since July 2010 by Viktor Szabadai . The SZDSZ is a member of the ELDR and of Liberal International...

 (SZDSZ). Thus, Viktor Orbán became the second youngest Prime Minister of Hungary at 35 (after András Hegedüs
András Hegedus
András Hegedüs was a Hungarian Communist politician who served as Chairman of the Council of Ministers from 1955 to 1956. Hegedüs fled to the Soviet Union on 28 October, the fifth day of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956...

), serving between 1998 and 2002.

Orbán's economic policy was aimed at cutting taxes and social insurance contributions over four years while reducing inflation and unemployment. Among its first measures the new government abolished university tuition fees and reintroduced universal maternity benefits. The government announced its intention to continue the Socialist-Liberal stabilization program and pledged to narrow the budget deficit, which had grown to 4.5% of the GDP. The previous Cabinet had almost completed the privatization of government-run industries and had launched a comprehensive pension reform. The Socialists had avoided two major socioeconomic issues, however - reform of the health care and the agricultural system, these remained to be tackled by Orbán's government.

The new government immediately launched a radical reform of state administration, reorganizing ministries and creating a super-ministry for the economy. In addition, the boards of the social security funds and centralized social security payments were dismissed. Following the German model, Orbán strengthened the prime minister's office and named a new minister to oversee the work of his Cabinet. In the process thousands of civil servants were replaced (no distinction is made between political and civil servant posts, resulting in a strong "winner takes all" practice). The overall direction was towards centralized control.

Hungary gained substantial international exposure in May 1999 when, along with Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 and the Czech Republic
Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

, it joined NATO. Hungary was immediately called upon to make important decisions as an alliance member: the country opted to act as a passive participant in NATO's military intervention in Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

, its neighbour to the south, over the Kosovo crisis. This passive participation is widely seen as due to the poor state of the Hungarian armed forces.

Despite vigorous protests from the opposition parties, in February the government decided that plenary sessions of the unicameral National Assembly would be held only every third week. As a result, according to opposition arguments, parliament's legislative efficiency and ability to supervise the government were reduced.
In late March the government's attempt to replace the National Assembly rule calling for a two-thirds majority vote with a simple majority, but this was ruled unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court.

At the same time, the Orbán cabinet continued to strengthen the prime-minister-led political system and introduced the new institution of the constructive vote of no confidence.

The year saw only minor changes in top government officials. Two of Orbán's state secretaries in the prime minister's office had to resign in May because of their implication in a bribery scandal involving the U.S. military manufacturer Lockheed Martin Corp. In advance of bids on a major jet-fighter contract, the two secretaries, along with 32 other deputies of Orbán's party, had sent a letter to two U.S. senators to lobby for the appointment of a Budapest-based Lockheed manager to be the U.S. ambassador to Hungary. On August 31 the head of the Tax Office also resigned, succumbing to protracted attacks by the opposition on his earlier, allegedly suspicious, business dealings. The tug-of-war between the Budapest city council and the government continued over the latter's decision in late 1998 to cancel two major urban projects: the construction of a new national theatre and of the fourth subway line.

Economic successes included a drop in inflation from 15% in 1998 to 10.0% in 1999, 9.8% in 2000 and 7.8% in 2001. GDP growth rates were fairly steady: 4.4% in 1999, 5.2% in 2000, and 3.8% in 2001. The fiscal deficit fell from 3.9% in 1999, to 3.5% in 2000 and 3.4% in 2001 and the ratio of the national debt was reduced to 54 percent of GDP. Under the Orbán cabinet there were realistic hopes that Hungary would be able to join the Eurozone by 2009. However, negotiations for entry into the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 slowed in the fall of 1999 after the EU included six more countries (in addition to the original six) in the accession discussions. Orbán repeatedly criticized the EU for its delay. As of Q4 2009, Hungary still does not meet the criteria for joining the Eurozone.

Relations between the Fidesz-led coalition government and the opposition worsened in the National Assembly, where the two seemed to have abandoned all attempts at consensus-seeking politics. The government pushed to swiftly replace the heads of key institutions, e.g. the Hungarian National Bank chairman, the Budapest City Chief Prosecutor, and appointed partisan figures as heads of the H.N. Bank, the Hungarian Radio and Chief Prosecutor. While the opposition attempted to resist, e.g. by delaying their appointing of members of the supervising boards, the government simply ignored it and ran the institutions without the stipulated number of directors. In a similar vein PM Orbán failed to show up for question time in parliament, for periods of up to 10 months. His statements of the kind that "The parliament works without opposition too..." also contributed to the image of an arrogant and aggressive governance.

