VICTOR PONTA, the Romanian prime minister driving a tank through the constitution (see previous article), could learn from Viktor Orban, his Hungarian counterpart and near namesake. Rather than wreck Hungary’s constitution, Mr Orban replaced it. Hungary’s slide towards autocracy has been solidly buttressed by a two-thirds parliamentary majority for Fidesz, the right-wing ruling party. The prime minister and his acolytes say this gives them a mandate for radical change.
That, critics say, extends to putting party allies in charge of the main institutions, including the presidency, the state prosecutor’s office, the state audit office, the judicial authority and the media council—some with mandates for nine years. A new class of oligarchs, several with close ties to Fidesz, is building up business empires, fuelled by generous government contracts. The state has been captured by private interests, warns Transparency International, an independent watchdog.
Viktor and Victor: Lessons from Budapest to Bucharest