In Central Europe, a new right against illiberalism

To analyse. Brussels gave him a welcome as head of state. Six European commissioners, an international press conference, a meeting with the leader of the powerful conservative group in the European Parliament… The brand new Hungarian opposition leader, Peter Marki-Zay, who was appointed after a primary unprecedented between six parties ranging from the left to a formation from the extreme right to face Viktor Orban in the legislative elections of 2022, visibly aroused, Wednesday 10 and Thursday 11 November, new hopes in European circles.

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers Peter Marki-Zay, the last hope of the Hungarian opposition against Viktor Orban

Traumatized by twelve years of arm wrestling with the nationalist leader author of the worst democratic setbacks since 1989 in this central European country, they are delighted that this mayor of a small provincial town, with both conservative and pro-European, can reconcile the Hungarians with Europe. The 49-year-old Catholic, father of seven, won the primary against several left-wing candidates, convincing him that he had the best profile to beat Mr. Orban, who bragged about himself being the sole defender of a Hungary “Conservative and Christian”.

Mr. Marki-Zay’s path to power is still long and uncertain in the face of the power of the far-right Prime Minister’s electoral machine, but this professional electrical and marketing engineer is already the symbol of ‘a real wave in central Europe. After years of regression imposed by theorists of “illiberal democracy”, this concept coined by Mr. Orban to designate his hybrid regime, a new right is emerging in the region. She is at the same time pro-European, anti-corruption, believing and conservative on the questions of society, starting with immigration, but also ready to ally with the left.

Large maneuvers

This trend is particularly strong in the Visegrad group, this group of four countries (Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia) which economically benefited greatly from the European Union, before becoming political despisers in the wake of the 2015 refugee crisis. Thus, on November 11, Czech populist Prime Minister Andrej Babis resigned his post. After campaigning hand in hand with Mr. Orban against “Brussels and migrants”, this billionaire accused of corruption and multiple conflicts of interest by the European Commission suffered a defeat in the legislative elections in early October, against Petr Fiala.

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