Jobbik

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Movement for a Better Hungary
Jobbik Magyarországért Mozgalom
Parliamentary leader János Volner
Vice Presidents Erik Fülöp
Dávid Janiczak
Tamás Sneider
László Toroczkai
János Volner
Dániel Z. Kárpát
Founded 24 October 2003
Headquarters 1113 Budapest, Villányi út 20/A
Youth wing Jobbik Young Section
Paramilitary wing Magyar Gárda[1][2][3][4]
(2007–2009)
Membership 17,927 (2016)[5]
Ideology Hungarian nationalism[6]
Ultranationalism[7]
Hungarian Turanism[8][9]
National conservatism[10]
Right-wing populism[11]
Social conservatism[12]
Economic nationalism[13]
Euroscepticism[14]
Anti-globalism[15][16]
Political position Right-wing[17]
to far-right[18][19][20]
European affiliation none
International affiliation None
European Parliament group Non-Inscrits
Colours Red, white and green
National Assembly
26 / 199
European Parliament
3 / 21
County Assemblies
81 / 419
Website
www.jobbik.hu (Hungarian)
www.jobbik.com (English)

Jobbik, the Movement for a Better Hungary (Hungarian: Jobbik Magyarországért Mozgalom), commonly known as Jobbik (Hungarian: [ˈjobːik]), is a Hungarian political party[21][22] with radical and nationalist[23][24] roots. At its beginnings the party described itself as "a principled, conservative and radically patriotic Christian party", whose "fundamental purpose" is the protection of "Hungarian values and interests."[25] The party has been described as an "anti-Semitic organization" by The Independent and a "neo-Nazi party" by the president of the European Jewish Congress.[26] Philosopher Ágnes Heller, a Holocaust survivor, says that Jobbik has never been a neo-Nazi party, although she described them as far-right and racist.[27]

Since 2014 Jobbik, with regard to its growing popularity, has started to re-define itself as a conservative people's party and changed the controversial elements of its communication. According to the party's Manifesto on the guidelines of a future government, Jobbik represents all Hungarian citizens and people and aims to build a modern national identity, while rejecting the chauvinism of the 20th century.

After the Hungarian parliamentary elections on 6 April 2014, the party polled 1,020,476 votes, securing 20.54% of the total, making them Hungary's third largest party in the National Assembly.

Following the Hungarian parliamentary elections on 8 April 2018, Gábor Vona resigned, due to to his earlier promises that he would resign if he could not lead the party to victory on the elections.[28]Despite the rumors that Jobbik would change its policies, the National Board of the party unanimously decided in favor of the moderate right-wing conservative wing.[29]

Name[edit]

The Movement for a Better Hungary more commonly goes under its abbreviated name Jobbik, which is in fact a play on words. The word jobb in Hungarian has two meanings, the adjective for "better" and the direction "right"; the comparative Jobbik therefore means both "the more preferable choice" and "more to the right". This is similar to the English phrase "right choice", which could mean both "a choice on the right side of the political spectrum" and "a correct choice".

Platform and ideology[edit]

Currently, the party describes itself as a modern conservative people's party.[22]

Earlier, the party often defined itself as "a principled, conservative and radically patriotic Christian party", whose "fundamental purpose" was the protection of "Hungarian values and interests".[25] Since then, Jobbik has implemented major changes in its program and policies, due to its growing popularity and broadening supporter groups. Earlier Jobbik's ideology has been described by political scholars as right-wing populist, whose strategy "relies on a combination of ethno-nationalism with anti-elitist populist rhetoric and a radical critique of existing political institutions".[30][31] For its part, Jobbik rejects the common classification of the political spectrum in left and right. The party sees itself as patriotic.[32] The party has always rejected the term 'far-right', and instead labeled itself as 'radical right-wing'. It has also criticised media companies for labelling them as 'far-right' and has threatened to take action towards those who do.[33] In 2014, the Supreme Court of Hungary ruled that Jobbik cannot be labeled "far-right" in any domestic radio or television transmissions, as this would constitute an opinion because Jobbik has refuted the 'far-right' label.[34]

Since 2014 the party has not used the "radical right-wing" term to define itself, stating that Jobbik aims to represent all Hungarian people, not exclusively the right-wing of the political spectrum.