Orbán also came under criticism for pushing through an unprecedented two-year budget and for failing to curb inflation, which only dropped a half point, from 10% in 1999 to 9.5% in 2000, despite the tight fiscal policy of the Central Bank. Investments, however, continued to grow.

Numerous political scandals during 2001 led to a de facto, if not actual, breakup of the coalition that held power in Budapest. A bribery scandal in February triggered a wave of allegations and several prosecutions against the Independent Smallholders' Party (FKGP). The affair resulted in the ousting of József Torgyán
József Torgyán
József Torgyán is a Hungarian lawyer and politician, chairman of the Independent Smallholders' Party, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development in the government of Viktor Orbán ....

 from both the FKGP presidency and the top post in the Ministry of Agriculture. The FKGP disintegrated and more than a dozen of its MPs joined the government faction, which looked like a major coup for PM Orbán.

The level of public support for political parties generally stagnated, even with general elections coming in 2002. Fidesz and the main opposition Hungarian Socialist Party ran neck and neck in the opinion polls for most of the year, both attracting about 26% of the electorate. According to a September 2001 poll by the Gallup organization, however, support for a joint Fidesz – Hungarian Democratic Forum party list would run up to 33% of the voters, with the Socialists drawing 28% and other opposition parties 3% each. Meanwhile, public support for the FKGP plunged from 14% in 1998 to 1% in 2001. As many as 40% of the voters remained undecided, however. Although the Socialists had picked their candidate for prime minister — former finance minister Péter Medgyessy
Péter Medgyessy
Péter Medgyessy is a Hungarian politician and was the fifth Prime Minister of the Republic of Hungary from May 27, 2002 until September 29, 2004...

 — the opposition largely remained, unable to increase its political support.

The dark horse of the election was the radical nationalist Hungarian Justice and Life Party
Hungarian Justice and Life Party
The Hungarian Justice and Life Party is a far-right nationalist political party in Hungary led by István Csurka...

 (MIÉP), with its leader István Csurka
István Csurka
István Csurka is a Hungarian journalist, writer and politician on the right side of the political spectrum.-Biography:...

's radical rhetoric. MIÉP could not be ruled out as the key to a new term for Orbán and his party, should they be forced into a coalition after the 2002 elections.

Hungary attracted international media attention during the year for its passage of the s.c. "status law" concerning estimated three-million-strong ethnic Hungarian minorities in neighbouring (Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

, Slovakia
Slovakia
The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about . Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south...

, Serbia and Montenegro
Serbia and Montenegro
Serbia and Montenegro was a country in southeastern Europe, formed from two former republics of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia : Serbia and Montenegro. Following the breakup of Yugoslavia, it was established in 1992 as a federation called the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia...

, Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

, Slovenia
Slovenia
Slovenia , officially the Republic of Slovenia , is a country in Central and Southeastern Europe touching the Alps and bordering the Mediterranean. Slovenia borders Italy to the west, Croatia to the south and east, Hungary to the northeast, and Austria to the north, and also has a small portion of...

 and Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

). The law was aimed at providing education and health benefits as well as employment rights to those, and was said to heal the negative effects of the disastrous 1920 Trianon Treaty
Treaty of Trianon
The Treaty of Trianon was the peace agreement signed in 1920, at the end of World War I, between the Allies of World War I and Hungary . The treaty greatly redefined and reduced Hungary's borders. From its borders before World War I, it lost 72% of its territory, which was reduced from to...

. Governments in neighbouring states, particularly Romania, claimed to be insulted by the law, which they saw as an interference in their domestic affairs. The proponents of the status law countered, that several countries criticizing the law have themselves similar constructs to provide benefits for their own minorities. Romania acquiesced after amendments following a December 2001 agreement between Orbán and Romanian prime minister Adrian Năstase
Adrian Nastase
Adrian Năstase is a Romanian politician who was the Prime Minister of Romania from December 2000 to December 2004.He competed as the Social Democratic Party candidate in the 2004 presidential election, but was defeated by centre-right Justice and Truth Alliance candidate Traian Băsescu.He was...

; Slovakia accepted the law after further concessions made by the new government after the 2002 elections.

