Czech PM Andrej Babiš received his Hungarian counterpart in September 2021, days before the elections. But Orbán’s political touch is a proven kiss of death.
It may not be one of Babiš’ better moves to receive Orbán publicly, especially so close to a tight election. One would think Babiš would be tipped off by the relentless protests against Orbán in Prague (gotta love the Czech people!) even if he hadn’t heard of the Orbán-curse. But apparently he wasn’t forewarned.
There are countless examples of politicians meeting Orbán and losing power – often completely out of the blue.
Alexander Lukashenko – 2 months before unrest began
In June 2020 Lukashenko received Orbán with the warmest welcome in Minsk. The two strongmen really got cozy, called each other the warmest names. In August 2020, Lukashenko’s power was shaken after he cheated more than usual at the elections. The saga continues, Lukashenko is clinging to power and selling his country to Putin. That, too, they have in common with Orbán, albeit to a different degree.
Sooronbay Jeenbekov, president of Kyrgyzstan – days before election unrest and resignation
In late September 2020 Orbán received Jeenbekov in Budapest. In October 2020, Jeenbekov resigned following unrest over the parliamentary elections on 4 October.
Donald Trump – 5 months before election defeat
In May 2019 Orbán finally managed to get the coveted meeting with US president Donald Trump. Five months later, in November 2019, Trump lost the reelection. He was to date the highest profile victim of the Orbán curse.
David Cameron – 4 months before his resignation
In January 2016, David Cameron visited Orbán to garner support for his EU-deal in the run-up to the Brexit-referendum. Orbán assured him of his support, even bought a full-page ad in The Daily Mail to support Cameron and “Remain”. 4 months later Cameron lost the referendum and was forced to resign.
Orbán has also visited Boris Johnson in May 2021, but they didn’t get along – judged by the hate and fury Orbánist social media warriors have been spitting at Johnson ever since. That might be Johnson’s saving grace against the curse.
Silvio Berlusconi – 12 days before his resignation
In 2011 Berlusconi was forced to resign as Italian prime minister after a vote of no confidence. To quote Wikipedia, “The popularity of this decision was reflected in the fact that while he was resigning crowds sang the hallelujah portion of Handel’s “Messiah”; there was also dancing in the streets outside the Quirinal Palace… As he arrived at the presidential residence, a hostile crowd gathered with banners insulting Berlusconi and throwing coins at the car. After his resignation, the booing and jeering continued as he left in his convoy, with the public shouting words such as “buffoon”, “dictator” and “mafioso.””
To be fair, the friendship and mentorship relation between Berlusconi and Orbán went way back and they must have met a lot. Still, the eerie chill of the Orbán-curse is all two apparent in the story of Berlusconi’s political exit.
Hosni Mubarak of Egypt – 2 days before protests for his removal
On the 23rd of January 2011 Orbán visited the Egyptian president. Two days later Egyptian revolution began and after 18 days of protests Mubarak resigned, got imprisoned and later tried. On 2 June 2012, an Egyptian court sentenced Mubarak to life imprisonment. After retrials and some health issues Mubarak was finally released in March 2017 and died on in February 2020.
Andrius Kubilius of Lithuania – 2 days before a surprise election defeat
On 25 September 2012 Lithuanian PM Andrius Kubilius received Orbán. Within 48 hours he suffered a massive election defeat – which is all the more surprising because he was regarded a pretty good prime minister.
Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia – 3 days before his surprise election defeat
Orbán visited Saakashvili in 2012, just 3 days before the Georgian president suffered a devastating loss at elections due to a freshly leaked scandal. After the election defeat he was forced to leave Georgia and found sanctuary through political friends such as Orbán.
Sultan bin Abdulaziz – 2 weeks before his death
Yanukovich met Orbán multiple times before the Ukrainian parliament removed him and he ended up tried and convicted. Orbán once called Yanukovich the stabilizer of the region. At least that explains what has happened since.
Robert Fico of Slovakia – 3 days before surprise election defeat after winning the first round
March, 2014. Viktor Orbán and Robert Fico symbolically tightened screws in the newly opened gas pipeline linking Slovakia and Hungary. Before the meeting Fico won the first round of elections comfortably. But 3 days after tightening screws with Orbán, he lost the second round to everyone’s surprise.
Heinz-Christian Strache Austrian vice chancellor has been received by Orbán in May 2019 – days before his infamous Ibiza tapes were leaked and he had to resign. In the leaked video Strache goes into great detail how great Orbán’s grip on the media is and how he wants the same – arranged by the same front man Orbán used.
There is one world leader on whom Orbán’s curse doesn’t seem to work though. But not for the lack of trying.
There is also a list of Fidesz presidents who bring the touch of political death with their meetings.
Muammar Gaddafi – OK, it wasn’t Orbán himself, but his sport mascot and dyslexic President, Pál Schmitt, who visited the Libyan dictator the year before revolution toppled and eventually killed him.
Pál Schmitt also met German president Christian Wulff in March 2011 – six months before Wulff found himself in a scandal for a loan from a millionaire and the threatening a journalist. He resigned in February 2012.
Schmitt himself had to resign (at long last) for plagiarizing his thesis. It wasn’t an easy battle, Orbán really didn’t want to let him go. But his successor, János Áder continued his work.
Áder met Czech president Václav Klaus in September 2011 in New York. Three days later Klaus was shot at with a toy gun by some idiot. Áder also met Boris Šprem, the president or the Croatian parliament three months before Boris Šprem’s death.
Featured image: Andrej Babis’ Facebook (2018)
UPDATE 9/10/2021– A few days after Babiš met Orbán the Pandora papers scandal happened and Babiš unexpectedly lost the elections. On the same day Sebastian Kurz, Orbán’s close ally was forced to resign due to a corruption scandal.