At its beginnings, Jobbik described itself as rejecting "global capitalism"[35][36] and European Union, because they felt disappointed with the conditions of the Hungarian EU accession.[37] While the party previously also opposed Zionism,[38][39] the party's leader, Gabor Vona, stated in February 2017 that he has "never questioned Israel’s existence"[40] and that the party supports a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.[41] At some point the party adheres to Pan-Turanism, an ideology that asserts that Hungarians originate from the Ural–Altaic race.[8][9] Consequently, the party strongly supports closer ties with Turkey, with Vona criticizing the 2016 Turkish coup d'état attempt and praising Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as a "very strong leader".[42]

According to Gábor Vona, the president of Jobbik, after 2014 the party has grown out of its "adolescence" and reached its adulthood. Since then Jobbik defines itself 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.[43][44] At the same time Gábor Vona took responsibility for the earlier, misunderstandable remarks of the party and offered apology for those who were unintentionally offended by previous statements.[45]

Jobbik, according to the recent remarks from the party, does not regard ideological issues as a primary goal anymore but puts 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.[44]

Modern conservativism[edit]

In summer of 2016 Gábor Vona, the president of Jobbik, declared a new style of politics, called "modern conservativism" with the aim to exceed the pointless debates between the right- and the left-wing and to induct cooperation among Hungarians with different political backgrounds. According to Vona, the goal of "modern conservativism" is, beyond politics, to build a society that can, by its proactivity, be a basis for a more democratic political functioning. As a historical precedent, he referred to the ideals of István Széchenyi, who is considered as one of the greatest statesmen of the Hungarian history.[46][47]

Relation to the European Union[edit]

Since its formation, Jobbik had a strongly critical stance towards the European Union. The party regarded the accession of Hungary a failure, and looked on the EU as an organization that did not serve the interests of the Hungarians. However, even in this period, the party did not refuse the idea of a radically reformed European confederation.[48] After the Brexit and the continuous debates on the future of the European Union, the party has reassessed its views on the EU and started to emphasize that by adequate policies a reform of the EU, that could make the organization advantageous for the European nations, is possible.[49] According to Jobbik, Hungary should join the Eurozone as soon as possible since it is a not a political but an economic question. On his press conference on 27 October 2017 the president of the party, Gábor Vona told, if some conditions were fulfilled Jobbik could even support further deepening of the EU.[50]

Wage Union[edit]

Jobbik considers the issue of decreasing the differences between the regions of the EU especially important. Thus, they party sees a strong convergence of the countries as an important goal.[51] Reducing the economic differences between the Western and the Eastern part of the European Union and the development of the Eastern regions are key elements of the new EU-policy of Jobbik. According to the party, for the lack of development Eastern Central European governments and the European Union, that has turned a blind eye on corruption, are equally responsible. Therefore, Jobbik played a leading role in the formation of the Wage Union European Citizens' Initiative, that started its work on 14 March 2017 with the participation of representatives from 8 Central European countries.[52][53]

Economy[edit]

At its beginnings Jobbik rejected globalised capitalism, and the influence of foreign investors in Hungary.[54] In the past, Jobbik has specifically opposed aggressive Israeli investment in Hungary and selling out of the country. On 4 May 2013, protesting the World Jewish Congress's choice to locate their 2013 congress in Budapest, party chairman Gabor Vona said, "The Israeli conquerors, these investors, should look for another country in the world for themselves because Hungary is not for sale",[55] responding to a highly controversial 10 October 2007 speech of Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres. Peres' statement that "from such a small country as ours it is almost amazing, that we are buying up Manhattan, Hungary, Romania and Poland"[56] inflicted a heated debate in the Hungarian public discourse and the Israeli diplomacy had to explain the controversial words several times.[57]

According to the 2017 Manifesto on the party's guidelines, an innovative economic policy should be followed, that's goal is to find the opportunities in the global economy. An increasingly important point of Jobbik's economic policy is the creation of a more competitive national economy that is able to provide higher wages. The party aims to support SMEs[58] and a balanced development with multinational companies.[59]

Public order[edit]

The party argues that the national police should be greatly strengthened and, along with the Fidesz, supports introducing a "three strikes law".[60] However, political rivals of Jobbik claim that its connections with the Magyar Gárda militia (which is now banned) cast doubt on the party's commitment to peace and order in Hungarian society, and even within party ranks.

