Following Hungary’s latest election we are met with the somewhat chilling news that Jobbik, Hungary’s far right party, often labelled as “neo-Nazis”, “fascists” and “anti-Semites” have won over the public’s favour, winning second place in all but one of Hungary’s counties and gaining control of 14 towns and cities.
Whilst Viktor Orban (Hungary’s prime minister) managed to maintain domination of the Hungarian vote, with his party Nationalist Fidesz maintaining majority, Jobbik has secured a two thirds majority in the national parliament which has led to Jobbik leader Gaber Vona making the bold claim that by 2018 “Jobbik will govern this country”.
Jobbik are infamous for their anti-Semitic and homophobic policies, with members of their party being linked to claims such as “anti-Semitism is not just our right, but it is the duty of every Hungarian homeland lover and we must prepare for armed battle against the Jews” (The trade union of Hungarian police officers) and they have even attempted to implement a law in April 2012 criminalising the popularisation of “sexual relations- deviancy – with another person of the same sex”, suggesting a three to five year imprisonment for anyone found to be practicing homosexuality in public. Again, like the horrific homophobic laws being implemented by Putin’s Russia, Jobbik take a similar approach, synonymising homosexuality with paedophilia and thus demonising homosexuality as a criminal act.
Jobbik, who promise “a principled, conservative and radically patriotic Christian party” have managed to secure such a high percentage of public votes by softening their public image recently and appealing to the large rural regions of Hungary who typically have a devout anti-Roma mentality. Romany gypsies are often seen in Hungary as the cause of petty crimes across rural regions yet these crimes are often left unprosecuted by the police. Jobbik’s 2009 election slogan even went as far as claiming “Hungary belongs to the Hungarians” and the party have expressed such extreme anti-Semitic and anti-Roma policies that in March of this year, Romanian president Traian Basescu asked the Romanian government and parliament to ban Jobbik members from Romania.
A recent opinion poll conducted across Hungary revealed that Jobbik is currently the most popular party among voters under 35 and it appears that Jobbik’s electoral success shows no signs of slowing down. This can only be a worry for the European Union as the trend of extremist, right wing parties gaining popularity shows no sign of stopping. With increased popularity of Putin’s extremist rule in Russia, the Golden Dawn of Greece, France’s National Front and now Hungary’s Jobbik the pattern seems all too familiar. Whilst the poor political climate of the 1910s to the 1930s saw extreme right wing parties gain popularity by unifying Europe with their anti-Semitic policies, it seems that the current climate of economic crisis and increased cynicism amongst young people towards their own governments has caused an increased interest in the extreme right wing parties of Europe who are catalysing their popularity by playing into an atmosphere of Islamaphobia and anti-immigration. Unless something is done to tackle the current blame culture and racially motivated hatred, such parties will only gain popularity as time goes on.