Hungary's ruling party quits Europe’s center-right bloc

Photo: EPA PM Viktor Orban

Hungary’s governing Fidesz party of PM Viktor Orban on Thursday submitted a letter of resignation from its center-right European political family, bringing an end to years of conflict within the group over Hungary’s record on democratic values and the rule of law, news wires reported.

The letter, released in a tweet by a vice-president of the ruling Fidesz party, Katalin Novak, declared that Fidesz “no longer wishes to maintain its membership in the European People’s Party,” and that it would resign its place in the conservative political family. “It’s time to say goodbye,” Novak wrote in the tweet.

EPP Chief Donald Tusk immediately retorted: “FIDESZ has left Christian Democracy. In truth, it left many years ago.”

The right-wing Fidesz’s departure from the EPP was largely a formality. It quit the EPP’s caucus in the European Parliament two weeks ago after the conservative group held a vote that would make it easier to expel Fidesz members.

Its membership in the EPP has been suspended since 2019 over concerns that it was eroding the rule of law in Hungary, engaging in anti-Brussels rhetoric and attacking the EPP leadership.

Many within the EPP had pushed for the expulsion of Fidesz, arguing it had strayed from its fundamental values concerning democracy and the rule of law.

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