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Hungary

Yearbook 2013

Hungary. The year was marked by political and ideological struggles between the right-wing government and right-wing extremist forces, on the one hand, and a liberal opposition on the other.

2013 Hungary

One of the founders of the Hungarian Citizens Union (Fidesz) government party and friend of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán described in a newspaper article in January Roma as "animal". The statement disgusted the opposition, urging the ruling party to exclude the journalist.

In a small town in eastern Hungary, the mayor decided to name a street after World War II's Hungarian leader Miklós Horthy, allied with Adolf Hitler and co-responsible for the deportations of Jews to the concentration camps. It aroused strong reactions among Hungarian Jews.

At a football match in the spring, attacks on Jews occurred both physically and verbally, among other things called "Sieg Heil". The right-wing party Jobbik held a demonstration in conjunction with the Jewish World Congress conference in Budapest, and Prime Minister Orbán received criticism from Jewish leaders for being apologetic to the right-wing extremists. Among other things, a statue of Raoul Wallenberg had been vandalized.

According to Countryaah, the government's plans to change the constitution met resistance both within and outside Hungary. The EU expressed concern over a development that limited democracy and freedom of expression, and in Budapest widespread protests led by the opposition. One turned, among other things. against weakening the powers of the Constitutional Court and the President and giving the government the opportunity to enact laws that had previously been rejected. The government's broad majority of over two-thirds of Parliament's mandate was enough to approve the controversial legislative changes in March. Major protests followed in Budapest.

In the same month, Finance Minister György Matolscy, with close ties to Prime Minister Orbán, was appointed new head of the central bank. Shortly thereafter, one of the bank's deputy managers resigned in protest against the appointment and the government's influence over the bank.

The government was also accused of corruption when a licensing system was introduced for the sale of cigarettes and tobacco. Stores were no longer allowed to sell the goods, and the government was accused of distributing the licenses to their own sympathizers. Information on how the tendering process was initiated was strangled by a new law that restricted the right to public information from authorities and courts.

When the EU threatened with sanctions against Hungary, the government declared that it would change the criticized new parts of the Constitution. In July, however, Prime Minister Orbán defended the disputed constitutional amendments before a critical EU parliament, where many felt that the Hungarian government's decision threatened freedom of expression and human rights.

In June, a 98-year-old former police chief was charged with organizing the deportation of over 15,000 Jews to the concentration camp in Auschwitz. The man was never investigated when he died a few months after the prosecution.

In August, the verdict fell in a well-publicized case in which three men were charged with the murder of six Roma in 2008 and 2009. The brutal killings had provoked disgust within and outside Hungary, and the police had been accused of failing to protect minorities adequately. The three men were sentenced to life imprisonment and an aide to 13 years. According to a human rights center, about 60 cases of hate crimes against Roma were reported in 2008-12.

In October, Parliament passed a law allowing municipalities to prohibit people from sleeping outdoors. Violations of the prohibition can be punished by community service, fines or imprisonment. The law was justified by the need to safeguard the general order.

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