Jobbik have promised to restore the death penalty if they come to power.[61][62][63]

Minority rights and demands for territorial autonomy for Hungarians outside of Hungary[edit]

Hungarian losses of territory in the Treaty of Trianon

Jobbik strongly promotes the welfare of the large Hungarian populations living outside Hungary as ethnic minorities. The party demands minority rights for these groups in accordance with Western European standards. Along with almost all current Hungarian political parties, Jobbik demands the reestablishment of "territorial autonomy" in the Székely Land of Romania, and desires to make Carpathian Ruthenia an independent Hungarian district[64] on the model of South Tyrol.[65][66] Jobbik is frequently accused of agitating for a return to pre-Treaty-of-Trianon borders.[67] However, Jobbik has never suggested changing borders by force, and believes that the ultimate solution is territorial and cultural autonomy within a European Union framework of minority rights.[68][69]

One fourth of ethnic Hungarians live outside the country.[70] Many suffer discrimination[71][72][73] because of their ethnicity, causing frequent diplomatic disputes between Hungary and its neighbors. Jobbik dedicates itself to supporting the cause of Hungarian minorities in adjoining countries,[74] vocally defending their schools, churches and cultural values.

The party's 2009 election slogan "Hungary belongs to the Hungarians" (Magyarország a Magyaroké!) attracted much scrutiny. While some critics dismissed the slogan as a tautology,[75] others considered it a call to bigotry and complained to the National Electoral Commission, which ruled it "unconstitutional" on the eve of the election.[76]

On 11 March 2014, in response to a demonstration in Târgu Mureș, the Romanian president Traian Băsescu publicly called for a ban on Jobbik members from entering Romania.[77]

Besides defending the rights of ethnic Hungarians living abroad, Jobbik actively supports the cultural autonomy and language rights of the autochthonous ethnic minorities living in Hungary.[78][79]

The party has a pragmatic stance on cooperation among the Central European[80] nations and states and, despite historical differences, strongly supports their common action within the EU. Jobbik leaders have called for action in the framework of the Wage Union European Citizens' Initiative.[81]

History and development[edit]

Foundation[edit]

The group was established in 2002 as the Right-Wing Youth Community (Jobboldali Ifjúsági Közösség – JOBBIK) by a group of Catholic and Protestant university students, and became a political party in October 2003.[82][third-party source needed]. The new party elected Dávid Kovács as president, serving until 2006. A key figure was Gergely Pongrátz, who in a speech to the founding conference invoked the Hungarian Revolution of 1956.[83][third-party source needed]

Around Christmas 2003, Jobbik conducted a nationwide programme of erecting crosses, to remind Hungarians of the "true meaning" of the holiday. The move was criticized by several Christian intellectual groups.[84]

Alliances[edit]

Even though the far-right Hungarian Justice and Life Party (MIÉP) and Jobbik had publicly quarreled, the parties formed an electoral alliance for the 2006 national elections, the MIÉP–Jobbik Third Way Alliance of Parties. The alliance sought to win votes from the major conservative Fidesz party.[85]

However, the alliance won only 2.2% of the votes, and Jobbik largely withdrew from it. In 2009 the State Audit Office (ÁSZ) reported the alliance for grave breaches of accounting rules. Jobbik blamed MIÉP alone for the irregularities.[86]

Jobbik fought the 2010 and 2014 general elections without political allies. Recently, some left-wing intellectuals suggested a coalition between the left-liberal parties and Jobbik[87] to challenge the Fidesz government; however Jobbik rejected the idea to cooperate with parties which they call "20th century powers".[88] Nevertheless, Gábor Vona said in an interview that “We will need several bridges ... to voters on the left, not to parties on the left. Jobbik offers a message, a program both to former leftist and former rightist voters.”[89]

Magyar Gárda and conflicts in the party[edit]

A Magyar Gárda choir sings in Békéscsaba.

During the 2000s public order was one of the key topics of the Hungarian political life, especially after in 2006 Roma people lynched a Hungarian teacher in the Eastern Hungarian village of Olaszliszka.[90] The case turned public attention to the failure of Roma integration and the inability of the Hungarian police to maintain law and order in the Hungarian countryide. The idea of setting up a "national guard", similar to the National Guard of the United States, became widespread among the conservative political parties of Hungary.

In June 2007, Gábor Vona, supported by the party, founded and registered the organisation called Magyar Gárda "Hungarian Guard", which says in its deed of foundation that it intends to become "part or core" of a national guard to be set up in accordance with the Gabriel Bethlen programme, and it also wishes to participate actively "in strengthening national self-defence" and "maintaining public order" as well as supporting and organising social and charity missions, in disaster prevention and civil defence. The foundation of the Guard was accompanied by sharp political debate.

On 10 March 2008 three leading figures resigned from the party: founding president Dávid Kovács, committee chairman Ervin Nagy, and former ethics committee chairman Márton Fári. They named the Hungarian Guard as the cause of their resignation, stating that "Jobbik has been merged inseparably with the Guard, taking responsibility for something that it cannot really control in the long run".

