There’s no guarantee that Viktor Orbán, trusting in his relations with the East, won’t take Hungary out of the European Union, says Dávid Korányi (pictured), formerly chief advisor to Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai, and now advisor to Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony and Executive Director of Action for Democracy.
As previously reported, Action for Democracy is a newly-created American organization that “works to empower democratic actors to defend democracy,” according to their website. The group recently launched a campaign called Hungarian Spring to urge Hungarians in Western countries to vote in the April 3 parliamentary elections.
As a first step, we working on strengthening democratic forces in “battlefield state” elections, including Hungary, primarily by mobilizing the diasporas of these countries.
-Korányi told Népszava in an interview about the goals of Action for Democracy.
The advisor said that the Hungarian Spring campaign is focusing on getting Hungarians abroad information on how to register to vote. They are also organizing “democracy festivals” in London, Manchester, Berlin, Munich, Bern, The Hague, and Vienna to help generate interest in voting, hoping that the events will move people out of their homes and toward the ballot box.
Pro-democracy forces need to work together more
Dávid Korányi admitted that the Hungarian election was the main inspiration for starting the organization, but its goals and ambitions are much broader than just Hungary. He also added that the stakes are nothing less than ensuring the future of democracy.
While autocratic leaders like Orbán, Trump, or [Brazil’s] Bolsonaro forge closer ties with one another, their opponents, who are sworn to defend democracy, often work in isolation despite the need need for them to work together. We are working to build an international alliance that can offer resistance to authoritarian political aspirations by strengthening the mechanisms of democracy.
-stated the advisor to Mayor Karácsony.
Korányi acknowledged that it was very difficult to determine where the authoritarian model starts, which can be a danger:
After all, even Russia provides, in principle, the legal background for the independence of the judiciary, free elections, and freedom of the media. But in practice, powerful actors can emerge that gradually settle into society, developing a centralized, authoritarian government even while complying with the letter of the law. In this sense, the Orbán regime is moving towards a total authoritarianism system.
-Dávid Korányi explained to Népszava.
People need to be supplied with credible information
Korányi believes that a semi-authoritarian system also exists in Hungary, where there is a systemic risk of the weakening of democracy.
As an EU and NATO member, at the international level, from the standpoint of the unity of the Western world, it is not inconsequential which direction it goes in after the elections, especially in light of the war between Russia and Ukraine.
-he stated, adding that if there is a conflict between preserving power and Hungary’s economic and security commitments, it cannot be ruled out that “Orbán, trusting in his relations with the East, could decide to take the country out of the EU.”
Korányi also mentioned the need for people to be able to access as much credible information as possible. To this end, they are supporting movements like the Print it Yourself! underground press.
In addition, the group intends to respond to the war in Ukraine by providing financial assistance to local municipalities that offer care, accommodation, and food to Ukrainian refugees.