[Marxism] By-election victory marks breakthrough for Hungary’s far-right Jobbik
lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Apr 13 07:34:11 MDT 2015
FT, April 13, 2015 9:56 am
By-election victory marks breakthrough for Hungary’s far-right Jobbik
Andrew Byrne in Budapest
Supporters of Lajos Rig candidate of the oppositional right-wing Jobbik
party celebrate, after a parliamentary by-election in Tapolca, 155 kms
southwest of Budapest, Hungary, Sunday, April 12, 2015. A candidate from
Hungary's far-right Jobbik party is narrowly ahead of a rival from Prime
Minister Viktor Orban's Fidesz party in a parliamentary by-election. If
Sunday's result is confirmed, it would be the second straight defeat for
Fidesz, which lost its two-thirds parliamentary majority in a February
by-election. (AP Photo/MTI, Gyorgy Varga)©AP
Supporters of Lajos Rig celebrate Jobbik's victory in the parliamentary
by-election in Tapolca
Hungary’s radical rightwing Jobbik party scored a narrow victory in a
by-election on Sunday night, marking a breakthrough in its challenge to
the Fidesz party of Viktor Orban, prime minister
With more than 99 per cent of ballots counted, Lajos Rig, Jobbik’s
candidate, topped the poll in the district of Tapolca, with 35.3 per
cent of the vote. Official confirmation of the results is not expected
until 500 ballots cast by Hungarians abroad are counted later in the week.
Although much of the campaign was dominated by local issues, the result
mirrors opinion polls indicating rising national support for Jobbik at
the expense of Fidesz, which has seen its support seep away since it won
re-election last year. The result underscores a wider trend of growing
support for radical populist parties across Europe.
“The mood in Hungary is for a change of government and with Jobbik,
Hungary finally has the force to change the government,” Gabor Vona,
Jobbik’s leader, told supporters celebrating in Tapolca, a western town
near Lake Balaton on Sunday night.
Mr Rig, 41, a healthcare worker, is Tapolca’s deputy mayor. His victory
over Zoltan Fenyvesi, Fidesz’s candidate, comes in the wake of unpopular
government restrictions on Sunday trading and opposition criticism of
its handling of financial scandals at several broker firms.
Fidesz lawmakers had sought to push back against the rising Jobbik tide
by intensifying their attack in the closing stages of the campaign, with
prominent figures comparing the party’s policies to Nazism.
But Mr Vona has led a drive to increase Jobbik’s mainstream appeal and
distance the party from anti-semitic elements — most recently when he
criticised one of his MPs for spitting on a holocaust memorial in
“Desecrating the memory of the dead, the notion of collective guilt and
vulgar acts have no place in Jobbik,” Mr Vona told Magyar Nemzet, a
national newspaper, in March. “This doesn’t mean that we can’t talk
about Hungary’s Jewish community, Israel’s politics or about the Gypsy
problem,” he added.
The party’s attitudes towards Russia have also come under scrutiny since
leading party members acted as official observers at elections held by
pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk in 2014. One of the party’s lawmakers
in the European parliament is awaiting a hearing on allegations of links
to the Russian intelligence services.
In spite of Sunday’s defeat and the party’s slide in opinion polls. Mr
Orban, whose government retains a large majority in parliament, said
last week the result would not affect his party’s mandate.
In a post on his Facebook page on Sunday night, Mr Orban, an
enthusiastic football supporter, thanked Zoltan Fenyvesi, the Fidesz
candidate, for his work before acknowledging disappointment.
“Sometimes the ball hits the post,” he wrote.
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