A later report in March by the Brussels-based International Federation of Journalists
International Federation of Journalists
International Federation of Journalists, IFJ, is a global union federation of journalists' trade unions—the largest in the world. The organization aims to protect and strengthen the rights and freedoms of journalists...

 criticized the Hungarian government for improper political influence in the media as the country's public service broadcaster teetered close to bankruptcy.

The elections of 2002 were the most heated Hungary had experienced in more than a decade, and an unprecedented cultural-political division formed in the country. In the event, Viktor Orbán's group lost the April parliamentary elections to the opposition Hungarian Socialist Party, which set up a coalition with its longtime ally, the liberal Alliance of Free Democrats. Turnout was a record-high 73.5%.

Beyond these parties, only deputies of the Hungarian Democratic Forum
Hungarian Democratic Forum
The Hungarian Democratic Forum , abbreviated to MDF, was a centre-right political party in Hungary. It had a liberal conservative and Christian democratic ideology...

 made it into the National Assembly. The populist Independent Smallholders' Party and the right Hungarian Justice and Life Party
Hungarian Justice and Life Party
The Hungarian Justice and Life Party is a far-right nationalist political party in Hungary led by István Csurka...

 (MIÉP) lost all their seats. The number of political parties in the new assembly was therefore reduced from six to four.

MIÉP challenged the government's legitimacy, demanded a recount, complained of election fraud, and generally kept the country in election mode until the October municipal elections. The socialist-controlled Central Elections Committee ruled that a recount was unnecessary, a position supported by observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, whose only substantive criticism of the election conduct was that the state television carried a consistent bias in favour of Fidesz.

In opposition (2002–2010)


Orbán was awarded the Freedom Award of the American Enterprise Institute and the New Atlantic Initiative (2001), the Polak Award (2001), the Grand Cross of the National Order of Merit (2001), the "Förderpreis Soziale Marktwirtschaft" (Price for the Social Market Economy, 2002) and the Mérite Européen prize (2004). In April 2004. he was awarded the Papal Grand Cross of the Order of Saint Gregory the Great.

In the 2004 European Parliament election
European Parliament election, 2004 (Hungary)
The European Parliament election of 2004 in Hungary was the election of MEP representing Hungary constituency for the 2004-2009 term of the European Parliament. It was part of the wider 2004 European election.The vote took place on 13 June...

, the ruling Hungarian Socialist Party
Hungarian Socialist Party
The Hungarian Socialist Party describes itself as a social democratic party in Hungary. It is the partial successor of the communist Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party , which ruled Hungary between 1956 and 1989. The decision to declare the party a successor of the MSZMP was controversial, and...

 was heavily defeated by the opposition conservative Fidesz. Fidesz gained 47.4% of the vote and 12 of Hungary's 24 seats.

Some consider the election of Dr. László Sólyom
László Sólyom
László Sólyom is a Hungarian political figure, lawyer, and librarian who was President of Hungary from 2005 to 2010. Previously he was President of the Constitutional Court of Hungary from 1990 to 1998....

 as the new President of Hungary as the most recent success of the party. He was endorsed by Védegylet, an NGO including people from the whole political spectrum. His activity does not entirely overlap with the conservative ideals and he championed for elements of both political wings with a selective, but conscious choice of values.

He was the candidate of Fidesz for the parliamentary election in 2006
Hungarian parliamentary election, 2006
The schedule of the 2006 Hungarian parliamentary elections, as announced by president László Sólyom was as follows:* first round on April 9, 2006* second round on April 23, 2006...

. Fidesz and its new-old candidate failed again to gain a majority in this election, which initially put Orbán's future political career as the leader of Fidesz in question. However, on fighting with socialist-liberal coalition, his position has been solidified again, and he was elected president of Fidesz yet again for another term in May 2007.

On 17 September 2006, an audio recording surfaced from a closed-door MSZP meeting which was held on 26 May 2006, in which Hungarian
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

 Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány
Ferenc Gyurcsány
Ferenc Gyurcsány is a Hungarian politician. He was the sixth Prime Minister of Hungary from 2004 to 2009.He was nominated to take that position on 25 August 2004 by the Hungarian Socialist Party , after Péter Medgyessy resigned due to a conflict with the Socialist Party's coalition partner...

 made a speech, notable for its obscene language
Profanity
Profanity is a show of disrespect, or a desecration or debasement of someone or something. Profanity can take the form of words, expressions, gestures, or other social behaviors that are socially constructed or interpreted as insulting, rude, vulgar, obscene, desecrating, or other forms.The...

