Fidesz

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Fidesz – Hungarian Civic Alliance
Fidesz – Magyar Polgári Szövetség
PresidentViktor Orbán
Vice PresidentsGergely Gulyás
Gábor Kubatov
Szilárd Németh
Katalin Novák
Parliamentary leaderMáté Kocsis
Founded30 March 1988; 30 years ago (1988-03-30)
Headquarters1088 Budapest, VIII. Szentkirályi Street 18.
Youth wingFidelitas
IdeologyHungarian nationalism[1][2]
National conservatism[3][4][5]
Social conservatism[6]
Soft Euroscepticism[7][8]
Right-wing populism[5][4][9]
Christian democracy[10]
Economic nationalism[11]
Political positionRight-wing[12][13][14]
National affiliationFidesz–KDNP
European affiliationEuropean People's Party
International affiliationInternational Democrat Union
Centrist Democrat International
European Parliament groupEuropean People's Party
Colours     Orange
National Assembly
117 / 199
European Parliament
11 / 21
County Assemblies
245 / 419
Party flag
Flag of Fidesz (Hungary).svg
Website
www.fidesz.hu

Fidesz – Hungarian Civic Alliance (Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈfidɛs]; in full, Hungarian: Fidesz – Magyar Polgári Szövetség) is a national-conservative[3][4][5] and right-wing populist[5][4][9] political party in Hungary. It has dominated Hungarian politics on the national and local level since its landslide victory in the 2010 national elections on a joint list with the Christian Democratic People's Party,[15] securing it a parliamentary supermajority that it retained in 2014[16][17] and again in 2018.[18] Fidesz also enjoys majorities in the county legislatures (19 of 19), almost all (20 of 23) urban counties and in the Budapest city council. Viktor Orbán has been the leader of the party for most of its history.

History[edit]

The party was founded in 1988, named simply Fidesz (Fiatal Demokraták Szövetsége, meaning the Alliance of Young Democrats), originally as a youthful classical liberal party. Fidesz was founded by young democrats, mainly students, who were persecuted by the communist party and had to meet in small, clandestine groups. The movement became a major force in many areas of modern Hungarian history. The membership had an upper age limit of 35 years (this requirement was abolished at the 1993 congress).

In 1989, Fidesz won the Rafto Prize. The Hungarian youth opposition movement was represented by one of its leaders, Dr Péter Molnár, who became a Member of Parliament in Hungary. In 1992, Fidesz joined the Liberal International.[19] At that time, it was a moderate liberal centrist party.

After its disappointing result in the 1994 elections, Fidesz changed its political position from liberal to conservative.[5][19] In 1995, it added "Hungarian Civic Party" (Magyar Polgári Párt) to its shortened name. The conservative turn caused a severe split in the membership. Péter Molnár left the party, as well as Gábor Fodor and Klára Ungár, who joined the liberal Alliance of Free Democrats.

Fidesz gained power in 1998 under leader and Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who governed Hungary in coalition with the smaller Hungarian Democratic Forum and the Independent Smallholders' Party. In 2000, Fidesz joined the European People's Party and had its membership in the Liberal International terminated.[19]

The former main office building of Fidesz

Fidesz narrowly lost the 2002 elections to the Hungarian Socialist Party, by 41.07% to the Socialists' 42.05%. Fidesz had 169 members of the Hungarian National Assembly, out of a total of 386. Following the defeat, the municipal elections in October saw huge Fidesz losses.

In the spring of 2003, Fidesz took its current name, "Fidesz – Hungarian Civic Union".[19]

It was the most successful party in the 2004 European Parliamentary Elections: it won 47.4% of the vote and 12 of its candidates were elected as Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), including Lívia Járóka, the second Romani MEP.

