Monday, April 10, 2017
Hungary's Rightist Leader Threatens University
There were large protests in Hungary yesterday against the right-wing government of Prime Minister Victor Orban, one of Europe's new breed of xenophobic neo-fascist nationalists, for proposed restrictions on Hungary's Central European University (CEU), threatening their academic freedom. What makes the government's action significant is that CEU was founded by progressive financier philanthropist and bogeyman of the right wing George Soros.
An estimated 70,000 people marched in the streets of Budapest demanding that the proposed restrictions on CEU's operations be cancelled. Orban's right wing Fidesz Party has been in the forefront of anti-democratic hyper-nationalist policies in Hungary during his 7-year rule. Orban recently called for "ethnic homogeneity" for Hungary and was one of the most vocal cheerleaders of unstable demagogue Donald "Rump" Trump in Europe, along with France's right wing political leader Marine Le Pen and Belgium's Geert Wilders. The demonstrators are asking Hungarian President Janos Ader to reject the bill and return it for constitutional review.
Orban's regime has been engaged for years in systematic attempts to undermine democratic institutions in Hungary, and has tried to curtail non-government organizations in Hungary that he sees as a threat to his rule. George Soros, in particular, has drawn the ire of Orban, who uses authoritarian tactics to silence critics.