. On November 1, Orbán and his party announced their plans to stage several large-scale demonstrations across Hungary on the anniversary of the Soviet suppression of the 1956 Revolution. The events were intended to serve be a memorial to the victims of the Soviet invasion and a protest against police brutality during the October 23 unrest in Budapest. Planned events included a candlelight vigil march across Budapest. However the demonstrations were small and petered out by the end of the year. The new round of demonstrations expected in the Spring of 2007 did not materialize.

On 1 October 2006, Fidesz won the municipal elections, which counterbalanced the Socialist Party (MSZP)-led government's power to some extent. Fidesz won 15 of 23 mayoralties in Hungary's largest cities—although its candidate narrowly lost the city of Budapest
Budapest
Budapest is the capital of Hungary. As the largest city of Hungary, it is the country's principal political, cultural, commercial, industrial, and transportation centre. In 2011, Budapest had 1,733,685 inhabitants, down from its 1989 peak of 2,113,645 due to suburbanization. The Budapest Commuter...

 to a member of the Liberal Party—and majorities in 18 out of 20 regional assemblies.

A referendum
Hungarian fees abolishment referendum, 2008
A referendum on revoking government reforms which introduced doctor visit fees paid per visitation and medical fees paid per number of days spent in hospital as well as tuition fees in higher education took place in Hungary on 9 March 2008. Hungarian people usually call this popular vote Social...

 on revoking government reforms which introduced doctor visit fees paid per visitation and medical fees paid per number of days spent in hospital as well as tuition fees in higher education took place in Hungary on 9 March 2008. Hungarian people usually call this popular vote social
Public services
Public services is a term usually used to mean services provided by government to its citizens, either directly or by financing private provision of services. The term is associated with a social consensus that certain services should be available to all, regardless of income...

 referendum.

The referendum was initiated by opposition party Fidesz against the ruling MSZP. The procedure for the referendum started on 23 October 2006, when Orbán announced they would hand in seven questions to the National Electorate Office, three of which (on abolishing co-payments, daily fees and college tuition fees) were officially approved on 17 December 2007 and called on 24 January 2008. It is assumed likely that the referendum will pass, but it is uncertain whether turnout will be high enough to make it valid; polls indicate about 40% turnout with 80% in favour of rescinding the three reforms.

In the 2009 European Parliament election
European Parliament election, 2009
Elections to the European Parliament were held in the 27 member states of the European Union between 4 and 7 June 2009. A total of 736 Members of the European Parliament were elected to represent some 500 million Europeans, making these the biggest trans-national elections in history...

, Fidesz had a big win, gaining 56.36% of the vote and 14 of Hungary's 22 seats.

Second premiership from 2010



The European Parliament election results of 2009 foreshadowed a decisive victory in the 2010 parliamentary elections
Hungarian parliamentary election, 2010
A parliamentary election was held in Hungary on 11 and 25 April 2010 to choose MPs for the National Assembly. They were the sixth free elections since the end of communist era. The 386 members of parliament were elected in a combined system of party lists and electoral constituencies...

, where Fidesz
Fidesz – Hungarian Civic Union
The Fidesz – Hungarian Civic Union is a major conservative party in Hungary. At the 2010 election in Hungary, Fidesz-KDNP won a two-thirds majority of seats by gaining 52% of the votes, with Fidesz winning 227 seats and KDNP winning 36...

 won the outright majority in the first round on April 11, winning 206 seats, including all 119 individual seats. After the second round of the elections they won a total of 263 seats in the parliament (out of 386), which is enough to change the Hungarian constitution
Constitution of Hungary
The Constitution of the Republic of Hungary , its fundamental law, was adopted on 20 August 1949, and heavily amended on 23 October 1989. It is Hungary's first and only permanent written constitution; the country is the only former Eastern Bloc nation that did not adopt an entirely new constitution...

.
The new cabinet began working on legislation even before its inauguration. The sixth National Assembly was established on 14 May 2010. The representatives accepted a bill of dual citizenship, granting Hungarian citizenship to every Hungarian in the Carpathian basin and around the world, purportedly aimed at offsetting the harmful effects of the Treaty of Trianon
Treaty of Trianon
The Treaty of Trianon was the peace agreement signed in 1920, at the end of World War I, between the Allies of World War I and Hungary . The treaty greatly redefined and reduced Hungary's borders. From its borders before World War I, it lost 72% of its territory, which was reduced from to...

