Thomas von Ahn

(b.1976) is a researcher at the Centre for Hungarian Studies in the Finno-Ugric/Uralic Institute at the University of Hamburg.


On the aims of discourse

A response to György Schöpflin

In November 2006, Eurozine published an article by Thomas von Ahn analyzing the causes of the violent demonstrations in Hungary the previous month. Among other things, von Ahn argued that Hungarian opposition (Fidesz) leader Viktór Orban was operating a populist strategy that sought to undercut parliamentary procedures. György Schöpflin, MEP for Hungary (Fidesz-EPP), responded that von Ahn was uncritically reproducing the spin-doctoring of the Hungarian Left. Now, Thomas von Ahn defends his original position and asks what a constructive discourse about Hungary’s recent past would look like.

Democracy or the street?

Fragile stability in Hungary

In September 2006, Hungary was shaken by a partly violent wave of demonstrations. The trigger was a speech by Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány, in which he admitted knowingly playing down the national debt in the run-up to the elections. The protests against Gyurcsány and the austerity policy he introduced in summer 2006 marked the culmination of a conflict between political camps. The rightwing conservative camp, which has been in the opposition since 2002, increasingly seems to be calling the parliamentary system into question. The rift between the camps is exacerbated by disputes over the past that conceal fundamental differences in national politics. What follows is a summary of the German original.

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