After a year and a half of right-wing government, Hungary is characterised by the destruction of democracy, an economy drifting towards bankruptcy, society marred by divison and a country getting further away from Europe, former Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai said in an assessment published on Monday.
Bajnai said in a blog entry on the website of the Patriotism and Progress Public Policy Foundation which he had founded that the path Hungary currently follows must be changed radically and without delay.
A change of the government, however, would only make sense if the current destructive governing practices are also changed, he said.
“A new government must have a programme readily at hand that can be applied without delay: a programme that promotes the republic, reconciliation, and recovery,” he said.
The programme for the republic must be an action plan that restores constitutional democracy and the ability to govern, he said. A programme of reconciliation is needed in order to achieve social consensus on basic national objectives spanning over government terms, he added. Finally, the programme for recovery must enable the crisis-stricken economy to quickly recover and strengthen by way of concrete government measures and reforms.
Assessing the period since the change of the government, Bajnai said the ruling Fidesz had abused a historic opportunity granted by its two-thirds majority and drove Hungary in a direction that went against all the objectives of the past twenty years.
In response to its 2002 defeat at the polls, Fidesz now demonstrates an approach that the way to maintaining power is not through good government but by taking total government control, and even party control, over the public administration and election systems, as well as the media.
The government is facing a simple choice today: either it asks for a stand-by loan with strict conditions from the IMF or state bankruptcy will be unavoidable.
But an agreement with the IMF will only be possible if the government implements structural reforms in public spending, corrects its faulty measures in order to generate growth and provides institutional guarantees, Bajnai said.