Central and Eastern Europe in the Grip of Populism Cover Image

Central and Eastern Europe in the Grip of Populism
Central and Eastern Europe in the Grip of Populism

Author(s): Gábor Győri
Subject(s): Politics / Political Sciences
Published by: Globális Tudás Alapítvány

Summary/Abstract: In several areas of development, Central and Eastern Europe as a region has already overtaken the older European Union member states, not least in the increasingly interchangeable nature of the political left and right. In Western Europe, the problem of distinguishing mainstream left from right has been the subject of debate for some time. Nevertheless, if anyone believes it is a uniquely difficult problem to tell apart the public comments of British Conservative leader David Cameron from those of Tony Blair in 1997, they ought to try their hand at the following quiz. For each of the comments below, identify whether it was made by a politician on the right or the left of the political spectrum: a) “The authority we represent has one feature the previous government lacked: empathy. The empathy translates into concrete decisions concerning the weakest social groups.” b) Speaking about certain liberal Slovak historians: “Anti-Slovakism is like a hidden bacillus in them.” And about certain sections of the media: the “so-called Slovak media [which is] against all that is Slovak.” c) “The Hungarian government has at its disposal the instruments that can help it protect its citizens against super-profits. The government determines the prices of electricity and gas, pharmaceuticals, railway transportation, and third party insurance for vehicles, to name but a few examples of potential areas for government intervention. If, therefore, the government is truly on the side of citizens rather than big capital, which seeks to realize super-profits at the citizens’ expense, then it has the means to protect the people… against excessively high prices.” The answers are: a) Jaroslaw Kaczynski, former Polish prime minister and chairman of the rightwing Law and Justice party (PiS); b) Robert Fico, Slovak prime minister and chairman of the left-wing party Smer (Direction - Social Democracy); c) Viktor Orbán, Hungarian opposition leader, and chairman of the right-wing Alliance of Young Democrats-Hungarian Civic Union (Fidesz-MPSz) […]

  • Issue Year: 2008
  • Issue No: 03-04
  • Page Range: 47-72
  • Page Count: 26
  • Language: English