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Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper Condemned for Congratulating Far-Right Authoritarian Leader

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.

Despite Orbán’s anti-democratic measures and divisive scapegoating of minority groups, Harper logged on to Twitter Monday to extend his “congratulations” to the autocrat:

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.

Harper currently serves as Chairman of the global conservative organization, with sitting MP Tony Clement as his deputy.

Following Harper’s tweet congratulating Orbán, many Twitter users chimed in to remind the former Prime Minister he’s celebrating an autocrat:

 

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