George Soros has accused the Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán of building a “mafia state”, as he warned the fate of the Central European University he founded still hangs in the balance.
Michael Ignatieff is not a person you would expect to find at the centre of a global political power play featuring names such as Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.
He was the rangy intellectual presenter on late night TV arts shows of the early 1990s in the UK, who looked like he might moonlight in an experimental jazz band.
On April 4, Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban scored a victory in his campaign against Western-backed institutions and companies when the parliament gave him the O.K. to shutter Central European University (CEU) in Budapest.
The move helps Orban tighten his grip on power and may well spell the end for CEU, a prestigious and financially independent institution funded by Hungarian-born George Soros, a U.S. financier who has given heavily to liberal causes around the globe.
In Budapest, tens of thousands of people, mainly students, marched in protest at the treatment of CEU on consecutive weekends in April. But Orban won’t be inclined to back down. His growing control of Hungary’s traditional media ensures favorable coverage for the government and few opportunities for the fragmented opposition to make its case.
Pressure is mounting on Hungary’s right-wing government after it adopted a law that would effectively shut down Central European University, an institution founded by the Hungarian-American philanthropist George Soros shortly after the fall of Communism.
An American official and a United Nations expert on Tuesday joined European Union officials in expressing grave concern about the law, which was rushed through Parliament by the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
Tens of thousands of protesters poured into the streets of Budapest on Sunday to urge President Janos Ader not to sign the law, but on Monday he did just that.