Demonstrations in Budapest

Are you coming to Budapest in the coming days, or maybe you are here already, and now you are worried after reading and hearing about violent demonstrations in Budapest the last days? So, what is the truth? What is it all about? And will you be in danger as a tourist?

First of all, the demonstrations are against the current Prime Minister and his rule, and first of all because of some new rules that were introduced last Wednesday. On that day, the Parliament voted for the so-called “Slave Law”, raising the number of over-time hours from 250 to 400 possible hours for workers. Some call this a great opportunity to work more and earn more, while most people believe this will be abused by employers to drive their workers even harder.

The second law that was introduced is about a new system for the courts of Hungary, which will be overseen by the Minister of Justice. And if we have learned something about the politics of Hungary, it is that the Minister of Justice is in the hands of the Prime Minister, which again means that only such people will get those jobs that will vote for and do whatever the Prime Minister wants… 

CNN coverage of the demonstrations in Budapest
CNN coverage of the demonstrations in Budapest

Are the demonstrations dangerous for tourists?

The short answer is NO. The longer answer is NO, not at all! If you ever see someone demonstration, you can simply go another way. Or, you can decide to go with them. We have personal knowledge of people attending the demonstrations, and these are peaceful people who long for a change in the nation. There are some “crazy” people attending the demonstrations, but they are not really welcome, and if they turn a garbage can over, the people coming after normally place the garbage can back up in order.

In other words, if you are curious, take a look at what’s going on from a distance, and if you want to support them, walk with them. But, if you feel as if things get heated up, rather leave the area and eat some Goulash soup instead!

The ugly truth about the state of Hungary

We are really in love with the city of Budapest, but it doesn’t mean that we enjoy and appreciate everything that the politicans say and do. And it feels terrible when you hear that people are afraid to say their name to writers and to share their opinions on Facebook. Why? They are afraid of losing their jobs and fear their future. People are threatened to shut up, or they will lose their jobs! If you show up on demonstrations, the chances of being investigated for money matters or other stuff, increases a lot! 

Even more annoying is how the state media is compromised, and thus, the larger part of the Hungarian population do not even know about the demonstrations. The State TV is saying whatever they want, and normally all they say about the demonstrations is that George Soros has financed them, and that those showing up are bullies who only want to destroy and create trouble. There are a few credible and objective sources for information, but those are really few, and thus, the average Hungarian will only see the filtered news served them by the Hungarian government.

In other words, there are plenty of reasons to demonstrate – but as a tourist, you do not have to worry at all about. 

Election in Hungary on April 8th

On this upcoming Sunday, on April 8th, it is time for elections in Hungary. Do you need to know anything about the election if you come to Hungary?

If you come to Hungary as a tourist, you will most likely not even notice that it is election day. You will for sure see political posters and commercials here and there (Vote for me etc…), but nothing else besides that. But, as the results are made public, you might start to see some reactions on the faces of the people.

Election in Hungary

Fidesz, the party led by Prime Minister Viktor Orban, are the favorites to win the election over again, and thus continue their reign in Hungary. They have led the nation in the last eight years, and due to changes they made to the voting laws, it is very hard to get rid of them. Lots of changes have been made, but on Sunday the most important change might be that the opposing political parties cannot create coalitions after the vote, only before. In other words, if Fidesz ends up getting 40% of the votes, Jobbik gets 15% (the right extreme party) and all left side parties get a total of 45% of the votes, then Fidesz has won in the given area. In that way the force the opposition parties to cooperate before the voting, but that is very hard, and thus this is strengthening the position of Fidesz in Hungarian politics.

The most important subject in the political campaign (of Fidesz) leading up to the election has been migration policy. They are very condemning the political statements given from the EU headquarter in Brussels, and they are clear that Hungary will not be invaded by dangerous migrants destroying the Hungarian culture and religion. But, a lot of people consider these political statements as more of a way to scare the Hungarian citizens (which will result in them voting for Fidesz), than how much it has to do with reality and what’s going on.

What to expect after the election?

It can turn out in any way. Some people believe people will go to the streets if Fidesz loses the election. Other people believe the opposition will go to the streets if Fidesz wins again. It is hard to predict, but pay attention to the news wherever you might be to get a final update on the election results! Some people also predict that Hungary might be forced to leave the EU if Fidesz continues their reign, but it is truly hard to understand what is going on. Media in Hungary is in large part controlled by friends of the government, and for that reason, the news we are served are heavily filtered (except for a few places). We have an old article here called “An introduction to Hungarian Politics.” It is a bit out of date, but the basics are still the same. Read it if you have the time and want to understand more about what’s going on in the country.

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