Orbán dismisses demos as opposition ‘rehearsal’

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Hungaryʼs Prime Minister Viktor Orbán dismissed the street protests of recent weeks as having been organized by the opposition as a “dress rehearsal” for the election campaign next year. Speaking on state-owned Kossuth Radio on Sunday, he also suggested that networks of Hungarian-born financier George Soros are behind the protests, according to reports.

Commenting on the demonstrations of the past weeks, Orbán suggested on Kossuth Radio that “peaceful and upstanding Christian people [...] have itching palms,” a Hungarian saying equivalent to saying in English that they are itching for a fight.

However, he said he aims to pacify these people with the assertion that “Hungary has a national government, and this political force guarantees public security, and does not protect provocateurs, such as social-liberal governments used to do.”

Orbán added that he believes the governing party’s opponents are behind the demonstrations, and are holding a campaign “dress rehearsal” ahead of next year’s general elections.

He also suggested that Hungarian-born financier George Soros has a huge international network that protests, and “pays its people” by the hundreds or thousands. He added that the exact number would be seen when Parliament passes legislation related to the operation of NGOs in Hungary.

NGO legislation causes concerns

The Hungarian government recently tabled legislation in relation to NGOs operating in the country. Tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered on the streets once again a week ago showing support for Hungarian NGOs pressured by the draft bill.

The Civilizáció volunteer group for NGOs said the proposal, which if passed would require NGOs to register as “foreign-supported organizations” if they receive more than HUF 7.2 million in financial support from abroad, would “stigmatize and intimidate groups working hard to support their communities and their country. Because of its diverse work, civil society creates knowledge which is vital for the entire Hungarian society. The freedom of knowledge is ours, and we cannot let it be taken away.”

According to a report by online news portal index.hu, in relation to the NGO legislation, Orbán said that NGOs that “describe themselves as civil organizations” are in reality the local “institutions of international networks” that envisage a Europe where “partial population change” takes place and “foreign ethnic elements” are being let in from different parts of the world. Orbán once again talked about the migrant crisis, which he regards as the epicenter of conflicts. “If the security of the Hungarian people is in question, there is no pardon,” index.hu cited him as saying.

The Hungarian government has recently been highly critical of George Soros, suggesting that the Hungarian-born financier is attacking them. In response, international media outlets and commentators have criticized the Hungarian government over the past few weeks, suggesting that governing party Fidesz is creating an enemy image for the upcoming elections next year.

Orbán sees interfering foreign interests

Meanwhile, Orbán was quoted on official government website kormany.hu as saying in an interview with pro-government newspaper Magyar Idők at the weekend that “national governance in Hungary is under continuous pressure and attack, and so in every election the most important thing at stake is whether we will have a parliament and a government that will seek to serve the best interests of the Hungarian people, or a parliament and a government that will seek to serve foreign interests.”

“If we were to accept that Brussels or other political and financial centers should dictate to us, or that Hungarian or American billionaires should tell us how things should be in our country, then we would have no conflicts,” the prime minister went on to say in the interview. “Today we live in a time when international politics is a battlefield. The independence and freedom of European nations are at stake. And at the center of the battlefield is migration. In the present dress rehearsal for the election campaign, secondary battlefields are emerging in the form of the Soros university, the transparency of international lobbying organizations and financial stability.”

“George Soros must not be underestimated: he is a powerful billionaire of enormous determination who, when it comes to his interests, respects neither God nor man,” Orbán concluded.

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