Former Canadian Prime Minister is roundly criticized after tweeting his best wishes to the autocratic leader of Hungary
Former Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been roundly condemned after extending his congratulations to Hungary’s anti-democratic, far-right leader following his recent election victory, thanks in part to rewriting the constitution and gerrymandering.
Viktor Orbán, leader of Hungary’s far-right Fidesz party, captured a parliamentary supermajority following a largely unfair election that stirred anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim paranoia pushed by the country’s media, largely controlled by Orbán’s allies.
As the New York Times recently explained, Orbán has worked to transform Hungary into a “soft autocracy” in recent years:
“Hungary is now considered a democracy in sharp, worrisome decline.
Through legislative fiat and force of will, Mr. Orban has transformed the country into a political greenhouse for an odd kind of soft autocracy, combining crony capitalism and far-right rhetoric with a single-party political culture.”
On Tuesday, Orban pledged as his first act, he will move to crack down on charities and NGOs that help refugees.
Congratulations to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Hungary’s Fidesz for winning a decisive fourth term! The IDU and I are looking forward to working with you.
— Stephen Harper (@stephenharper) April 9, 2018
Harper added that “the IDU and I are looking forward to working with you.”
The Conservative Party of Canada, along with Hungary’s Fidesz, are both members of the “International Democrat Union” — a global organization of right-wing political parties that also includes the US Republican Party.
Following Harper’s tweet congratulating Orbán, many Twitter users chimed in to remind the former Prime Minister he’s celebrating an autocrat:
Former Canadian PM offers congratulations to Hungary’s victorious Viktor Orban, anti-immigration PM who refers to refugees as “Muslim invaders”. https://t.co/rkPmF0Balt
— Chris ONeill-Yates (@oneillyatescbc) April 10, 2018
WSJ editorial board said Orban “is leading Hungary in an authoritarian direction” https://t.co/Z1Lv8zshRe
— Paul Vieira (@paulvieira) April 10, 2018
Holy crap. Orban is a fascist and an anti-semite. https://t.co/jD8hBeUQZg
— Mike P. Moffatt 🇨🇦🏅🏅 (@MikePMoffatt) April 9, 2018
This is instructive and disappointing. https://t.co/rOLl2zaBP2
— Paul Wells (@InklessPW) April 9, 2018
— Rob Breakenridge (@RobBreakenridge) April 10, 2018
Last month, Orbán told state radio that activists are being paid by George Soros. He had ran an anti-immigrant and Muslim campaign, saying “We can choose between two futures. The one is preferred by Soros’s candidates,” what ever *that* means, but you do you Stephen. https://t.co/5LL9WAOYa3
— Tabatha Southey (@TabathaSouthey) April 9, 2018
This really is something. Read @NYTimesCohen report this weekend on Orban in particular whose campaign distorted the depiction of the length of Soros’ nose on a campaign poster: https://t.co/SRDCorgEnP https://t.co/c4MJ87JXZE
— Nancy Leblanc (@NancyCLeblanc) April 10, 2018
Good lord https://t.co/fbBoGEGZug
— Doug Saunders (@DougSaunders) April 10, 2018
What are we to make of Harper offering congratulations to an anti-Semitic, demagogue who is in the process of turning Hungary into a fascist dictatorship https://t.co/9mx5zT0SiT
— Derek Leebosh (@Dleebosh) April 9, 2018
If any other public affairs consultant sent out a tweet like this, I’d assume they have client interests in Hungary and are sucking up to the re-elected leader.
That’s way too cynical here though, right?
I assume Harper is legitimately happy for his win. https://t.co/0jwoE513SE
— Rob Silver (@RobSilver) April 10, 2018
Excuse me? You know who Orban is and what he stands for, yes? He makes Trump look like Marcus Aurelius. https://t.co/puEFck0QM6
— David Moscrop (@David_Moscrop) April 10, 2018
“Congratulations to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán for making the trains run on time.” https://t.co/9rWEdYpIgn
— ishmael n. daro (@iD4RO) April 10, 2018
The dictator congratulator has logged on https://t.co/phLsjnOwzv
— amil (@amil) April 9, 2018
— Peter Scowen (@scowen13) April 10, 2018
A lot of Hungarian-Canadians are not going to like this tweet. https://t.co/GoDp7ddfFq
— Dylan Robertson (@withfilesfrom) April 9, 2018
“If someone shows you who they are, believe them.” https://t.co/C189yZj4Gk
— Gail Jansen-Kesslar (@radlady) April 10, 2018
starting to think this harper guy might be problematic https://t.co/eyQPC2xbIx
— drew brown (@drewfoundland) April 9, 2018