Hungarian PM Viktor Orban has said emergency laws granting his government the right to rule by decree during the Covid-19 crisis will be rescinded soon and those who accused him of using it as a power grab should “apologize.
Orban secured open-ended emergency powers from parliament at the end of March, angering the country’s opposition and triggering a spat with Brussels. The move predictably ignited a fresh round of condemnation in Western media as the PM was accused of dismantling democracy and taking another step toward “authoritarianism.”
Now, having announced that he expects parliament will be able to “return the special powers” to tackle Covid-19 “at the end of May,” Orban feels the time is ripe for an apology.
According to a statement posted by his spokesperson on Twitter, Orban will “give everyone a chance to apologize to Hungary for the unfair charges” when the powers are taken back.
There was “no basis for the criticisms” leveled against him, he added, according to Reuters. But that’s not all. Once they apologize, Orban also expects to hear some “admiration for the success” of Hungary’s battle against the virus.
As of May 15, the government has confirmed 3,417 cases of the infection and 442 deaths.
Orban’s call for an apology was echoed by Justice Minister Judit Varga who said Friday that the people who “coordinated the international smear campaign” against Hungary over its Covid-19 laws should now “apologize to the Hungarian people.”
The Hungarian PM is no stranger to run-ins with Brussels top dogs and is a harsh critic of EU bureaucracy, which he has said acts as the lapdog of liberal Hungarian-born billionaire George Soros.
Orban’s most intense flare-ups with EU officials have surrounded his staunch opposition to resettling refugees. His ruling party Fidesz was suspended from the European People’s Party (EPP) grouping in March over its anti-immigration policies.
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