Gábor Vona

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Gábor Vona
Gabor vona 2017.png
Gábor Vona in 2017
Chairman of the Jobbik
Assumed office
25 November 2006
Preceded by Dávid Kovács
Member of the National Assembly
Assumed office
14 May 2010
Personal details
Born Gábor Zázrivecz
(1978-08-20) 20 August 1978 (age 39)
Gyöngyös, Hungary
Nationality Hungarian
Political party Fidesz (2001–03)
Jobbik (since 2003)
Spouse(s) Krisztina Vona-Szabó
Children Benedek
Residence Óbuda, Budapest, Hungary
Alma mater Eötvös Loránd University
Occupation Politician
Profession History teacher

Gábor Vona (born Gábor Zázrivecz; 20 August 1978) is a Hungarian historian, teacher and politician who has led the Hungarian Right-wing populist political party Jobbik since 2006.

Early life and family[edit]

Vona was born on 20 August 1978 in Gyöngyös. He studied secondary education focusing on 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 Transylvania during the Battle of Torda 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 also has Slovak maternal ancestors.[2] He had worked as a history teacher for a short period of time, after which he had various jobs for a few years (educational organiser for a language school, and sales, first for a security company and then for an IT company). He lives in Óbuda with his wife and his first son Benedek. His parents are pensioners.

Political career[edit]

Early career[edit]

During his university years Gábor Vona actively participated in the student organization of the Alliance of Christian Intellectuals and was a member of the students' council of his university. Besides founding JOBBIK (acronym for Association of Right-Wing Youth; a youth movement that became the predecessor of Jobbik party) he became a member of Fidesz and the civic circle of Viktor Orbán. With his expectations about Fidesz led to disappointment, in 2003 Gábor Vona re-established Jobbik as a political party and became its deputy chairman; he was then elected as party leader in 2006.[3]

In 2007, Vona had founded the neo-fascist[neutrality is disputed], paramilitary Hungarian Guard, which was outlawed in 2009.[4]

In 2009 Vona repeatedly called for a change of government and for Hungary's ruling politicians to be "held to account",[5] referring to among others, Ferenc Gyurcsány and Gordon Bajnai. He considers himself an "EU realist" arguing that the EU should take a new direction in which the role of the nations should have more weight.[6] Vona argues that the national police should be greatly strengthened and supports introducing an American style "three strikes law".[7]

He was the Jobbik's candidate for the position of Prime Minister of Hungary in the 2010[8] and 2014[9] Hungarian parliamentary elections.

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 about the prospects for the 2014 parliamentary elections, saying that the party had no smaller plan than to win the elections. He argued that Jobbik candidates had been faring well in the local elections and that opinion surveys had showed that Jobbik was the most popular party among voters aged under 35.[10] 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 party wants to overthrow the entire 24 year-period of political elite that has been governed Hungary since the change of regime, not only the current government at the spring general election. The party 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.[11]

Gábor Vona with Jobbik voters in 2017.

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.[12] 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.[13]

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."[14]

People's party era[edit]

Before the 2014 parliamentary elections Vona proclaimed a new political trend, the so-called néppártosodás (English: moderation to a people's party) in Jobbik. Vona, as the president of the party, introduced a new style of communication while stating that Jobbik has grown out of its "adolescence" and reached its adulthood. Since then Vona defines his party as a national people's party and has significantly changed its views on the European Union, while in the internal politics the party has started to emphasize the opening towards the different groups of the Hungarian society.[15][16]

Vona states that, whatever his personal political views are, Jobbik should not regard ideological issues as a primary goal anymore but put focus on the elimination of social tensions and controversies as well as on the fight against the growing corruption in the public sphere and administration.[17]

Magyar Gárda[edit]

Krisztina Morvai and Vona on the campaign trail in May 2009

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.[18] 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.[19][20]


  1. ^ "Wass Albert-est Városlődön". Retrieved 5 October 2017. 
  2. ^ Civishír. "Debreceni jobbikosok, elő a származásotokkal!". Retrieved 5 October 2017. 
  3. ^ "A short summary about Jobbik". jobbik.com. 2016-12-12. Retrieved 2017-11-08. 
  4. ^ http://forward.com/news/world/362663/exclusive-in-first-talk-with-jewish-media-hungarys-far-right-leader-strikes/. Retrieved 13 November 2017.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ "Jobbik demands "corrupt" politicians be held to account". Retrieved 5 October 2017. 
  6. ^ "EP–választás, 2009: „Nemzetek Európáját szeretnénk"". Retrieved 5 October 2017. 
  7. ^ Erősíteni kell a nemzettudatot Archived 2011-07-22 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ "Vonát miniszterelnöknek, Morvait köztársasági elnöknek jelölte a Jobbik". Retrieved 5 October 2017. 
  9. ^ http://dailynewshungary.com/gabor-vona-the-jobbik-party-candidate-for-prime-minister/ Gábor Vona, the Jobbik party candidate for prime minister
  10. ^ "Vona says Jobbik plans 2014 election victory". Retrieved 5 October 2017. 
  11. ^ "Jobbik to overthrow past 24 years, says Vona". 18 January 2014. Retrieved 18 January 2014. 
  12. ^ "Far-right event moved to Hyde Park after activists prevent supporters from leaving Tube station". 26 January 2014. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  13. ^ "Vona, in London speech, promises jobs at home to expat Hungarians, slams government for curbs on voting abroad". 26 January 2014. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  14. ^ "Jobbik leader unwelcome in Romania, says PM Ponta amid local media focus on "Hungarian extremist groups"". Retrieved 5 October 2017. 
  15. ^ "Jobbik is a national people's party today" (PDF). 
  16. ^ "Hungarian Far-Right Jobbik Party Holds Year-Opening Conference - Hungary Today". Hungary Today. Retrieved 2017-11-08. 
  17. ^ "Hungarian Far-Right Jobbik Party Holds Year-Opening Conference - Hungary Today". Hungary Today. Retrieved 2017-11-08. 
  18. ^ "Justice Minister reports Jobbik leader to prosecutor over Gárda link". Retrieved 5 October 2017. 
  19. ^ "Lawmaker wears outlawed outfit in Hungary". boston.com. 14 May 2010. 
  20. ^ "Hungary's new Parliament holds inaugural session". Politics.Hu. 17 May 2010. 
Party political offices
Preceded by
Dávid Kovács
Chairman of the Jobbik
Succeeded by
National Assembly of Hungary
Preceded by
Leader of the Jobbik parliamentary group
Succeeded by
János Volner