Hungary – playing both ends against the middle

Hungarian Parliament Budapest

Hungary unlike Poland is attempting to maintain an ambivalent stance on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Pro-Kremlin Prime Minister Orban  has supported EU sanctions against Russia and condemned the war, but banned the shipment of weapons to Kyiv and is against stopping natural gas and oil from Russia, on which Hungary is heavily reliant. For the forthcoming April 3 elections as he aims for a fourth term, he is proclaiming himself the peace and security candidate. His party still leads but the polls are the tightest they have ever been for him.

  His multi-billion spending spree ahead of the election next week of tax rebates, tax cuts, pension and wage hikes has left a budget hole that will spell trouble ahead for whoever wins. With Hungary’s public debt ratio surging to the highest in Central Europe, its credit ratings are likely to drop given rising interest rates, surging inflation and energy prices, the cost of helping 200,000 refugees, exacerbated by Hungary’s lack of access to EU pandemic recovery funds due to a row over democratic standards.

  The election on April 3rd is likely to be bad tempered with a tr Saturn Mars conjunction in Aquarius. If the modern Hungary chart of 23 October 1989 is accurate at 12pm then those two planets will collide with the Hungary Leo Moon which suggests a stressed and unhappy electorate. Even without that the Hungary Pluto at 14 Scorpio catches a disruptive tr Uranus opposition from late April into May, repeating January 2023 which suggests major changes in leadership. August to November this year look frustrated, cornered and undermined. The Eclipses this year will also rattle the Hungary Scorpio Sun and Pluto.

  In 2023/2024 tr Pluto squares the Hungary Scorpio Sun bringing relentless and irrevocable pressure for change.

Viktor Orban, 31 May 1963 2pm, is on his second Saturn Return with the tr Saturn Mars square his Mercury in Taurus over the election, so irritable and argumentative, inclined to erupt. Tr Uranus is opposing his Neptune exactly which is highly strung and anxious and moves on to an upsetting conjunction to his Venus from early May.

In general it’s a year when his hopes don’t pan out especially now till June, and again on and off till late 2023. The opposition leader Péter Márki-Zay, 9 May 1972, looks devastated over the election but is recovering his mojo by July with a striking success – so much may change in the aftermath.

6 thoughts on “Hungary – playing both ends against the middle

  1. As stated by Anita, Fidesz wan and with larger majority than expecting, although not as large as in 2018. Therefore, Orbàn’s disastrous passages must be caused by something not related to his victory. And my guesses here are:

    1) Hungary will be cut off the energy supply from Ukraine. I checked out some charts on energy supply. Apparently, natural gas amounts to almost half of household energy consumption, and over 20 per cent of industrial energy consumption in Hungary. Over 90 per cent of this is imported from Russia through “Brotherhood” pipeline running through Ukraine.

    Electricity wise, Hungary has four nuclear reactors, but also import power from Ukraine.

    I therefore think Orbàn antagonizing Zelenskyy in his victory speech might not have been a good idea. As the threat of Russia attacking Western Ukraine directly in the near future has diminished, Ukraine’s need for Hungary to keep its boarders open for refugees has diminished as well.

    2) Orbàn may have overestimated how much overt cozying up with Russians average Hungarians support. It may be one thing to depict the leader of neighboring country as a corrupt autocrat, but selling Hungarians an idea of Russians as trusted allies may take more. The country was occupied by the Soviets twice in the last century. And the first time was so traumatic it made people who has lived through to rebel 12 years later. Orbàn may be able to keep Bucha out of the main news broadcasts, but younger people will have access to pictures and stories, and won’t doubt them, because as I’ve seen countless self identified Poles affirm on Twitter “This happened to their grand parents when Red Army came to town”.

    Not to mention that some of Orbàn’s allies are bona fide fascists, identifying with Arrow Cross Party, with no warm feelings for Russians.

    Therefore, I’m not counting out mass demonstrations from a grassroot or even a party split. I know we hardly hear of other Fidesz politicians outside Hungary, when they don’t encage in gay sex orgy during a lockdown (that Fidesz MEP whose behavior was completely glossed over in Hungary), but surely, there are people in Orbàn’s circle who feel closer to their Polish and Slovak colleagues than Russians.

    3) It could be personal. 2nd Saturn Return hardly is auspicious time health wise.

  2. Thank you, Marjorie! I think we saw 2022 being a difficult year for Orbàn and Hungary in general, but who would have thought it coming this way? I think the likeliest result here will be contested election, because opposition alliance seems to be polling close enough to Fidesz. Or, in case Fidesz does, in fact, win, a split in party. I think this happened very early in their history, when most founders left.

    I’m also thinking that if there will be a peace deal this Spring – which I, unfortunately, doubt, I think there will be months of “stall” before Russia’s economy collapses – , some of Orbàn’s setbacks might be tied to coming Ukraine reconstruction. I see “Marshall Aid” kind of investments pouring to Ukraine, and obviously, closest EU neighbors will benefit the most. But with Orbàn holding back, these will, most likely, go to Polish, Czech, Slovak, even Romanian businesses rather than Hungary.

    • It was announced that Orbàn won the election, however I read that the Human Rights (OSCE), recommended a full-scale international monitoring operation of the April 3 poll. Not sure if that was done.
      Hungary really has no business being part of the EU anymore and should be kicked out a while ago. One wonders what will happen next based on Marjorie’s “The opposition leader Péter Márki-Zay, 9 May 1972, looks devastated over the election but is recovering his mojo by July with a striking success – so much may change in the aftermath”.

        • @L. Bear, I doubt irregularities that could be used to contest the result internationally will be found, because Orbàn is smart. However, there are three factors that make it extremely difficult for the opposition to win:

          1) Orbàn controls the national media, especially television, main news outlet for aging Hungarian population. Hungarian language differs from major European languages, so obtaining information from outside isn’t easy either.

          2) Fidesz has hold two thirds of the Parliament, enabling them to “gerrymandel” electoral districts. Larger towns with educated, younger population -and there really aren’t many besides Budapest – count less they should, based on population. Voters get “bused” too, for instance seasonal construction workers from rural Hungary are able to vote in Budapest.

          3) Orbàn has basically been votes of poor, rural voters by giving families with 2 children or more up to 4600 tax refund. The national energy company is also giving large discounts on electricity and yes, gas, to private citizens.

          Therefore, even if Fidesz isn’t bribing people directly, this is a very concrete way they use to boost their popularity.

      • @Anita, yes, OSCE monitoring was carried on, and I’m afraid they won’t find more to complain there than with, let’s say, Texas elections in the US. ☹️ In fact, many of the methods used by Fidesz to stay in power are straight from Republican playbook.

        I also don’t think there are currently bases for kicking Hungary out of EU or NATO, and see particularly the latter as a distant possibility given the intel Hungary must have received since joining.

        Therefore, I think coming turn in fortune must be related to something else.

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