Since sweeping to power on his nationalist agenda in 2010, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has rewritten the constitution and key aspects of electoral laws. (file photo)
Fidesz, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's ruling party, has blasted the European Parliament (EP) after it approved a resolution saying Hungary was no longer a "full democracy."
The EP voted 433 to 123 with 28 abstentions on September 15 to approve a report that said Hungary had become "a hybrid regime of electoral autocracy" under the leadership of Orban's nationalist government and that its undermining of the bloc's democratic values had taken the country out of the community of democracies.
The nonbinding vote is mainly symbolic as it singles out Hungary for allegedly failing to uphold values enshrined in the EU treaty such as "respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law, and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities."
The report says democracy and fundamental rights in Hungary have eroded through the "deliberate and systematic efforts of the Hungarian government" since the EP launched an investigation into Hungary's democratic norms in 2018.
"It is unforgivable that, while people are suffering from the severe economic effects of wartime inflation and misguided sanctions, the European Parliament is attacking Hungary again," said Balazs Hidveghi, a Fidesz deputy in the EP.
Orban, who was reelected for a fourth consecutive term in April, has clashed often with the bloc over issues such as judicial independence, public procurement, LGBT rights, and media, academic, and religious freedoms.
Since sweeping to power on his nationalist agenda in 2010, Orban, who characterizes the country as an "illiberal democracy," has rewritten the constitution and key aspects of electoral laws and consolidated allies' control of nearly every major media outlet in the country.
The EP report actually blames the European Union's other 26 members for being "inactive" to Orban's democratic abuses during his rule, saying part of the problem was "the inability of the [European] Council to make meaningful progress to counter democratic backsliding."
The report comes just days ahead of an expected announcement by the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, that the bloc is ready to suspend the transfer of some EU funds to Hungary over the alleged democratic violations.