Reuters: Jobbik’s newly moderate tone appeals to many voters

According to a lengthy article by Reuters, Hungary’s strongest opposition party Jobbik is set to win more votes in the April elections after its “shift to the center-ground”.

“As Jobbik has steadily abandoned far-right views on Europe, immigration and other issues, Orban’s ruling Fidesz party has moved sharply to the right with talk of preserving Hungary’s ‘ethnic homogeneity’ and comparing the EU to the Soviet Union”, Reuters writes.

The article stresses that “Jobbik’s newly moderate tone appeals to many voters”. “We are not afraid of Orban,” Jobbik chairman Gabor Vona said at the party’s rally in March 15. “The outgoing premier will be relegated to the dark pages of history. After 8 April, he will fall.”

“I expect Jobbik to deliver a surprise result compared to the opinion polls, with a much stronger, better result at the elections,”

said Tamas Boros, a political analyst at the Policy Solutions think-tank. “That does not mean it would win the elections or that the government would be replaced, but Jobbik will visibly become by far the strongest opposition party.” Boros said Jobbik could attract many undecided voters, who account for about another third of the electorate.

The article reminds that while “under Orban, annual economic growth has returned to around 4 percent in recent years, the EU and human rights groups accuse him of undermining media freedoms and judicial independence and steering Hungary toward authoritarianism”.

Jobbik MP Marton Gyongyosi told Reuters he was “horrified” by how Fidesz had adopted elements of his party’s former program and pushed them to an extreme. He called Orban’s anti-Soros campaign “insane”.

“You might oppose many things George Soros stands for, including liberal ideology or liberal social theory, but you cannot have this type of hate campaign against an individual or against an ideology,”

Gyongyosi said.

“This is the first election where we can put the whole new strategy and paradigm shift of this party to the real test,” he said. “It is a huge test for Jobbik.” “There are technical opportunities there to (beat) Fidesz in a national election as well,” Gyongyosi said. “We just have to find a way to do it.”

Source: Hungary Journal/Reuters

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