Twenty years have gone by since the passing away of Hungary’s first democratically elected Prime Minister József Antall, but his legacy still exerts an influence on today’s Hungary.
At the memorial meeting held in the upper house of Parliament today to mark the 20th anniversary of József Antall’s death, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in his speech that the institutions of Hungary’s parliamentary democracy were strengthened thanks to Antall’s devoted efforts, who undertook the task to wake Hungary from “the daze of the Kadar era”.
Hungary was described as the “happiest barrack” in the Socialist bloc, whereas in reality people were taught to neglect politics and wider thinking, Prime Minister Orbán said, adding that Antall’s premiership had meant the beginning of a new era in Hungary.
The commemorative meeting organised by the National Heritage Institute, the Foundation for a Civic Hungary and the József Antall Society, was attended by key figures in political and social life, including President János Áder, Speaker of Parliament László Kövér, former German Minister-President and Honorary President of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation Bernhard Vogel, former Prime Minister Péter Boross, members of the Government, the diplomatic corps and church representatives.
On the occasion of the anniversary, József Antall was also praised by Hungarian American Coalition President Maximilian Teleki, who said that the United States and Hungary became linked forever during his premiership and the leaders in both countries must remember this today.
In May 1990, following the first multiparty free elections, the new Parliament elected József Antall as Prime Minister, who amongst his first measures initiated Hungary’s exit from the Warsaw Pact. Hungary was the first post-Communist country to become a member of the Council of Europe and József Antall was the first Hungarian Prime Minister to visit Israel.
Prime Minister’s Office
13 December 2013