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Hungarian opposition group asks EU to safeguard democracy after prime minister's speech

An opposition group says it will ask the European Union to step up its oversight of democracy in Hungary after the prime minster said he wants to transform the country from a liberal democracy into an "illiberal state."

Viktor Szigetvari, co-chairman of the E14-PM alliance, said Tuesday that the group wants to draw the attention of the incoming European Commission, the bloc's executive body, to the "constantly deteriorating quality of Hungarian democracy," especially concerning press freedoms and non-governmental groups.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Saturday that the 2008 financial crisis showed that liberal democracies would no longer remain competitive and pointed to Singapore, China and Russia as successful role models.

He also said that "paid political activists" in civic groups financed from abroad were working against Hungarian interests.