Hungary hails Trump win as ‘return to real democracy’

Viktor Orbán says US ‘big bang’ spells the end of ‘20 years of liberal non-democracy’

Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán: “Mr Trump is good for Europe and vital for Hungary.” Photograph: Laszlo Balogh/Reuters

Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán: “Mr Trump is good for Europe and vital for Hungary.” Photograph: Laszlo Balogh/Reuters

 

Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán has hailed Donald Trump’s US presidential election victory as a “big bang” for the western world, which spells the end of “liberal non-democracy”, empty ideology and political correctness.

“This is the second day of a historic event, in which western civilisation appears to successfully break free from the confines of an ideology . . . We are two days after the big bang and still alive. What a wonderful world. This also shows that democracy is creative and innovative,” Mr Orbán said on Thursday.

“We are living in the days when what we call liberal non-democracy – in which we lived for the past 20 years – ends, and we can return to real democracy,” he added.

“We can call problems by their name and find solutions not derived from an ideology but based on pragmatic, creative thinking rooted in common sense.”

Under Mr Orbán, Hungary has been criticised by the United States and European Union on issues ranging from a perceived resurgence of anti-Semitism to alleged government threats to press freedom and its role in handling Europe’s refugee crisis.

Conservative rule

Mr Orbán bristles at foreign disapproval of his populist, conservative rule, and two years ago he praised the way Russia and China are run and declared a desire to make Hungary an “illiberal new state based on national foundations”.

Having built fences on Hungary’s southern borders to keep out refugees and migrants, and rejected EU plans to distribute refugees around the bloc, Mr Orbán backed Mr Trump over Democrat Hillary Clinton during the US election campaign.

“The Democrats’ foreign policy is bad for Europe, and deadly for Hungary. The migration and foreign policy advocated by the Republican candidate, Mr Trump, is good for Europe and vital for Hungary,” he said in July.

Visiting London on Wednesday, Mr Orbán said “the world has always benefited whenever it has managed to release itself from the captivity of ideology . . . and return to reality. In my view, this is what has happened just now in the United States.”

Political correctness

“This also gives the rest of the western world the chance to free itself from the captivity of ideologies, of political correctness . . . and to come back down to earth. We should see the world as it really is, we should see people as they really are . . . and we should serve them with our policies.”

Mr Trump’s victory was also welcomed by other populists in central and eastern Europe, from autocrats like Russian president Vladimir Putin and Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko to Czech and Slovak leaders.

Czech president Milos Zeman, who backs Mr Trump’s tough line on security and immigration, said his triumph showed “the will of the American people not to be manipulated by the public media”.