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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán


Orbán fights for his political life

Just six weeks away from a national election, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is facing the political fight of his life. In recent days, the right-wing populist leader, who has proudly dubbed Hungary an “illiberal democracy,” launched his re-election campaign with a speech rallying against war between Russia and Ukraine. He also voiced support for the EU project despite saying that Brussel was waging “jihad” against his country.

What is Orbán’s game plan, and how are things looking for him and his ruling Fidesz Party?

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Is Hungary in for an "anyone but Orbán" election?

Viktor Orbán, Hungary's far-right populist prime minister, likes to shock people. It's part of his political appeal. Orbán has proudly proclaimed that he is an "illiberal" leader," creating a frenzy in Brussels because Hungary is a member of the European Union.

It's been over a decade since the 58-year old, whom some have dubbed the "Trump before Trump" became prime minister. In that time he has, critics say, hollowed out Hungary's governing institutions and eroded the state's democratic characteristics.

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Fighting for democracy in Hungary and Hong Kong
Fighting for Democracy in Hungary and Hong Kong | GZERO World

Fighting for democracy in Hungary and Hong Kong

Former Obama adviser Ben Rhodes sees parallels between Hungary's politics and what happened in the US under Trump, and believes the EU has been too lenient towards Prime Minister Viktor Orbán's autocratic tendencies. Rhodes, who met with democracy activists in Hungary and Hong Kong when researching his book, "After the Fall: Being American in the World We've Made," observes that Hungary's opposition groups have been strengthened by banding together to form a united front against corrupt politicians. There's less reason for hope in Hong Kong, says Rhodes, and one reason is that the US never made it a priority. "At every stage of the last 30 years, a commercial interest, or a security interest, or a geopolitical interest was always above what our interests were on an issue like Hong Kong," Rhodes tells Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.

Watch the episode: Is American democracy in danger?

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