Hungary’s nationalist rightwing leader, Viktor Orbán, has threatened to reintroduce the death penalty, outlawed in the European Union.
The prime minister also reinforced his reputation as the EU’s main maverick with a powerful anti-immigration manifesto that equates migrants with terrorists, says immigrants are taking Hungarians’ jobs, recommends internment camps for illegal immigrants and states they should be forced to work.
A persistent critic of the EU, who holds up Russia’s president Vladimir Putin as a model leader, Orbán responded to the murder of a woman in southern Hungary on Tuesday by calling for the reconsideration of draconian measures banned in the EU, which Hungary joined in 2004.
“The death penalty question should be put on the agenda in Hungary,” he said. “Hungary will stop at nothing when it comes to protecting its citizens.”
Orbán’s Fidesz party is allied with Germany’s governing Christian Democrats and other mainstream centre-right parties in the European parliament. There were calls on Wednesday for it to be expelled from the grouping.
A staunch critic of west European multiculturalism and of immigration, Orbán is also disseminating 8m “questionnaires” in Hungary to claim a mandate for his tough anti-immigration policies.
“Do you agree that economic immigrants endanger the jobs and livelihoods of the Hungarian people?”
“Would you support the government placing illegal immigrants in internment camps?”
“Do you agree with the government that instead of allocating funds to immigration we should support Hungarian families and those children yet to be born?”
“Do you agree that mistaken immigration policies contribute to the spread of terrorism?”
Orbán’s party enjoys a sweeping parliamentary majority but recently lost a byelection to the extreme-right Jobbik party. Analysts say Orbán is seeking to recoup support by veering towards the radical right.