, and sparking a controversy between Hungary and Slovakia
Slovakia
The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about . Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south...

. Though János Martonyi
János Martonyi
János Martonyi is a Hungarian politician and Foreign Minister of Hungary. He is a member of the Fidesz party, and was also Foreign Minister between 1998 and 2002...

, the new foreign minister, visited his Slovak colleague to discuss the issue of dual citizenship, Robert Fico
Robert Fico
Robert Fico served as the Prime Minister of Slovakia from July 4, 2006 to July 8, 2010.He is the leader of the left-wing party Direction – Social Democracy . The party won the parliamentary elections in 2006, receiving approximately 30 percent of the cast votes...

 nonetheless stated that since Fidesz
Fidesz – Hungarian Civic Union
The Fidesz – Hungarian Civic Union is a major conservative party in Hungary. At the 2010 election in Hungary, Fidesz-KDNP won a two-thirds majority of seats by gaining 52% of the votes, with Fidesz winning 227 seats and KDNP winning 36...

 and the new government were not willing to negotiate the issue, which would be viewed as a question of national security. Ján Slota
Ján Slota
Ján Slota is the co-founder and President of the Slovak National Party, an extremist nationalist party. Slota as the leader of SNS entered into a coalition with Robert Fico's Smer in 2006...

, Slovak government member and leader of the extreme right Slovak National Party, fears that Hungary wants to attack Slovakia and considered the situation as the "beginning of a war". As Prime Minister designate, Viktor Orbán firmly stated that he considers Slovak hysteria part of a political campaign. In response to the change in Hungarian citizenship law, the National Council of the Slovak Republic
National Council of the Slovak Republic
The National Council of the Slovak Republic , abbreviated to NR SR, is the national parliament of Slovakia. It is unicameral, and consists of 150 MPs, who are elected by universal suffrage under proportional representation every four years....

 approved on 26 May 2010 a law stating that if a Slovak citizen applies for citizenship of another country then that person will lose his or her Slovakian citizenship.

Orbán took the oath of office on 29 May 2010. With 261 votes, the Hungarian Parliament accepted him as leader of the ninth government since the end of communism. The opposition parties (MSZP, Jobbik and LMP
Politics Can Be Different
Politics Can Be Different , abbreviated to LMP, is a Hungarian green liberal political party. Founded in 2009, it was one of four parties to win seats in the National Assembly in the 2010 parliamentary election.-History:...

) did not accept the cabinet's program (107 votes). His first international visit was to Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

, as a symbol of establishing a central European alliance. Polish-Hungarian friendship
Pole, Hungarian, two good friends
"Pole and Hungarian cousins be" and "Pole and Hungarian, two good friends" are respective forms of a popular bilingual proverb concerning the historic friendship between the Polish and Hungarian peoples....

 has a long historical tradition.

In the autumn of 2010, Parliament passed a new media bill, setting up a new media council. The new members were immediately accused of being politically attached to Fidesz, since all members were elected by the two-third parliamentary majority. Their authority to supervise media, issue decrees, and issue fines of up to 200 million forints
Hungarian forint
The forint is the currency of Hungary. It is divided into 100 fillér, although fillér coins are no longer in circulation. The introduction of the forint on 1 August 1946 was a crucial step of the post-WWII stabilization of the Hungarian economy, and the currency remained relatively stable until...

 was also questioned, though all decisions of the council can be appealed at the Independent Court. The bill was widely criticized as jeopardizing freedom of the press
Freedom of the press
Freedom of the press or freedom of the media is the freedom of communication and expression through vehicles including various electronic media and published materials...

 in Hungary, however no specific provisions were named.

The European Commission
European Commission
The European Commission is the executive body of the European Union. The body is responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the Union's treaties and the general day-to-day running of the Union....

 criticized Orbán's second cabinet for its lack of compliance with economic deficit goals in 2010 and 2011, the nationalization of the country's compulsory private pension scheme and the cutting of the salary of state employees, including the Hungarian National Bank's director, claiming the government potentially undermined the independence of that institution.

