An unfair portrayal of Hungarian politics

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The July 19 editorial "Hungary's rightward lunge" was as inaccurate as it was unfair. It also revealed a superficial understanding of Hungary and Fidesz, the party that just won a landslide victory in the parliamentary elections this spring. A few examples:

In 2002, Hungary's prime minister, Viktor Orbán, did not cater to "Hungary's extreme right," as the editorial stated, but successfully opposed it and helped oust its representatives from parliament by defeating them during the elections.

Although Washington did not welcome Hungary's decision to purchase fourth-generation Swedish-British Gripen fighter planes rather than used American F-16s, it did not make Mr. Orbán persona non grata and a pariah, as the editorial suggested. In March 2002, President George W. Bush telephoned Mr. Orbán and invited him to visit the United States following the elections, which looked like an almost certain victory for Mr. Orbán's Fidesz Party.

As a staunch friend of the United States and an appreciative reader of The Post, I hope that the editorial policy relating to Hungary will be more balanced and factual in the future.

Géza Jeszenszky, Budapest

The writer was Hungary's ambassador to the United States from 1998 to 2002.


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