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Hungary’s ruling party forces postponement on Swedish Nato bid

Hungary’s ruling party Fidesz boycotted the Parliament session on February 5, leading to a postponement of vote on Sweden’s Nato membership.

The move came despite the presence of ambassadors from Nato countries in the parliament gallery.

Turkey’s parliament last month ratified Sweden’s Nato membership after more than a year of delays.

With Turkey ratifying the bid, Hungary remains as the final Nato country that needs to approve Sweden’s entry into the alliance.

Over the past month or so, the US has stepped up its pressure on Hungary to ratify Stockholm’s bid.

For months, the Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán, repeatedly promised his counterparts within Nato that the country would not be the last to sign off on Sweden’s membership.

Hungary has maintained its close ties with Russia, even after Moscow invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

On February 5, out of 199 MPs, only 51 voted on the agenda as almost all members of Orban’s Fidesz-KDNP ruling coalition – except for presiding deputy speaker Sandor Lezsak – stayed away.

Agnes Vadai, an opposition leader, told the AFP that Orban is delaying the vote because of his “personal vanity”.

Vadai accused the premier of making “headlines in the international press, while making a gesture to Russian President Vladimir Putin by undermining the unity of Nato and the EU”.

Meanwhile, the Hungarian government has asked Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson to first visit Budapest before its parliament acts on Stockholm’s bid.

The Swedish government had said that it would be “natural” for him to visit the Hungarian capital following a parliamentary confirmation from Hungary, since there was no need to negotiate bilaterally.

The Parliament is expected to reconvene on February 26 and ratification could take place quickly once it has received Orban’s approval.

Nato membership applications require unanimous ratification by all alliance members.

(The story is being republished courtesy StratNews Global)