5 of Our Best Reads on Viktor Orban, Hungary’s Returning Far-Right Leader


Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary with supporters in Budapest in April. His election victory then gave him a parliamentary majority large enough to make constitutional changes.Credit Darko Vojinovic/Associated Press

Viktor Orban was formally sworn in as Hungary’s prime minister for a third successive term on Tuesday, as Parliament met for the first time since his electoral alliance won a large majority in a general election on April 8.

Mr. Orban’s party, Fidesz, and the allied Christian Democratic People’s Party won 133 of the 199 seats in Parliamentary after a campaign that election observers called free but not entirely fair. They relied heavily on xenophobic rhetoric, and appeared to unfairly harness state resources, according to observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

The majority is large enough to vote through changes to Hungary’s Constitution, a power Mr. Orban last held in 2015.

5 of Our Best Reads on Viktor Orban, Hungary’s Returning Far-Right Leader
5 of Our Best Reads on Viktor Orban, Hungary’s Returning Far-Right Leader

Since entering office for the second time in 2010, Mr. Orban has become a hero to the global far right for his nativist policies and for his efforts to mold Hungary into what he describes as an illiberal state.

Here is a selection of recent in-depth New York Times articles about his time in office.

How He Changed the State

Over the past eight years, Mr. Orban has undermined many of the institutional checks and balances that liberal democracies depend on, installing loyalists at most state watchdogs and tweaking the election system to favor Fidesz. His appointees now control the judiciary, the Constitutional Court, the prosecution service, the electoral authority and the central bank.

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How He Shifted Society

In parallel, Mr. Orban has tightened his grip over Hungarian culture — targeting its artistic sphere, civil society and education system. He has sought to penalize rights groups, particularly those backed by the Hungarian-American philanthropist and financier George Soros. His narratives dominate state media and parts of the national curriculum, and his allies control most private media outlets and many universities and cultural institutions.

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