On 2 July 2009 the Metropolitan Court of Appeal (Fővárosi Ítélőtábla) disbanded the Hungarian Guard Movement because the court held that its activities attacked the human rights of minorities guaranteed by the Constitution of Hungary. The Guard has attempted to reorganize itself as a civil service association, the Magyar Gárda Foundation, engaged in cultural and nation building activities rather than politics. Its renewed activities are opposed by the Hungarian authorities[91] and prosecutors claim that the founding of the new organization is in contempt of previous court rulings.

After several schisms, the organization has largely ceased activity. On January 28, 2017, some radical members of Magyar Gárda held a demonstration against Gábor Vona outside Jobbik's year-opening event. Participants denounced the new politics of Jobbik as a betrayal of the right wing.[92]

Moderating the party[edit]

Gábor Vona speaks on the party congress of Jobbik in 2017

Before the 2014 parliamentary elections a new political trend, the so-called néppártosodás (transition to a people's party) appeared in Jobbik. The party adopted a new style of communication while reversing many radical elements of its earlier program.[93][94] Jobbik leaders declared that it has turned from a radical right-wing party into a moderate conservative people's party. President Gábor Vona, in an interview, promised to "cut the wildlings", the one-time radicals.[95]

In 2016, the party pursued its strategy of de-demonization by abandoning parts of its original ideological corpus and excluding certain extremist elements, in order to make its image more respectable and incarnate a credible opposition to the conservative government of Viktor Orbán.[96][93] Despite Jobbik's pledges, particularly to the Jewish community in Hungary, many left-wing intellectuals and political figures say they want to keep their distance from an organization deemed as undemocratic.[97][98] On the contrary philosopher Ágnes Heller, Holocaust survivor, considers that it's necessary to ally with all opposition parties, including Jobbik, to defeat the Orbán's Fidesz[99]. At the local level, however, implicit alliances were formed between left-wing parties and Jobbik in partial municipal elections to defeat the ruling-government's party[100].

Although the party is commonly described as far-right by observers and in the international press, some media now consider that it's more difficult to classify Jobbik as it currently stands on the far-right, because of its de-demonization[101][102] and Fidesz's ever-increasing right-wingisation rhetoric[103], or even that Jobbik is currently a right-wing party[17][104].

The Jobbik's strategy, moving away from its far-right roots and staking out a more centrist position, has also resulted in the emergence of more radical dissident formations, like the new party Force and Determination[105].

Rising popularity among young people[edit]

Due to the disillusioning of young people because no-perspectives, decreasing living conditions and frustrating level of state corruption, popularity of Jobbik skyrocketed among younger generations. Since 2014 Jobbik consciously tried to address young people that are disappointed with other parties. As a result of its youth policy Jobbik's popularity has risen to a never seen level. According to an international survey, conducted in 2016, 53 percent of the young Hungarians aged between 18 and 35 years would vote for Jobbik.[106]

Controversy[edit]

The party has strenuously denied[107][108][109] allegations of anti-semitism or racism, as being either politically motivated[110][111][112] or simply false. It has also dismissed the criticism of perceived anti-semitism, racism and homophobia as the "favourite topics" of the political opponents. Even so, the movement has been accused of playing on those fears.[113]

Comments by members[edit]

On the eve of the 2009 elections to the European parliament, a comment was posted on an unofficial and unverified Hungarian political internet forum, allegedly in the name of Krisztina Morvai, who then headed the party's electoral list. Addressing their remarks to Hungarian Jews the comment poster stated that they "would be glad if the so-called proud Hungarian Jews went back to playing with their tiny circumcised dicks instead of vilifying me."[114][115][116] News of this comment, which has been roundly condemned,[117] spread rapidly around the world[118][119] and eventually even featured in an article by The Economist.[120] Morvai's critics have pointed to her refusal to even discuss the issue,[121] let alone deny it;[122] implying that this is sufficient to ascribe authorship of the remarks to her.[123]

Her supporters however, claim that though she certainly has a record of being critical of the state of Israel[124] given a sympathy for the Palestinian cause she developed while working as an international human rights lawyer,[125] the idea of Morvai being an anti-Semite is "simply ridiculous," given that at the time of her alleged remarks she was married to a Hungarian of Jewish origin,[126] with whom she has three children,[127] but from whom she is now separated.[126]

