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HUNGARIANS are taking to the streets. More than 10,000 gathered outside the parliament in Budapest on November 17th to protest against alleged corruption and the centralisation of power. Similar protests took place in other cities, including Miskolc in the east and Szeged and Pecs in the south. Several hundred Hungarians even gathered in London’s Trafalgar Square. The habit is catching: this week also saw big protests in neighbouring Slovakia and in the Czech Republic.   Hungary’s protesters were encouraged partly by America’s rising criticism of their government. Six Hungarian officials have been banned from entering the United States on suspicion of corruption, a rare rebuff to a NATO ally. American officials refuse to name them, on privacy grounds. However Ildiko Vida, head of the tax authority, told Magyar Nemzet, a pro-government newspaper, that she was one. She strongly denies any wrongdoing.

Hungarian officials have asked for more information from the Americans. They reject claims that the country is sliding into authoritarianism. The protests are proof that Hungary remains a democracy, where people are free to express their opinion as long as they abide by the law, says Antal Rogan, parliamentary leader of the ruling right-wing Fidesz party.

This week’s protests followed a bigger one on October 28th, when as many as 100,000 people filled central Budapest to demand the cancellation of an internet tax that they saw as an attack on free speech. The crowds were mostly young, educated and middle class, the sort of people that Fidesz needs to attract. And they forced a rare U-turn by the government, when Viktor Orban, Hungary’s prime minister, said the internet tax would be dropped in its current form. Instead he would launch a “national consultation” to consider ways in which to tax online profits.

The latest protesters have a harder task because their demands, including the resignation of the government, are unrealistic. This year Fidesz has won national, local and European elections. As the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe noted, the victories were due in part to the government’s tinkering with election rules in its favour. Yet the fractured liberal and left-wing opposition means that the alternative lacks appeal.(Economist)

翻译:

匈牙利人走上街头。11月17日,超过10000名匈牙利人聚集在布达佩斯的国会外面抗议所谓的腐败和权力集中。匈牙利其他城市也发生过类似的抗议活动,包括东部的米什科尔茨和南部的塞格德和佩奇。数百名匈牙利人甚至聚集在伦敦的特拉法加广场。抗议活动正愈演愈烈:本周邻国斯洛伐克和捷克共和国也爆发了大型抗议活动。

美国对匈牙利政府批评势力的抬头在一定程度上刺激了匈牙利的抗议活动。六名匈牙利官员因为涉嫌腐败被禁止进入美国境内,这是美国拒绝北约成员国少有的例子之一。美国官方出于隐私保护,拒绝透露他们的姓名。然而,税务机关的负责人Ildiko Vida在Magyar Nemzet—一份亲政府报纸—上声称自己就是六个官员其中之一,但她强烈否认有任何不正当行为。

匈牙利官员已向美国申请得到更多的信息。他们拒绝承认美国关于匈牙利正在走向专制的声明。抗议活动就是匈牙利仍然民主的有力证明,只要国民遵守法律,他们可以自由的表达观点,执政党右翼青民盟的国会主席Antal Rogan如是说。

本周抗议是继10月28日爆发的更大规模的抗议之后的又一次活动,28日的抗议活动多达10万人参加,他们聚集在布达佩斯中心要求取消互联网税,他们认为这是对自由言论的限制。参与抗议的大多数是年轻并受过教育的中产阶级,而这正是青民盟需要争取的群体。政府被迫进行政策“掉头”,匈牙利总理维克多·欧尔班表示互联网税将会在现有基础上被废除。相反,他可能进行“国家咨询”商讨如何对互联网利润征税。

最近的一次抗议活动有着更为艰巨的任务,因为他们要求政府辞职的诉求并不现实。今年,青民盟赢得了国家、地方和欧洲的选举。欧洲安全与合作组织指出,青民盟胜出的一部分原因在于政府对选举规则按照有利于他们的方向修修补补。然而支离破碎的左翼反对派自由党似乎又缺乏吸引力。


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