Budapest Telegraph

Jobbik's surge baffles pundits

Wednesday Jul 15, 2015

editor | Source: Mozgó Világ

Fact: in 2014 Jobbik won 11.5 percent at the parliamentary elections, 14.7 percent at the elections for European Parliament and has 8 mayors. It leaves analysts agape why. We carry excerpts from the transcript of a brutally candid round table discussion of noted social scientists.

“It’s not the really underprivileged who support Jobbik, mind you; those on the margins are outside of the political process, but those at the median of all possible indicators and typically living in provincial towns. They tend to be young and have a secondary school certificate.

“You’ve asked me about the cause of the success of Jobbik. There’s no success to speak of; what we should speak of is the failure of the other players in the political arena, because most of what Jobbik does is reacting to what others do.

“Since 2010 Fidesz has created European living standards for 1 million Hungarians and has started writing off the remaining 9 million. Certain strata of society have already been ‘eliminated from the books’ while others feel their social standing endangered. It’s this sense of living under threat that is so badly affecting the middle strata.

“Fidesz’s scandals and the about-face of Lajos Simicska [billionaire, Orbán’s former buddy] have fed Jobbik’s camp.

“Jobbik’s ranks have also been strengthened by the Left–Liberals’ utter inaptitude.

“Jobbik has become deeply embedded in Hungarian society. It reaches all its potential supporters. They leave no stone unturned to go door to door – and that’s a novelty in Hungary.

 

 

“There’s a segment of Hungary that’s below the radar of Hungarian urbanites: the mundane, day-to-day problems of the inhabitants of the middle-of-nowhere rural localities. Until five years ago – 20 years into transition! – no politician had ever really cared for their complaints. Enter Jobbik: it is ready to (try to) help even if the complainants cannot define their problems in a politically correct manner. Jobbik can effectively tune in to the complaints of the rural middle class.

“Jobbik is keen on building its local network, and it involves persons who can sell their policies efficiently. Jobbik focuses on the villages’ opinion leaders, like family doctors, and on young people.

“Rural voters have noticed that, unlike the parties on the Left, Jobbik is not weakened by internal conflicts. The man-in-the-street thinks: why should I trust a divided party?

“In many parts of Hungary Jobbik is not seen as a party – even though that’s what it is – but as an opposition movement, an organization of resisters. Now, if anyone, only a resister can beat another resister.”

The speakers at the discussion included György Csepeli, one of Hungary’s most renowned sociologists and Attila Juhász, senior analyst of the Political Capital Institute

See the whole Hungarian transcript here and in the June 2015 issue of the print edition of the monthly.



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