Orbán's cabinet is to hold the presidency of the Council of the European Union
Presidency of the Council of the European Union
The Presidency of the Council of the European Union is the responsibility for the functioning of the Council of the European Union that rotates between the member states of the European Union every six months. The presidency is not a single president but rather the task is undertaken by a national...

 from January to July 2011. Concerns have been raised about its performance, relating to the controversial media law just passed in 2010, the Euroscepticism
Euroscepticism
Euroscepticism is a general term used to describe criticism of the European Union , and opposition to the process of European integration, existing throughout the political spectrum. Traditionally, the main source of euroscepticism has been the notion that integration weakens the nation state...

 of the ruling coalition, and the lack of preparation of civil servants due to pervasive political patronage. Hungary's six-month presidency of Council launched in the European Parliament on 19 January 2011. Orbán put the economy at the top of the agenda for Hungary's six-month presidency of the Council of Ministers when he outlined his priorities to MEPs on Wednesday morning. The debate became quite heated at times as Orbán came in for criticism over Hungary's controversial media law.

In 2010, a drafting process for a new constitution began to take place, was finalized by 11 April 2011, and was adopted by the Parliament on April 18. It was signed into law by Pál Schmitt
Pál Schmitt
Pál Schmitt is the current President of Hungary. He was elected President of Hungary in a 263 to 59 vote in the Parliament of Hungary and was sworn in on 2010....

 on April 25 and will go into effect on 1 January 2012. The new constitution, called Magyarország Alaptörvénye (Basic Law of Hungary), contains an extended preamble
Preamble
A preamble is an introductory and expressionary statement in a document that explains the document's purpose and underlying philosophy. When applied to the opening paragraphs of a statute, it may recite historical facts pertinent to the subject of the statute...

 called the National Creed which claims the period between 19 March 1944 (Nazi occupation of Hungary
Operation Margarethe
During World War II, the Germans planned two discrete operations using the codename Margarethe.Operation Margarethe I was the occupation of Hungary by German forces on 19 March 1944. The Hungarian government was an ally of Nazi Germany, but had been discussing an armistice with the Allies...

 and 2 May 1990 (first free election since 1945
Hungarian parliamentary election, 1990
The 1990 Hungarian general election, which took place on March 25 and April 8 of that year, was the first free election to be held in the country since 1945, and only the third honest election in the country's history...

) legally nonexistent.

The National Assembly passed a Fidesz constitutional amendment motion on 7 June 2011 that will effectively end early retirement for men. The amendment is primarily intended to send back to work retired law enforcement
Law enforcement
Law enforcement broadly refers to any system by which some members of society act in an organized manner to promote adherence to the law by discovering and punishing persons who violate the rules and norms governing that society...

 officers under 57 as well as those under 62 who are claiming disability benefits, but will not cut the preferential pensions of women, miner
Miner
A miner is a person whose work or business is to extract ore or minerals from the earth. Mining is one of the most dangerous trades in the world. In some countries miners lack social guarantees and in case of injury may be left to cope without assistance....

s, chemist
Chemist
A chemist is a scientist trained in the study of chemistry. Chemists study the composition of matter and its properties such as density and acidity. Chemists carefully describe the properties they study in terms of quantities, with detail on the level of molecules and their component atoms...

s and artist
Artist
An artist is a person engaged in one or more of any of a broad spectrum of activities related to creating art, practicing the arts and/or demonstrating an art. The common usage in both everyday speech and academic discourse is a practitioner in the visual arts only...

s. The Socialist Party declared its solidarity with the law enforcement unions and invited them to consultations to jointly formulate the basic principles that the Socialists could represent if they regain power. Jobbik said before the vote that it would appeal to the Constitutional Court
Constitutional Court of Hungary
The Constitutional Court of Hungary is a special court of Hungary, making judicial review of the acts of the Parliament of Hungary. The official seat of the Constitutional Court is Esztergom....

 on account of discrimination if law enforcement employees are deprived of their pensions. Law enforcement and fire services unions said they would go ahead with a planned demonstration for June 16 as talks with the prime minister on June 8 morning failed to bring an agreement over pension changes. Géza Pongó, head of the Independent Union of Police Employees, and Judit Bárdos, head of the Union of Law Enforcement Employees, agreed that the government’s proposal for pension changes is unacceptable. Two days earlier Orbán said in a TV interview concerning a series of demonstrations staged by trade unions of policemen, fire fighters, prison, guards and other employees in law-enforcement and disaster management, it was unacceptable if “keepers of public order throw smoke bombs or damage fire hydrants, thus violating laws and making threats.

