COMMENT | Using coronavirus as a pretext to grab power

James Chai

Modified 12 May 2020, 3:34 am

COMMENT | Something incredible happened in Hungary one month ago. When the world was worried about the coronavirus, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán staged a “coronavirus coup”.

His party that controls a supermajority in government passed a law that allows him to effectively “suspend the enforcement of certain laws, depart from statutory regulations and implement additional extraordinary measures by decree”. He also imposed harsh punishments to censor media outlets, suspended elections, and weakened the opposition by seizing their funding.

Orbán had made himself a temporary dictator, using the coronavirus as a pretext to grab power.

The clever and cunning Orbán always had dictatorial tendencies – he championed a concept called “illiberal democracy”. He put his allies at the highest courts, gerrymandered parliamentary constituencies, changed the constitution, and monopolised information by...

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