The election of Dr. László Sólyom as the new President of Hungary as the most recent success of the party. He was endorsed by Védegylet, an NGO including people from the whole political spectrum. His activity does not entirely overlap with the conservative ideals and he championed for elements of both political wings with a selective, but conscious choice of values.[20]

In 2005, Fidesz and the Christian Democratic People's Party (KDNP) formed an alliance for the 2006 elections. Despite winning 42.0% of the list votes and 164 representatives out of 386 in National Assembly, they were beaten by the social-democratic and liberal coalition of Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) and the Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ).

On 1 October 2006 Fidesz won the municipal elections, which counterbalanced the MSZP-led government's power to some extent. Fidesz won 15 of 23 mayoralties in Hungary's largest cities—although its candidate narrowly lost the city of Budapest to a member of the Liberal Party—and majorities in 18 out of 20 regional assemblies.[21][22]

In the 2009 European Parliament election, Fidesz won a landslide victory, gaining 56.36% of the vote and 14 of Hungary's 22 seats. This predicted a landslide in the 2010 parliamentary elections, where they won the outright majority in the first round on 11 April, with the Fidesz-KDNP alliance winning 206 seats, including 119 individual seats. In the final result, they won 263 seats, of which 173 are individual seats.[23] Fidesz held 227 of these seats, giving it an outright majority in the National Assembly by itself.

After winning 53% of the popular vote in the first-round of the 2010 parliamentary election, which translated into a supermajority of 68% of parliamentary seats, giving Fidesz sufficient power to revise or replace the constitution, the party embarked on an extraordinary project of passing over 200 laws and drafting and adopting a new constitution—since followed by nearly 2000 amendments.

The new constitution has been widely criticized[24][25][26][27][28][29] by the Venice Commission for Democracy through Law,[30] the Council of Europe, the European Parliament[31] and the United States[32] for gathering too much power in the hands of the ruling party, Fidesz, for limiting oversight of the new constitution by the Constitutional Court of Hungary, and for removing democratic checks and balances in various areas, including the ordinary judiciary,[33] supervision of elections and the media.

In October 2013 Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe said that the Council were satisfied with the amendments which had been made to the criticised laws.[34]

Fidesz won the nationwide parliamentary election in April 2014 and secured a second supermajority with 133 seats (of 199) in the legislature. This supermajority was lost, however, when Tibor Navracsics was appointed to the European Commission. His Veszprém county seat was taken by an independent candidate in a by-election.[16] Another by-election on 12 April 2015 saw the supermajority lose a second seat, also in Veszprém, to a Jobbik candidate.[17]

Fidesz won the nationwide parliamentary election in April 2018 and secured a 3rd supermajority with 134 seats (of 199) in the legislature. Orbán and Fidesz campaigned primarily on the issues of immigration and foreign meddling, and the election was seen as a victory for right-wing populism in Europe.[35][36][37]

Leaders[edit]

Image Name Entered office Left office Length of Leadership Note
1 Viktor Orbán 1997.jpg Viktor Orbán 18 April 1993 29 January 2000 6 years, 286 days Prime Minister, 1998–2002
2 László Kövér Senate of Poland 01.JPG László Kövér 29 January 2000 6 May 2001 1 year, 97 days
3 Pokorni Zoltan 2008-10-23 (crop).JPG Zoltán Pokorni 6 May 2001 3 July 2002 1 year, 58 days
4 Ader Janos.jpg János Áder 3 July 2002 17 May 2003 318 days
5 Viktor Orban.jpg Viktor Orbán 17 May 2003 Incumbent 15 years, 181 days Prime Minister, 2010–present

Ideology[edit]

Fidesz's position on the political spectrum has changed over time. At its inception as a student movement in the late-1980s, the party supported social and economic liberalism and European integration. As the Hungarian political landscape crystallized following the fall of communism and the first free elections, Fidesz began moving to the right. Although Fidesz was in opposition to the Hungarian Democratic Forum's national-conservative coalition government from 1990 to 1994, by 1998 Fidesz was the most prominent conservative political force in Hungary.

