P.M. Wins Second Term and Anti-Semites Enjoy Increased Support in Hungarian Election

Credit: Leigh PhillipsCredit: Leigh PhillipsYesterday Hungarians voted in a parliamentary election, and the results are worrying.

Fidesz, the center-right party led by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, is officially projected to win 133 of the 199 seats. Jobbik, a nationalist and anti-Semitic party, won almost 21 percent of the vote, an increase from the election four years ago, and is projected to have 23 seats in parliament.

Last year, Jobbik supported the building of a statue of Miklós Horthy, the Hungarian wartime leader and Hitler ally who passed a range of anti-Semitic laws and allowed hundreds of thousands of Hungarian Jews to be sent to Auschwitz. Protesters, some of whom wore yellow stars, clashed with supporters of the statue when it was presented.

Under Orbán’s leadership, Hungary adopted controversial changes to the constitution that have been criticized for weakening judicial independence, allowing for religious discrimination, and weakening freedom of political speech. Back in 2007, when he was an opposition leader, The Economist awarded Orbán the Politics of the gutter award (jointly shared with then-Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány) for his “cynical populism and mystifyingly authoritarian socialist-style policies.”

The British libertarian Conservative Member of the European Parliament, Daniel Hannan, reminded readers of his blog of Orbán’s most recent predecessor back in 2012:

Developments in Hungary need to be seen in the context of what happened in the 1990s. As in other Communist states, the people best positioned to profit from the transition were often those who had done well under the old system. Ferenc Gyurcsány, who served as prime minister between 2004 and 2009, was typical. He happened to be President of the Communist Youth Organisation when the revolution came, and used the opportunity to sell himself party-owned property, becoming one of the wealthiest men in the country. Other members of the nomenklatura did the same thing, becoming known as the 'red bourgeoisie'.

While it might be the case that Orbán replaced former communists, this does not excuse what Hannan has described as the “autocratic proclivities of the Fidesz regime.”

It is a sad reality that over 60 percent of Hungarians who voted in yesterday’s election backed either a revolting antisemitic party or a party led by a man who has overseen some very worrying erosions of personal liberties. Next month there will be European Parliament elections. Many will be keeping an eye on Jobbik which, as Cas Mudde of the School for Public and International Affairs at the University of Georgia, told Reuters, is one of the most extreme as well as popular of Europe's far-right parties. 

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    How will the elections results affect this story:

    "BUDAPEST, Hungary (JTA) — A Hungarian official said his government is committed to safeguarding religious freedoms, including circumcision and kosher slaughter.

    "Ferenc Kumin, a government spokesman, delivered the assurances Monday at a news conference by Nir Natan, a representative of the Brussels-based European Jewish Association."

    http://www.jta.org/2014/03/25/.....-slaughter

  • sarcasmic||

    You don't understand! Democracy is freedom!

  • Swiss Servator, Frühling!!!||

    STOP LIGHTING THE TONY SIGNAL!

  • Winston||

    Horthy opposed the USG so doesn't that make a hero to Raimondo, Richman and Rockwell? I recall LRC has done its typical "people who don't like Orban are neocon US stooges."

    Huh Feeney called Hannan a libertarian. Does he support gay marriage, the EU, immigration reform? And what did he say about Putin actions in the Ukraine?

  • Not a Libertarian||

    USG?

  • prolefeed||

    Under Orbán’s leadership, Hungary adopted controversial changes to the constitution that have been criticized for weakening judicial independence, allowing for religious discrimination, and weakening freedom of political speech.

    And how would this would be different than the federal government the last twenty or so years?

  • ||

    In order to change the USA Constitution, you have to get it ratified by enough of the states in a limited time period.

    In Hungary, it suffices if you have 2/3rd representation in Parliament, which FIDESz-KDNP (the ruling coalition) managed with less than 53% of the vote in 2010 -- and with less than 45% of the vote yesterday (although the new 2/3rd majority isn't a foregone conclusion yet, just very likely. Because it depends on a single seat and there's a seat where the difference was some 22 votes, which is going to be recounted).

  • Drake||

    Does everyone in Hungary have American or British camo trousers? And is that a man or woman holding the flag?

  • Brett L||

    They got a good deal on the surplus when the US and UK went to digicam.

  • ||

    Maybe they identify as gender-ambiguous.

  • ||

    In most of the rest of the world, wearing military garb of any kind is seen as a political statement.

    I have had friends from latin america visit here and freak out when they go in awl-mart and see all the rednecks wearing camo. They asked me in fearful, hushed tones if those people were revolutionaries.

    "No, just squirrel hunters."

    They were mystified.

  • Restoras||

    But Suthen, proficiency at squirrel hunting is a precursor to effective snipering!!

    Besides everyone knows its the para-military organization known as Boy Scouts we should fear.

  • Almanian!||

    ^^THIS

  • db||

    They are a secretive and heavily armed cabal, for which the numbers 3 and 8 hold special mystical significance. The powerful religious iconography of a small boy urinating on various objects of personal dislike is frequently displayed along with the words of their.simple, yet powerful creed: Git-r-Done."