Wen Jiabao
Wen Jiabao
Wen Jiabao is the sixth and current Premier and Party secretary of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, serving as China's head of government and leading its cabinet. In his capacity as Premier, Wen is regarded as the leading figure behind China's economic policy...

, the Chinese Prime Minister, arrived on a two-day official visit to Budapest on 24 June 2011. He was the first premier from China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 who visited Hungary since 1987 (when Hungary was still under communist rule). China will buy “a certain sum” of Hungarian government bonds and extend a one billion-euro credit line to Hungary, Wen Jiabao said in Budapest at a joint news conference with his Hungarian counterpart Orbán, who said Hungary had now entered into a new and major alliance with China. The meeting had also controversies: deputy chairperson of parliament’s human right’s committee Tímea Szabó has called for the leaders of Budapest’s police force to give evidence to the committee in connection with their handling of people who protested in support of Tibet
Tibet
Tibet is a plateau region in Asia, north-east of the Himalayas. It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups such as Monpas, Qiang, and Lhobas, and is now also inhabited by considerable numbers of Han and Hui people...

. Szabó told MTI
MTI
MTI may stand for:* MTI, Message Type Indicator.* MTI Consulting, a consulting firm based in Bahrain.* MTI Consultancy, Machwuerth Team International Group, a consultancy based in Germany.* Magyar Távirati Iroda, a Hungarian news wire agency....

 in a statement on 25 June that she would investigate personally on what basis the immigration authority (BAH) had called in to its office Tibetan refugees who were living in Hungary legally and had residential and work permits. The Politics Can Be Different (LMP) deeply condemns the police’s treatment of Tibetan refugees and activists demonstrating in support of Tibet. The Help Tibet Society wrote in a separate statement that staff of the BAH on 24 June evening had taken in to the BAH office Tibetan refugees living in Hungary. Further, police had blocked demonstrators from the site of a visit by the Chinese premier.

On 17 November 2011 the Ministry of National Economy said government is starting negotiations on a new type of cooperation with the International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund
The International Monetary Fund is an organization of 187 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world...

 (IMF) in the course of scheduled consultations. Vice President of Fidesz Lajos Kósa said Hungary must not give up its core ambitions and can only sign an agreement for budget financing that will essentially not reduce the government’s economic control and independence. The Hungarian forint
Hungarian forint
The forint is the currency of Hungary. It is divided into 100 fillér, although fillér coins are no longer in circulation. The introduction of the forint on 1 August 1946 was a crucial step of the post-WWII stabilization of the Hungarian economy, and the currency remained relatively stable until...

 was rebounding on word that the nation is in talks on an IMF deal. Hungary’s currency had been battered of late by concerns about its high exposure to foreign-currency debt, which has hit households hard given the forint’s weakness. The euro
Euro
The euro is the official currency of the eurozone: 17 of the 27 member states of the European Union. It is also the currency used by the Institutions of the European Union. The eurozone consists of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,...

 was down 2.2% against the forint to HUF308.19, while the dollar slid 2.8% on 17 November. In the previous week Standard and Poor's and Fitch
Fitch
- Places :* Fitch, North Carolina* Fitch's Covered Bridge, Delhi, New York* Fitch H. Beach Airport, an airport at Charlotte, Michigan, USA* Fitch Township, Ohio* Mount Fitch, in Massachusetts, on the Appalachian Trail* Fitchburg, Massachusetts...

 said they are weighing whether to downgrade it further, raising pressure on the government. Orbán said on public radio on 18 November that an IMF agreement will in no way lead to any limitations on Hungary's economic sovereignty, since the country can still finance itself from the markets, and said that investor confidence hasn't waned.

Economy minister György Matolcsy
György Matolcsy
György Matolcsy is a Hungarian politician, current Minister of National Economy from 29 May 2010. Matolcsy was also Minister of Economy during the first cabinet of Viktor Orbán.-Career:...

 said in October 2011 the return to talks with IMF would be a "clear sign of weakness". He also said in the Parliament on 14 November 2011, just four days before the ministry's announcement, in a response to a Jobbik politician, "the government forming its economic policy against this three-letter institution [IMF]." The Hungarian Socialist Party welcomed the decision and said the government admitted the failure of its economic policy. Gábor Vona
Gábor Vona
Gábor Vona is a Hungarian politician and the leader of the Hungarian nationalist political party Jobbik. He was born on 20 August 1978 in Gyöngyös...