Fidesz is currently considered a national conservative party favoring interventionist policies on economic issues like handling of banks, and a strong conservative stance on social issues and European integration.[38][39][40] Like the Hungarian right in general, it has been more skeptical of the neoliberal economic policies than the Hungarian left: according to researchers, the elites of the Hungarian left (MSzP and the former SZDSZ) have been differentiated from the right by being more supportive of the classical liberal economic policies, while the right (especially extreme right) has advocated more interventionist policies. In contrast, on issues like church and state and family policies, the liberals show alignment along the traditional left-right spectrum.[41]

Fidesz has adopted anti-immigration stances and rhetoric.[42][43][44][45]

The party is anti-communist.[46] In May 2018, the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker attended and spoke at a celebration of the deceased Karl Marx’s 200th birthday, where he defended Marx's legacy. In response, MEPs from Fidesz wrote: "Marxist ideology led to the death of tens of millions and ruined the lives of hundreds of millions. The celebration of its founder is a mockery of their memory."[46]

Youth[edit]

In December 2005 the Congress of Fidesz established the Fidesz Youth Section as a division within the party gathering all members below the age of 30. The chairman of Fidesz Youth Section was Dániel Loppert until 2011. The current chairman is Áron Veress. The Fidesz Youth Section is member of European Democrat Students (EDS) and observer member in the Democrat Youth Community of Europe (DEMYC).

Electoral results[edit]

National Assembly[edit]

Election Votes Seats Rank Government Leader
# % ±pp # +/−
1990 439,481 8.95%
22 / 386
±0 5th MDFFKgPKDNP Viktor Orbán
MDFEKGPKDNP
1994 379,295 7.02% Decrease1.93
20 / 386
Decrease 2 6th MSZPSZDSZ Supermajority Viktor Orbán
1998 1,263,522 28.18% Increase21.16
148 / 386
Increase 128 1st Fidesz-FKgP-MDF Viktor Orbán
20021 2,306,763 41.07% Increase13.89
164 / 386
Increase 16 2nd MSZPSZDSZ Viktor Orbán
20062 2,272,979 42.03% Increase0.96
141 / 386
Decrease 23 2nd MSZPSZDSZ Viktor Orbán
MSZP Minority
20102 2,706,292 52.73% Increase10.70
227 / 386
Increase 86 1st Fidesz–KDNP Supermajority Viktor Orbán
20142 2,264,486 44.87% Decrease7.86
117 / 199
Decrease 110 1st Fidesz–KDNP Supermajority Viktor Orbán
20182 2,824,206 49.27% Increase4.40
117 / 199
Steady 0 1st Fidesz–KDNP Supermajority Viktor Orbán

1 Joint list with Hungarian Democratic Forum (MDF)

2 Joint list with Christian Democratic People's Party (KDNP)

Single member constituencies voting consistently for Fidesz[edit]

The SMCs shown on the image have voted for Fidesz ever since 1998. SMCs with a paler hue of orange elected FKGP candidates in 1998, as part of a pact between the two parties.

Consistently Fidesz SMCs (inset shows Budapest)

In January 2010, László Kövér, head of the party's national board, told reporters the party was aiming at winning a two-thirds majority at the parliamentary elections in April. He noted that Fidesz had a realistic chance to win a landslide. Concerning the radical nationalist Jobbik party's gaining ground Kövér said it was a "lamentably negative" tendency, adding that it was rooted in the "disaster government" of the Socialist Party and its former liberal ally Free Democrats.[47]

European Parliament[edit]

Election year # of overall votes % of overall vote # of overall seats won +/- Notes
2004 1,457,750 47.4% (1st)
12 / 24
20091 1,632,309 56.36% (1st)
13 / 22
Increase 1
20141 1,193,991 51.48% (1st)
11 / 21
Decrease 2

1 Joint list with Christian Democratic People's Party (KDNP)

References[edit]

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External links[edit]