Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó sat for a heated interview with the BBC, where he rejected a direct accusation of “xenophobia” leveled against his countrymen.
During a clip presented by BBC Newsnight, interviewer Emily Maitlis played the double role of journalist and open borders activist, repeatedly interrupting FM Szijjártó in an attempt to keep him off-balance while responding to insinuations that the wildly popular Hungarian administration is an illegitimate, bigoted "dictatorship" - a charge she eventually laid bare.
After dismissing concerns over an “influx” of migrants to Europe and the “security” threat they present as masks for underlying motives, Maitlis concluded, “Really, it comes down to something much more simple with your government, doesn’t it? When you look at [Prime Minister] Viktor Orban’s words, he’s compared immigration to a flu epidemic; he’s talked of ‘Muslim invaders’; he’s talked of ‘Christian Hungary’ and a mixed population with no sense of identity; and he’s called the people coming in ‘potential terrorists.'”
“So, this isn’t actually about immigration is it? It’s about xenophobia.”
“No, I have to reject that, and I take it as an insult, what you have just said,” Szijjártó returned. “We have the right to make our own decisions - whom we would like to allow to enter a territory of Hungary, and whom we do not allow.”
“Calling a country ‘xenophobic’ is an insult,” he continued. “Yes, it is our intention to keep Hungary a Hungarian country, and yes, we do not agree with those who say that multiculturalism is by definition good.”
When Szijjártó pointed out that his government just won a historic landslide election and had received a clear mandate from Magyars to defend Hungarian interests, Maitlis interjected, “many of your opposition do not believe [it] was fair.”
“There is a sense of erosion of the rule of law,” Maitlis accused. “This is no longer a democracy, it is a creeping authoritarianism.”
“You quote lies,” Szijjártó responded. “I don’t think it’s fair that you are unbalanced. You are one-sided. You look only at the opinion of those who are frustrated because they lost elections.”
FM Szijjártó and his Fidesz party dominated April’s election as Hungary experienced record voter turnout (nearly 70%) and the FIDESZ-KDNP (Christian Democrats) coalition garnered a two-thirds majority in parliament, earning them an unprecedented third consecutive term in power.
Overall, 'right wing' parties garnered an astonishing 80% of total votes.
According to a snap analysis conducted by the Nézőpont Institute, FIDESZ-KDNP is the 'strongest political force' across all age demographics in Hungary, increasing its base by approximately 500,000 votes since 2014, indicating that the coalition could continue to win elections for the foreseeable future.