, leader of Jobbik stated the Orbán cabinet failed. The one and half-year austerity policy, which the cabinet bled almost all sectors and social groups, forced to people for a meaningless sacrifice. He also said Viktor Orbán and his government must resign. According to András Schiffer
András Schiffer
András Schiffer is a Hungarian politician, leader of the Politics Can Be Different parliamentary group.He received his Juris Doctor degree at the Eötvös Loránd University in 1995...

 (LMP) when Fidesz announced "war of economic independence", in fact conducted an "adventurous policy" which failed. Schiffer called for resignation of Matolcsy. Gyurcsány's Democratic Coalition
Democratic Coalition
The Democratic Coalition , abbreviated to DK, is a centre-left political party in Hungary led by former Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány. Founded in 2010 as a group within the Hungarian Socialist Party , the party split from the MSZP in 22 October 2011 and became a separate party...

 said Orbán's policy which is hostile-looking to the world and has isolation tends, failed. Gyurcsány demanded establishment of an new government in and the next budget is to be withdrawn.

Viktor Orbán in the media


Viktor Orbán is usually depicted by foreign media as a mainstream Hungarian politician and mention his anti-communist past, while often labelling him a populist
Populism
Populism can be defined as an ideology, political philosophy, or type of discourse. Generally, a common theme compares "the people" against "the elite", and urges social and political system changes. It can also be defined as a rhetorical style employed by members of various political or social...

. They often voice economic concerns over his proposed growth-based economic reform ideas. In January 2007 The Economist
The Economist
The Economist is an English-language weekly news and international affairs publication owned by The Economist Newspaper Ltd. and edited in offices in the City of Westminster, London, England. Continuous publication began under founder James Wilson in September 1843...

criticised his "cynical populism and mystifyingly authoritarian socialist-style policies".

The most stormy incidents generating indignation happened in 2001. That April Magyar Hirlap made public a letter written by a reader that stated, "the killing of Orbán would do good to our nation". Also that month on TV channel RTL Klub, reporter Tamás Frei interviewed a Russian hitman, asking him for how much money would he kill the Hungarian prime minister (then Orbán). Right-wingers thought it a provocative question. Later it turned out that the interview person wasn't a real hitman, but an actor paid by Frei. After this scandal, RTL Klub apologised to Orbán, and the Luxembourgian owners of the channel began an inquiry. Frei subsequently lost his job. Political scientists and right-wing publicists call these phenomena "orban(o)phobia".

Trivia


He played the bit part of a footballer in the Hungarian family film Szegény Dzsoni és Árnika (1983).

Orbán has played soccer from early childhood; he is currently one of the players and main financiers of Hungarian football club Felcsút FC. He had a prominent role in the foundation of Ferenc Puskás
Ferenc Puskás
Ferenc Puskás was a Hungarian footballer and manager. He scored 84 goals in 85 international matches for Hungary, and 514 goals in 529 matches in the Hungarian and Spanish leagues. He became Olympic champion in 1952 and was a World Cup finalist in 1954...

 Football Academy at Felcsút where can be found Hungarian football’s modern training facilities. His only son, Gáspár Orbán learns and trains here. FIFA
FIFA
The Fédération Internationale de Football Association , commonly known by the acronym FIFA , is the international governing body of :association football, futsal and beach football. Its headquarters are located in Zurich, Switzerland, and its president is Sepp Blatter, who is in his fourth...

 president Sepp Blatter
Sepp Blatter
Joseph S. Blatter , commonly known as Sepp Blatter, is a Swiss football administrator, who serves as the 8th and current President of FIFA . He was elected on 8 June 1998, succeeding João Havelange. He was re-elected as President in 2002, 2007, and 2011...

 visited the facilities at the Puskás Academy in 2009. Blatter, together with the widow of Ferenc Puskás, as well as the founder of the Academy, Viktor Orbán, announced the creation of the new FIFA Puskás Award
FIFA Puskas Award
The FIFA Puskás Award is an award established on 20 October 2009 by FIFA at the behest of FIFA President Sepp Blatter in order to award the player, male or female, judged to have scored the most aesthetically significant and "most beautiful" goal of the year...

 during that visit.

In a recent interview Orbán stated that his favorite band is Creedence Clearwater Revival
Creedence Clearwater Revival
Creedence Clearwater Revival was an American rock band that gained popularity in the late 1960s and early 1970s with a number of successful singles drawn from various albums....

.

External links


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