  • R C Dean||

    How many Jews are left in Hungary, anyway?

    Not that it matters to the principles, but I'm curious.

  • Swiss Servator, Frühling!!!||

    Most of the descendants of the Jews that Soros didn't manage to load into the rail cars?

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Ooh, snap!

    Soros made a good choice by supporting the Dems. Imagine the constant negativity he'd have to put up with from the media if he supported Republicans!

  • ||

    Depending on who does the counting, somewhere between 50,000 and 120,000 which would translate roughly to 0.5% and 1.2% of the population.

  • entropy||

    The British libertarian Conservative Member of the European Parliament, Daniel Hannan,...

    Why doesn't he get smeared by his associations with the dread horrible world-destroying scourge UKIP? He also wants to destroy the EU. He's very friendly with the kippers. How do we square that circle? Dan Hannan is UKIP with a blue lapel, and frequently speculated as one of the most likely Tories to turn UKIP defector, and yet somehow he's libertarian but UKIP are worse than satan and to be feared?

  • Hawk Spitui||

    When you've been reading commentators like Feeney long enough, you start to understand what drives people to vote for parties like Jobbik.

  • Pro Libertate||

    So, is it pre-WWI now or pre-WWII?

  • Restoras||

    Pre-WWIII?

  • Pro Libertate||

    I meant pre-war conditions. I tend to see it more as pre-WWI.

  • db||

    Pre-WWI. We don't have a former major world power currently licking its wounds from foreign military misadventures and trying to shake off a major economic funk....

    ...wait...

  • Restoras||

    Sick Man? Sick-Man? SickMan? Or, Sick, man?

  • Restoras||

    Europe is still anti-Semitic? I'm shocked!

    Authoritian socialism? Isn't that a long winded way of saying fascism?

  • Tim||

    If Hungary goes fascist, so what?

  • Andrew S.||

    Because it's possible to care for people outside of the US?

  • Tim||

    What else you got?

  • Pro Libertate||

    No more goulash?

  • Almanian!||

    I fucking hate goulash. That's a positive for them getting the fuck out of polite society.

  • Winston||

    I hate it when non-interventionists use that line of argument. Is knowledge of foreign countries in of itself pro-war?

    And of course when US allies do something bad then the non-interventionists cry the opposite.

  • Tim||

    We did the Iraqis a lot of good with our caring and concern for their well being.

  • Winston||

    Are you referring to yourself or the neocons?

  • Restoras||

    It might give thier neighbors ideas!

  • ||

    I always thought of europe as having 10,000 tribes all crowded together, jostling for more room, all speaking different languages and hating each other's guts. Nationalism, racism, tribalism, and collectivism seem the natural result of those conditions.

    Anti-Semitism is very bad there because the Jews are more 'other' than all the rest of the europeans in any one groups view. Why the Jews stay there is a mystery to me. Emigrate to Israel or the U.S. already.

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's not just Jews. They hate gypsies, too.

    I say go back to the Carolingian times and retroactively impose primogeniture, thus reuniting a big chunk of Europe into one big nation-state. Then find the rightful heir.

  • Almanian!||

    Well, gypsies - yeah. I mean, you can understand that...

  • ||

    Yeah, gypsies are more 'other' than the jews. Hell, the gypsies are wandering around europe and america because they were hated so much in their native India that they were run out.

  • ||

    It's not just Jews. They hate gypsies, too.

    But they hate them (those who hate them) for different reasons.

    Under communism (or revolutionary socialism, take your pick) there was full employment (meaning "unemployment within the factory gates"). To work wasn't just a "right", but a duty as well: if your ID booklet's employment section wasn't stamped by an employer for more than 3 months, the cops could take you in for "közveszélyes munkakerülés", "avoidance of work which is dangerous to the community". So almost everyone had a job, even if it was make-believe work, including the roughly 16% of the population which is gypsy.

    When the transition to market economy happened in the early Nineties, many large state firms folded. Their employees lost their jobs, and this hit the gypsies the heaviest. Suddenly they weren't occupied with (even make-believe) work; they lost their (not very amazing) income; yet they 'kept' their large number of children, which entitled them to various welfare payments. So their attempted integration into majority society stopped, yet their criminal behavior (mostly stealing) got more visible. So the anti-gipsy sentiment got stronger within majority society.

  • R C Dean||

    Yeah, gypsies are more 'other' than the jews.

    Generally speaking, I'm sure there are many exceptions, you shouldn't judge people collectively, plus whatever other disclaimers you want:

    Gypsies are notably more badly behaved than Jews. I mean, what with the theft, the trespassing, the garbage piles, etc. That might have something to do with it.

  • Almanian!||

    You know, there'd be no anti semitism if it weren't for the Jews. THINK ABOUT IT.

    /JOOZ!

  • ||

    I am stealing that.

  • R C Dean||

    I tend to believe that, if the Jews didn't exist, the anti-semites would have invented them.

  • ChrisO||

    Viktor Orban would make a great name for a Bond villain.

  • creech||

    How nice that the U.S. is in bed with these guys through NATO.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement