Gábor Vona

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Gábor Vona
Vona Gabor.jpg
Chairman of the Jobbik
Incumbent
Assumed office
25 November 2006
Preceded by Dávid Kovács
Personal details
Born (1978-08-20) 20 August 1978 (age 35)
Gyöngyös, Hungary
Nationality Hungarian
Political party Jobbik
Residence Óbuda, Budapest, Hungary
Occupation Politician
Profession History teacher

Gábor Vona (born as Gábor Zázrivecz on 20 August 1978) is a Hungarian politician and the leader of the Hungarian nationalist political party Jobbik since 2006.

Early life and family[edit]

He was born on 20 August 1978 in Gyöngyös. He studied history and psychology at the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest.

According to Vona's biography,[1] the family's name was originally Vona but Gábor's grandfather, also called Gábor, died in World War II in Russia and his grandmother got married to a Zázrivecz who adopted Gábor's father. So he took back his original family name. The name change occurred when he was in college. According to Gábor Vona, the Vona surname came from his Italian paternal ancestors, while he has also Slovak maternal ancestors.[2] He worked as a history teacher for a short period of time. He lives in Óbuda with his wife and with his first child Benedek. His parents are pensioners.

Political career[edit]

Vona was a founding member of Jobbik, first becoming deputy chairman; he was then elected as party leader in 2006.

In 2009 Vona repeatedly called for a change of government and for Hungary's ruling politicians to be "held to account",[3] referring to among others, Ferenc Gyurcsány and Gordon Bajnai. He considers himself an "EU realist" arguing that the EU should take a new direction increasing the role of nations.[4] Vona argues that the national police should be greatly strengthened and supports introducing an American style "three strikes law".[5]

Krisztina Morvai and Vona on the campaign trail

He was the Jobbik's candidate for the position of Prime Minister of Hungary in the 2010 Hungarian parliamentary election.[6] In a press conference Vona said it will be not a simple election, rather the people will vote on the past sixty years, and that the destiny of Hungary must be given back to Hungarians, rather than Hungarians being second-class citizens in their own country.[7]

After the elections the party's congress elected him to be leader of the Jobbik parliamentary group. Vona became a member of the parliamentarian Committee of Agriculture, and its sub-committees, the Sub-Committee of Viticulture and Winery and the Sub-Committee of Renewal Resources.

In November 2013, Vona expressed optimism of its prospects in the 2014 parliamentary election, saying that the party planned "no less than election victory in 2014". He argued that Jobbik candidates had been faring well in local elections and that opinion surveys had showed that Jobbik was the most popular party among voters aged under 35.[8] Vona told around 2,000 invited participants at the party’s "state of the nation" event on 18 January 2014 in Budapest that Jobbik was ready to govern Hungary. He said the radical nationalist party wants to overthrow the entire 24 year-period since the change of regime not only the current government at the spring general election. The party has prepared its election programme dubbed "We'll say it, we'll solve it," which focuses on guaranteeing people a livelihood, safety and order. Vona said his party would initiate a referendum on protecting Hungarian land and on amending Hungary’s European Union accession treaty.[9]

On 26 January 2014, Vona held a rally in London's Hyde Park after hundreds of British anti-fascist demonstrators had prevented Jobbik supporters from accessing a location where he originally planned to speak near Holborn tube station.[10] He promised jobs at home to Hungarians living and working in London if his party enters power at the April parliamentary election. He told around 150 people that Jobbik's programme is based on guaranteeing Hungarians a livelihood, maintaining peace and order and calling everyone to account for past deeds. Jobbik has not and will not submit bills that differentiate between citizens based on their ethnicity, he added. Vona sharply criticised the election law for preventing Hungarians living abroad from voting by mail at the parliamentary election.[11]

On 12 March 2014 the Prime Minister of Romania, Victor Ponta, affirmed that an official procedure to declare Vona persona non grata in Romania could start as soon as on 19 March, once President Traian Băsescu approves a Romanian interior ministry proposal. Basescu had requested the Romanian government and parliament on the day before to ban Jobbik officials and party members from entering Romania after a protest for Székely autonomy in Târgu Mureș on 10 March, where the Romanian media reported the turbulent behavior of "Hungarian extremist groups."[12]

Magyar Gárda[edit]

In June 2007, Vona founded the radical nationalist Magyar Gárda (Hungarian Guard). The organization was disbanded by the Metropolitan Court of Budapest (Fővárosi Bíróság) 16 December 2008 on the grounds that the activities of the organization "were against the human rights of minorities as guaranteed by the Hungarian Constitution".

At a rally before the 2010 election, Vona insisted that, if elected, he would wear a Gárda uniform to first day of parliament.[13] Vona, to much controversy, followed up at the opening session of the new Hungarian parliament on 14 May 2010, wearing a white shirt and a black vest from the banned uniform of the organization. Outgoing Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai called on the Justice Minister Imre Forgács to file a procedure against Vona. Vona said that if the vest was illegal he would see it as an act of civil disobedience, and was willing to face the consequences.[14][15]

References[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Dávid Kovács
Chairman of the Jobbik
2006–
Succeeded by
Incumbent
National Assembly of Hungary
Preceded by
First
Leader of the Jobbik parliamentary group
2010–
Succeeded by
Incumbent