Government Spokesperson Zoltán Kovács responded to a recent article in The Washington Post on the state of democracy in Hungary with his own letter to the editor entitled: For Hungarians, it’s Hungary first.
Mr. Kovács recalled the opinion piece published on 12 April under the title “Democracy is dying in Hungary. The rest of the world should worry”, which concluded with the odd remark that “it’s funny how putting your country first usually means putting your democracy last.”
“Voter turnout in Hungary’s April 8 elections reached 70.2 percent, the highest it’s been since 2002 and more than eight points higher than it was in 2014. Voter participation in the U.S. 2016 presidential election was only 55.7 percent, and it was even lower in 2012”, the Government Spokespersons pointed out.
“Democracy is alive and well in Hungary”, he declared.
Mr. Kovács listed further factors and data: “Unemployment today is at 3.8 percent, down from its 2009 level of 11.9 percent. Growth in gross domestic product reached 4.4 percent in 2017, compared with minus 7.9 percent in 2009. Real wages have grown by 44 percent since 2014, and we introduced the lowest corporate tax in the European Union at 9 percent, which has stimulated investment”, stressing: “Voters like those things”.
He recalled a previous article in The Washington Post according to which Hungary’s ruling party “was just able to capture the two-thirds supermajority it needed to rule unimpeded with only 48 percent of the vote”, citing two earlier examples: the fact that Tony Blair and Britain’s Labour Party won the 1997 elections with 43 percent of the popular vote but took 64 percent of the seats in Parliament and Former U.S. President Barack Obama was elected in 2008 with 53 percent of the vote, but he won 67 percent of the electoral college.
“That’s the way it works in majoritarian electoral systems”, he underlined.
“Prime Minister Viktor Orbán won again by a landslide precisely because the voters want their government to put the country first”, the Government Spokesperson wrote in closing.