Right-Wing Extremism in Hungary


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Right-Wing Extremism in Hungary

  1. 1. Right-wing extremism and populism in Hungary Tamás BOROS, Policy Solutions January 2014
  2. 2. Extreme right in Hungary
  3. 3. Main reasons of the rise of the far-right in Hungary I. • Growing tensions between rural non-Roma and Roma segments of the population. Romas: 5-6% of total Hungarian population, more than 10% in Eastern Hungary – in extreme poverty • A relatively large part of the society is open to far-right ideals – 48% of Hungarian population is open to prejudices • On the whole, Hungarian society is considerably more right-wing than it used to be in the 1990s – 20%->50%
  4. 4. Main reasons of the rise of the far-right in Hungary II. • Widespread popular disappointment with the entire political elite and the results of the regime transition • The established left collapsed with the Hungarian Socialist Party losing over half of its voters between 2006 and 2010. Many disillusioned voters were up for grabs • A growing economic and social crisis since 2008. Increasing poverty, especially in Eastern Hungary
  5. 5. Economic crisis
  6. 6. Main reasons of the rise of the far-right in Hungary III. The supply side strengthened as Jobbik engaged in intense organisation building in 2006 • • Jobbik was extremely successful in establishing local party units and recruiting party members • A key of the initial success was the establishment of the Hungarian Guard in 2007 and the exploitation of widespread anti-Roma sentiments • An alternative media network was built up by Jobbik (websites, weekly newspaper, free tabloid)
  7. 7. Jobbik’s ideological profile and public policy priorities - I • Anti-communism and the rejection of post-communist MSZP and its liberal ally SZDSZ • A strong commitment to law and order • The appropriation of the Roma issue, fight against “gypsy crime” •Anti-establishment rhetoric
  8. 8. Jobbik’s ideological profile and public policy priorities - II • The „new” party • Nationalism • Left-wing economic policy • Anti-globalisation sentiment • Strong euroscepticism
  9. 9. Who are Jobbik’s voters? I. • Strong territorial concentration, but more than a “regional party” – Jobbik’s strongholds are the constituencies in NorthEastern Hungary, but has support everywhere in the country • Income is not significantly correlated to support for Jobbik • Jobbik’s support is the highest among the youth and is extremely weak among pensioners
  10. 10. Who are Jobbik’s voters? II. • Jobbik suffers from a vast gender gap – „machoparty” • Most Jobbik voters are not religious • Elite-surveys prove that Jobbik’s political elite is more radical than its voter base – just the contrary to the European trends
  11. 11. Jobbik’s impact on mainstream parties – I. • The governing party Fidesz has realised a number of policies and symbolic gestures that were in Jobbik’s election manifesto but had never figured in Fidesz’ programmes or communication: i.Fight against multinational companies ii.Fight against the EU iii.Fight against „liberal” culture •The Hungarian Socialist Party for its part sees itself under pressure in the Jobbik bastion of North-Eastern Hungary, which was previously a socialist stronghold
  12. 12. Jobbik’s impact on mainstream parties – II. • Helmut Kohl’s advise to Viktor Orbán: No one should stand on your right •Viktor Orbán is in „opposition” even in government •Fidesz-Jobbik: potential coaliton?
  13. 13. Counterstrategies How to handle extremism? Exclusion (cordon sanitaire) or inclusion? „Demand-side” and/or „supply side? Positive regional discrimination Democracy programmes Community programmes Questioning competency Training for journalists Field work for the mainstream parties
  14. 14. Thank you for your attention! Contact: Tamás BOROS tamas.boros@policysolutions.hu www.policysolutions.hu/en