Hungarian elections and Jobbik constant topic in foreign press

As the elections are coming in Hungary, foreign press writes more and more about the struggle between the ruling Fidesz party and the strongest opposition force Jobbik, and also with the latter’s new policy of reaching the middle of the society.

According to Deutsche Welle, while “Fidesz now hold much of the far right end of the political spectrum”, Jobbik is successfully approaching toward the center of the political spectrum. The German site also mentioned Fidesz’s hysterising campaign against George Soros, which led to bizarre events, such as when Fidesz lawmaker Janos Pocs posted a photo of a slain pig on his Facebook page, with Soros’s name carved in its skin. (Hungary Journal has also extensively covered this story).

Deutsche Welle stressed that “the hateful rhetoric used by the majority of the government’s representatives borders on right-wing extremist propaganda and has become a part of everyday life for Hungarians.” “In light of the fact that elections will be held in April of next year, one can only assume that things will get even worse over the coming months,” the article adds.

The author notes that political roles in Hungary have been reversed: Jobbik Chairman Gabor Vona led his party to the center of the spectrum, while Viktor Orban’s party moved to the far right. The author also mentions that Orban also likes to hurl nasty homophobic slurs at Gabor Vona, instead of maintaining a civilised public debate.

Gabor Vona told Deutsche Welle that he used to be skeptical about liberal democracy, Orban’s anti-democratic transformation of Hungary has provided an important lesson for him and his party.

The homepage of Switzerland’s Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen published a lengthy article about Jobbik’s chairman and prime ministerial candidate, entitled “Attack from the right: This man wants to topple Orban”. Jobbik’s chairman spoke about his political goals, his party’s policy of becoming a people’s party and chances at the elections next year.

Summarising his ars poetica, Vona said:

“In case there is “Vonaism”, it’s focused on one question: how can we make policies to ensure that the majority of the people can live well and safely in their own homelands and start a family?”

Swiss Neue Zürcher Zeitung also focused on the Jobbik-Fidesz struggle. According to the newspaper Viktor Orban’s actions show that he definitely considers Gabor Vona’s party his main challenger. According to the article, months before the elections Fidesz’s victory seems undoubtable, polls show that the party might even have the two-third majority needed for amending the constitution; but Orban has one weak point: the miraculous enrichment of people close to him. The article stresses that Vona has purposefully positioned his party to the center of the political spectrum, took the role of the leader of the opposition, and it’s not possible to replace the government without Jobbik.

In Austrian conservative Die Presse Boris Kalnoky wrote that it’s rumoured in Budapest that Orban himself told Vona that he’ll be finished; this is why the pro-Fidesz press is systematically slurring Jobbik’s chairman. The author noted that leftists and liberal think that Jobbik is the force that can replace Orban.

Recently, Hungarian social scientist and former vice-president of the Central European University, Istvan Teplan wrote an op-ed for Die Presse about Jobbik’s journey to become a people’s party. He wrote that Jobbik made a real political shift, it wants to be an inclusive movement, without which there is no change of government in Hungary.

“What poses a bigger threat: the cementing of a Peronist Orban-regime in Russia’s shadow, or Jobbik in government as part of a coalition?”

Teplan asked. He wrote that Jobbik has completely changed its attitude toward Brussels, and is building international relations for establishing a better European Union. In contrast to Orban’s anti-Brussels freedom fight, Jobbik could accept even a closer Union with stronger competences, if it serves Hungary’s interests.

Hungary Journal
Photo: MTI

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