Road to Kossuth Square #2 – Why is Christianity so important in Hungarian politics?

Hungarians will go to the polls on April 3 to decide who will represent them in parliament for the next 4 years. Every week leading up to the election, in our Road to Kossuth Square podcast, we discuss and analyze the issues dominating Hungarian politics and the most recent campaign events.

In this episode we discuss the relationship between Hungarian politics, Christianity and the Church. The country’s current prime minister, Viktor Orbán, places great importance on Christianity as part of his politics. In 2019 he said, “The goal of illiberal democracy is Christian freedom and the defense of Christian freedom. Illiberalism strives to protect Christian freedom and aims to defend all that liberals neglect, forget and despise.

Meanwhile, opposition candidate for prime minister Péter Márki-Zay is a devout Catholic who says he was a Christian long before Viktor Orbán. He recently ended his speech at a demonstration in solidarity with Ukraine with a prayer in which he called on the gathered demonstrators to join. How did Christianity come to play such an important role in the politics of Hungary, one of the least religious countries in Europe?

We discuss it with Alex Faludy, a freelance journalist, whom Ábel Bede joins in Záhony, a town just on the border between Hungary and Ukraine. They also discuss the refugee situation at the border and the reaction of Hungarian politicians to developments over the past week.

Road to Kossuth Square is a limited series hosted by Kafkadesk’s Budapest office manager, Ábel Bede. Each episode will focus on an issue that has influenced Hungarian politics over the past decade as well as the most important campaign events of the respective week.

In our first episode, we discussed Hungary’s foreign policy and the country’s relationship with the EU and the V4. We also talked about the reaction of Fidesz, the United Opposition and the Hungarian public to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Our guest was foreign policy journalist and V4 specialist Gergő Illés, who contributes to the Hungarian-language European affairs newsletter, Gemist.

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