The co-chairman of the US Helsinki Committee on Thursday expressed concern over recent government measures in Hungary and gave warning that "democracy is at risk" in the country.
In a statement published in the Congressional Record, Democratic Senator Benjamin L Cardin said, while events during Transatlantic Week last week have reflected strong ties between the US and Hungary, there have been other developments overshadowing these relations.
While Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s two-thirds majority support in government is "not necessarily a bad thing", Cardin said "the Orbán government has used that supermajority to push through one controversial initiative after another."
Among such initiatives he mentioned the media law, the citizenship law and the new constitution, as well as changes to the Constitutional Court, measures to reduce early retirement for soldiers and police officers and changes to the ombudsman system.
The statement also mentions that "restrictions by Hungarian authorities on pro-Tibet demonstrations during last week's visit to Budapest of the Chinese Premier were seen as unnecessary and heavy-handed".
“In 1989, Hungary stood as an inspiration for democracy and human rights advocates around the globe. Today, I am deeply troubled by the trends there. (...) I hope that other countries looking for transformative examples will steer clear of this Hungarian model," the statement said.