In Hungary, opponents of Viktor Orban demonstrate around Peter Magyar

A prominent actor in Hungary, Ervin Nagy has abandoned the stages and film studios to parade in the streets

In Hungary, opponents of Viktor Orban demonstrate around Peter Magyar

A prominent actor in Hungary, Ervin Nagy has abandoned the stages and film studios to parade in the streets. Like thousands of other people, he is seized by Magyar fever, named after this dissident who defies Viktor Orban. On Sunday May 5, he took part in a large rally in the city of Debrecen (in the east of the country), stronghold of the nationalist Prime Minister's Fidesz party, one month before the European elections.

In front of tens of thousands of people calling to “drive Orban” from power, Peter Magyar, a former senior civil servant who went into rebellion, welcomed “this Hungarian spring and the wind of change that no one can stop”.

Since his burst onto the political scene in February, he has attracted several celebrities to his side in his fight. Among them, Ervin Nagy wants to believe in the “renewal” of the Central European country and does not miss a single demonstration. He even made his flatbed truck available from which the tribune spoke to the crowd one evening, spontaneously.

“We didn’t have time to find a podium,” says the 47-year-old actor. “It floated like an air of the revolution of 1956,” he ignites, in allusion to the uprising in Hungary against Soviet control. “The time has come for a regime change,” added Krisztian Kovacs, a 29-year-old accountant who came specially from the capital Budapest, to the crowd.

A challenge for Viktor Orban

Not since Viktor Orban's return to power in 2010 has Hungary experienced such a protest movement, according to experts, who speak of an unprecedented challenge for the leader. After the scandal caused by the pardon granted to a man convicted in a child crime case, Peter Magyar was able to capitalize on the anger of the Hungarians. “Apathetic and frustrated” by an indestructible power, “they were suddenly galvanized by the arrival of this sensible and reckless figure,” says Ervin Nagy.

In just three months, he ousted the existing opposition parties, with his conservative discourse attacking the corruption that in his eyes is ruining the country. His Tisza (Respect and Freedom) movement, which claims to be "neither left nor right", is now credited with 25% of voting intentions among voters who are sure of their choice, according to a recent survey carried out by the Median institute. with 1,000 people in preparation for the European vote on June 9.

Its strength, for its supporters: knowing the system from the inside. A long-time diplomat in Brussels, the charismatic 43-year-old lawyer also shared for years the life of Judit Varga, former Minister of Justice, with whom he had three children.

If Viktor Orban brushes aside the arrival of this competitor, his party is “doing its best to nip this wave of protest in the bud,” analyst Zoltan Lakner deciphers. Posters calling him a “servant of Brussels” have sprung up across the country, while pro-government newspapers have published dozens of articles to smear his reputation, from accusations of domestic violence – which he strongly denies – to remarks about her “lady’s sunglasses.”

The fragmented opposition, an obstacle to overcome

A new monitoring authority, created to prevent “foreign interference” in the electoral process, has also launched an investigation against him. “If Magyar manages to unite the voters of the opposition”, today fragmented into several small parties, it could then present a real danger for power, believes political scientist Zoltan Lakner. Even if others judge the movement incapable at this stage of overthrowing the Prime Minister, who has gradually brought the counter-powers into line over fourteen years.

Without letting himself be discouraged, Peter Magyar began a tour of the provinces several weeks ago in order to collect votes, his visit to Debrecen allowing him to confirm his popularity. “We are not afraid,” chanted the crowd, while Ervin Nagy claimed to have been “placed on a blacklist” for having once dared to criticize a member of Fidesz. Hungary has become “a sort of mini-dictatorship”, he asserts. “They don’t beat you to death, but if you speak out against the authorities there will be consequences.”