Amid concerns about the rise of the far-right party Jobbik, the current Hungarian prime minister’s party Fidesz secured an estimated 45% of the votes in yesterday’s parliamentary elections (after the counting of 93% of the ballots). The figure is lower than the 2/3rds needed for Fidesz to form a “super-majority” and be able to change the country’s constitution unilaterally. Some analysts see this as a good development, suggesting that debate and deliberation should make a reappearance into Hungarian political life. On the other hand, the latter is overshadowed by Jobbik’s winning of 21% of the votes cast; the far-right party has often been accused of anti-semitism. A senior party figure in 2012 proposed drawing up lists of Jews in parliament, though he later apologised and said he was misunderstood, reports Reuters. Furthermore, with Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s policies including “nationalisation of private pension funds, swingeing ‘crisis taxes’ on big business, and a relief scheme for mortgage holders for which the banks, mostly foreign-owned, had to pay,” some economists claim the government has scared off the type of long-term foreign investment which Hungary needs.
An op-ed in Der Spiegel looks at Dr. Olga Bogomolets’ possible future in Ukrainian politics. Dr. Bogomolets became renowned after treating the casualties of Maidan violence and sniper fire. As she became disillusioned with the current interim government, she decided to run for presidency herself, and her candidacy was accepted by the electoral committee last week.
Meanwhile, as the situation in Ukraine remains unstable, with pro-Russian protesters storming government buildings in the eastern part of the country and demanding a referendum for joining Russia, El Pais explores the options for re-configuring Europe’s energy map. The analysis suggests that diversification of energy sources is key, which does not need to mean completely shutting down imports from Russia.
On the 20th commemoration of the Rwandan genocide, a German reporter looks back on the way the genocide was covered in the press at the time. Many Western journalists, including Bartholomäus Grill, played it down as “ethnic warfare.” Grill, now a correspondent for Der Spiegel, reflects shamefully on the harrowing events and on whatever lessons may be learned.
In the Press Review section of the GovFaces blog you will find regular updates on important social, political, and economic issues of the day. Items presented here and in the Analysis & Opinion sections do not necessarily reflect the views of GovFaces.