GZERO Media logo

Orban Gets Two Thirds of the Way to Illiberalsville

Orban Gets Two Thirds of the Way to Illiberalsville

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban, whose “illiberal” political project we told you about last week, achieved a resounding victory over the weekend, with his Fidesz party winning a two-thirds supermajority in parliamentary elections.


That two-thirds threshold is critical, because it means that Orban is now in a position to make changes to Hungary’s constitution that could pitch the country more decisively in an authoritarian direction. Expect to see changes to assert more control over the courts and civil society.

All of this means that Budapest and Brussels are set for a big showdown sooner rather than later. Orban has already refused to comply with EU policies on accepting a small number of humanitarian refugees from North Africa and Syria. His constitutional changes will clash more openly with EU rule of law and civil society norms.

What’s Brussels to do? Nothing is one option. But that would undermine the authority of EU rules that every member state willingly signed up for when they joined the union. Brussels can, instead, propose internal sanctions on Budapest that would suspend voting rights and other privileges — but those require unanimity among all EU member states which Poland’s government, which is ideologically aligned with Orban’s, would scuttle.

There is, of course, the prospect of the EU cutting its lavish funding for Hungary. That money has helped to fuel the country’s recent economic boom and enabled Orban to throw money at important rural constituencies. Whether such action would chasten or inflame Mr. Orban’s illiberal impulses is a critical open question for Europe.

Chapter 5 of Eni's Story of CO2 is left unwritten, as the world must decide how to move forward with the use of fossil fuels. Though doing nothing is not an option, using natural gas is. A safer alternative to fossil fuels that releases half as much CO2, natural gas can meet the world's energy needs as we wait for renewable technologies to advance and scale.

Learn more about the future of energy in the final episode of Eni's Story of CO2 series.

Call it a counter-counter-revolution at the ballot box. One year after mass protests over election irregularities drove Bolivia's long-serving leftist populist President Evo Morales from office, his preferred candidate has won the presidency — possibly by a landslide.

But can the country's new leader, a soft-spoken economist named Luis Arce, move the country beyond the political trauma of the past year?

More Show less

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here. Yet another exciting week in the run-up to the US elections. Not the only thing going on, though, not at all. I mean, first of all, coronavirus continues to be by far the biggest story in the US, in Europe, as we have a major second wave, and indeed in many countries around the world. Also, we're seeing a lot more instability pop up. I mean, we've had every Sunday now for about three months massive unprecedented protests in Belarus. They're not slowing down at all. We see major demonstrations, including anti-royal demonstrations in Thailand, Pakistan. You've got significant instability right now, of course, we'd seen in Lebanon over the past months. Why is this all going on? Is this a GZERO phenomenon?

More Show less

Build that wall... in Greece: The Greek government has finalized plans to build a wall along part of its eastern border with Turkey to prevent migrants from staging mass crossings to reach European Union territory. The move follows a March standoff between Athens and Ankara when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declared he was "opening" the border because Turkey could no longer cope with so many migrants fleeing Syria. Since then, migrant flows via Turkey to the EU have declined dramatically due to the coronavirus pandemic and tougher policing, but Greeks and Turks (as always) remain at odds over what to do with the migrants: Greece wants Turkey to do more to stop migrants crossing, while Turkey says Greece is sending back migrants who arrive at Greek islands in the Aegean Sea. As the two sides continue to bicker over this issue — and over energy rights in the Eastern Mediterranean — the only thing that's clear is that Greece won't demand that Turkey pay for the wall.

More Show less

Download PDF


Three years ago, long before anyone had ever heard of COVID-19, a different kind of virus spread around the world: a piece of malicious software code launched by a nation state. It paralyzed computer networks in hundreds of countries, disrupted global shipping, forced pharmaceutical factories to shut down, and inflicted an estimated $10 billion of economic damage.

On the physical battlefield, a widely accepted set of rules, backed by international law, governs conduct, with the aim of protecting soldiers and civilians. Establishing common rules or guardrails is much harder in cyberspace, where borders can't be easily defined and the tools and tactics of combat are always changing. But it has never been more urgent.

More Show less
UNGA banner

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's Newsletter: Signal