Hungary Passes Law Targeting Soros University

Hungarian lawmakers from Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party approved a law that could force a university founded by financier George Soros out of the country despite a protest against the plan in Budapest and condemnation abroad. The legislation passed with 123 votes in favor and 38 against, while 38 deputies did not vote. Voting was briefly interrupted by the sound of a siren blaring from a megaphone held up by an independent lawmaker in protest.

Addressing parliament before the vote, Orban’s human affairs minister said institutions backed by Soros were trying to undermine Hungary’s government by “averting democratic rules”.

The bill passed despite days of protests (sponsored by Soros’ very own Open Society according to some skeptics) and culminates a conflict that’s become emblematic of concerns that “liberal democracy” according to Bloomberg, or at least George Soros’ influence, is in retreat in the eastern European nation.

On Friday, Prime Minister Viktor Orban, a staunch critic of Soros and his various liberal civil organizations said the Central European University had violated regulations in awarding its diplomas, an allegation the college firmly rejected. Parliament, where Orban’s party has a commanding majority, approved the bill tightening regulation on foreign universities on Tuesday, the same day legislators had the first chance to debate it. Ruling-party lawmakers on late Monday amended the bill, tightening deadlines for universities to meet new regulations. The bill modifies rules regulating the 28 foreign universities in Hungary.

Orban has regularly blamed the Hungarian-born billionaire investor and philanthropist, who also funds organizations that seek to promote human rights and government transparency, for trying to undermine him. Read more>>>

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