Seven United States politicians including Senator John McCain said during a visit to Budapest in January that Hungary can prove its commitment to democracy by having respected, objective international groups observe the voting in the election on 6 April.
The senators and congressmen who met Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, said they understand the concerns about the state of democracy in Hungary that have been raised by people both inside and outside of the country. Some of these concerns are very serious, they said. The concerns need to be resolved democratically, by Hungarians, and the country’s democratic institutions, its checks and balances and rule of law, need to be strong enough to support that process.
The delegation said the United States and the rest of the free world have an abiding interest in Hungary’s continued development as a strong, inclusive and tolerant democracy, with a free market economy, an independent judiciary and a free media. “It is our hope that Hungary’s upcoming election will demonstrate the vibrancy, competitiveness and fairness of Hungarian democracy,” they said. “And there is no better way for the world to witness and affirm that expression of democracy than by having respected, objective international groups present to observe the vote.”
The bipartisan group of members from the US Senate and Congress comprised McCain, who was the Republican presidential nominee of 2008, Senators Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Chris Murphy of Connecticut, and Congressmen Bill Keating of Massachusetts, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, Mike Pompeo of Kansas and Ted Deutch of Florida. They also met members of the opposition.
The group said they had assured both Orbán and the opposition that the US remains Hungary’s committed ally and friend. America was proud to have supported Hungary every step of the way on its democratic journey, from the heady days of 1989, through its accession to NATO and the EU, to the challenges of the present.
They had discussed with the prime minister and the opposition many common foreign policy interests, including a commitment to consolidating democracy in the Balkans, integrating Ukraine into Europe, fostering a free and peaceful Afghanistan, and deepening security cooperation in NATO, especially on counter-terrorism. “We also expressed our hope that Hungary will address its energy security needs in ways that further diversify Europe’s supply of energy.”
The US appreciated Hungary’s willingness to play a leadership role on behalf of international peace and security, they said, and together the two countries supported a more democratic, secure and prosperous future, not just in Europe but beyond.
“…a strong democratic Hungary is the best, most effective partner for the United States and our NATO allies. Now more than ever, at this time of great upheaval, and amid a growing global outcry for democratic values, the world needs Hungary’s leadership and its good example. Your friends are counting on you… “
They said Hungary’s Parliament building is one of the most beautiful monuments to freedom and democracy anywhere in the world.