Hungarian Opinion: Showdown After Infighting Within Jobbik

  • 25 May 2020 8:17 AM
  • BudaPost
Hungarian Opinion: Showdown After Infighting Within Jobbik
Right-wing commentators explain the infighting within the formerly radical right-wing party as a direct consequence of the shift toward moderation it embarked upon 5 years ago, under founding leader Gábor Vona.

The Jobbik parliamentary group called on Andrea Varga Damm, a leading member, to give up her mandate after upon her suggestion Jobbik MPs cast an embarrassing ‘yes’ vote in favour of a bill giving sweeping surveillance powers to the authorities in charge of fighting cybercrime.

In another move, they urged former party chairman Tamás Sneider to step down as deputy speaker of Parliament. Both refused to comply, which may compel their fellow MPs to expel them from the party group.

In Magyar Hírlap, Dániel Kacsoh believes that by ‘decimating the remnants of his party’, Jobbik chairman Péter Jakab is only completing a process launched by Gábor Vona in 2015 – rebranding a movement ‘which once used fascist symbols into a liberal platoon’.

He finds it ironic that former skinhead Sneider, whose past activities and views triggered vehement protest by the left six years ago when he became deputy speaker, must now quit under the pressure of autocratic party leaders, ‘rather than some antifa campaign’.

Kacsoh assures his pro-government readers that he doesn’t feel sorry for the losers of the Jobbik infighting. The lesson he draws from the case is that it would be a mistake to take seriously the accusations of authoritarianism levelled by Jobbik against the government.

On Mandiner, Gellért Rajcsányi wishes Jobbik had never appeared on the political scene at all. During the first decade of the new millennium, when as he sees it, the country was misgoverned by successive left-liberal cabinets, Jobbik gained strength as a representative of a new generation and of the masses losing out as a result of misguided government policies.

Unfortunately, he continues, they used extreme right-wing rhetoric to express popular dissatisfaction, which contributed to the deep divisions in politics in Hungary.

All the more so, since by the end of that decade, Jobbik was supported by almost 20 per cent of the electorate. In a surprising shift around 2015, Rajcsányi explains, party chairman Gábor Vona steered the party towards the centre, hoping to become the strongest political force by the 2018 elections.

When his hopes failed to materialise, he resigned from the party and from public life, and occasionally comments on public events in video-blogs. Since then, Jobbik’s right wing has seceded, while the remaining MPs continuously attempt to cleanse their ranks.

The actual role they play in politics now, Rajcsányi suggests, is to help former Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány, the most unpopular politician in the country, become Prime Minister again. They have become, he concludes, Gyurcsány’s ‘useful idiots’.

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