Orbán’s Self-imposed Predicament

The Hungarian PM has made an enemy of the middle class

14 January 2019

Wojciech Przybylski


The events of recent weeks have not yet created an alloy strong enough to merge all Hungarian opposition parties. However, there has been a definite breakthrough in the surprisingly-effective, experimental political system, which leads to the conclusion that it will be increasingly difficult for Orbán to keep pretending Hungary is a democracy.

There has been an important change in Hungary, protests that began on December 12 have been regularly held throughout the country. The demonstration in Budapest has finally united the opposition, trade unions and the civil society. These three groups have so far not been able to establish strategic cooperation. Amazingly though, the government has helped them in their endeavours.

The main reason for the protests is a new law – referred to as the “slave law” – which gives employers the opportunity to increase the permissible number of overtime an employee can be required to work from 250 to 400 per year (ten additional full-time weeks), and at the same time extends the time period for payment to the employees for this work up to three years.

Moreover, the law was passed in violation of the parliamentary rules and was quickly signed by President Janos Ader.


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Wojciech Przybylski


Political analyst heading Visegrad Insight's policy foresight on European affairs. His expertise includes foreign policy and political culture. Editor-in-Chief of Visegrad Insight and President of the Res Publica Foundation. Europe's Future Fellow at IWM - Institute of Human Sciences in Vienna and Erste Foundation. Wojciech also co-authored a book 'Understanding Central Europe’, Routledge 2017. He has been published in Foreign Policy, Politico Europe, Journal of Democracy, EUObserver, Project Syndicate, VoxEurop, Hospodarske noviny, Internazionale, Zeit, Dziennik Gazeta Prawna, Onet, Gazeta Wyborcza and regularly appears in BBC, Al Jazeera Europe, Euronews, TRT World, TVN24, TOK FM, Swedish Radio and others.


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