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A tale of two Orbáns

In our continuous quest to serve you, dear reader, we are now going to help you avoid confusion or, worse, a grave mistake in the future.

Those not particularly knowledgeable about East-Central Europe have a penchant for making an all too common mistake: confusing the Hungarian capital Budapest with the Romanian capital Bucharest. While this is understandably annoying for both countries and nations, it also stands among the few things in which the two neighbors tend to wholeheartedly agree in their dislike.

And just possibly, the situation may get a lot worse. Following a government crisis there, a certain Romanian politician named Ludovic Orban is about to form a new government in Bucharest. If approved by parliament – the chances of which remain unclear – this would lead to a state of affairs where there would be a prime minister named Orban in Bucharest and yes, as you know another named Orbán in Budapest. What a difference an accent mark makes.

Life, in its unpredictability, also chose to play yet another joke on you: both Orbans have a Hungarian father and the two politicians were born only five days apart in May 1963 (Orban on the 25th and Orbán on the 31st). But this is where the similarities end. Orbán is the longest-standing conservative head of government in the entire region, with over 13 years of premiership under his belt, while Orban is a liberal whose highest position so far was a brief stint as minister of Transport in 2007-2008.

To simplify things: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is the one pictured on the left, while Ludovic Orban is seen on the right, contrary to their respective political leanings.

We sincerely hope that Polish journalist and one-time political figure Jerzy Urban won’t run for office there. He already did so once, back in 1989 during the semi-free Polish parliamentary elections and suffered what only can be described as a landslide defeat.

 

Author: Dénes Albert