Hungary: Black sheep in the crimson dome

WHEN Viktor Orban ran Hungary for the first time, between 1998 and 2002, he made a name for himself as the best prime minister Hungary had had since the end of Communism. He was a moderate, centre-right reformer who worked hard to get his country into NATO and the EU. Young, visionary, charismatic and incredibly dynamic, he was our John F. Kennedy, says a foreign-ministry official.So when the wunderkind of Hungarian politics returned to power with a landslide victory in April 2010, expectations were high, both at home and abroad. But a different Mr Orban seems to have come back to the prime minister’s office in the crimson-domed, neo-gothic parliamentary building on the bank of the Danube (pictured) in the centre of Budapest. Over the past three years Mr Orban has antagonised foreign allies, fallen out with friends and provoked alarm at the European Commission, the Council of Europe and the European Parliament. Now in his third year back in power, Mr Orban is close to becoming the pariah of the EU.What caused this transformation of the still youthful Mr Orban? Judging from their patriotic, emotionally charged rhetoric, he and his circle of power…

The Economist: Europe

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