In a newsletter published by a group calling itself "The trade union of Hungarian police officers prepared for action", the following was allegedly printed: "Given our current situation, 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 editor of the union, Judit Szima, was a Jobbik candidate in the upcoming election for the European Union parliament. Haaretz alleged Szima "didn't see anything wrong with the content of the article."[128] Cooperation between Jobbik and the trade union led by Szima was dismantled in 2010 and since then there is no affiliation between them.[129]

During spring 2012, Jobbik representative in Hungarian parliament Zsolt Baráth caused an outrage by commemorating 1882 blood libel against the Jews in Parliament. The Tiszaeszlár blood libel, found later to be unrelated to Jews, was known as first major anti-Jewish event in modern Hungary, predating the Holocaust.[130] The speech of Baráth caused controversy among Jobbik MPs: some - however finding it inappropriate and uncalled for - stated that in a matured democracy there should not be taboo topics, while leaders of the Jobbik Parliamentary Group told the media that they had evaluated the speech and learnt the lesson that they should care more about what their MPs say. After the incident Baráth was not re-elected and is no longer an MP of Jobbik.[131]

In November 2012, while evaluating the latest news on the controversial Israeli military action in the Gaza strip, the party's deputy parliamentary leader, Márton Gyöngyösi, stated in his speech in the Parliament: "I think such a conflict makes it timely to tally up people of Jewish ancestry who live here, especially in the Hungarian Parliament and the Hungarian government, who, indeed, pose a national security risk to Hungary."[132] Márton Gyöngyösi admitted immediately after his speech that he had composed his sentence wrongly, as he thought of MPs with Israeli-Hungarian double citizenship and not of Jewish people. At the same time Gyöngyösi offered an apology.[133] As Al Jazeera reported, the incident led to "international condemnation of Nazi-style policies and a protest outside the legislature in Budapest.[134] Around ten thousand Hungarians[135] in Budapest protested against Gyöngyösi's anti-Semitic remarks. All major Hungarian political parties took part in the protest. At the protest, Attila Mesterházy the leader of the successor of the state party of the communist era, the Hungarian Socialist Party, described Jobbik as a "fascist possessions virus", while 5th district of Budapest mayor Antal Rogán, representing the governing Fidesz party, described Jobbik as "evil".[136] Jewish organizations responded to Gyöngyösi speech by describing it as a reintroduction of Nazism in Hungarian parliament and by describing Jobbik as a Nazi party.[137]

In 2014 Tibor Ágoston, the deputy chairman of Jobbik's Debrecen and Hajdú-Bihar County organization, referred to the Holocaust as the "holoscam". Tamás Horovitz, the chairman of the Debrecen Jewish Congregation and the mayor of Debrecen, Lajos Kósa, condemned Ágoston’s remarks.[138][139][140] Later Ágoston harshly criticized Gábor Vona for not supporting Előd Novák and cutting ties with the so-called "radicals" in the party.[141]

In 2015 deputy leader Előd Novák posted to his social media account on Facebook a picture of himself and his family next to a separate image of Rikardo Racz, the first newborn in Hungary of the year who was born to a Romani family. In a comment on the pictures, he stated that the population of Hungarians would become a minority and suggested that the Romani population is the biggest problem facing Hungary. Novák's remarks were both condemned and supported. Novák would later respond to the issue by refusing to apologize and suggested that the family should apologize to him.[142] Előd Novák was forced by the party's parliamentary group to resign from his position as an MP in 2016.[143] Now, he is a vocal critic of Jobbik's new policies.

World Jewish Congress Protest[edit]

Members of the New Hungarian Guard stand at a Jobbik rally against a gathering of the World Jewish Congress in Budapest, 4 May 2013

On 4 May 2013, Jobbik members protested against the World Jewish Congress in Budapest, claiming the protest was against "a Jewish attempt to buy up Hungary".[144] Jobbik MP Enikő Hegedűs vociferously condemned both Israel and Jews at the rally as her husband, Lóránt Hegedűs Jr., stood nearby.[145] An ordained minister in the Reformed Church in Hungary, Lóránt Hegedűs himself had served in the National Assembly as an MP of the far-right nationalist Hungarian Justice and Life Party from 1998 to 2002.[146] He invited Holocaust denier David Irving to his Budapest church in 2007 as a "special guest",[146] and has also been accused of anti-Semitism on several occasions for statements he has made about Jews at Jobbik events. At a 2011 rally, he claimed that Jews orchestrated World War II and controlled the international media,[147] and a year prior had alleged that the Hungarian government was secretly cooperating with Mossad to facilitate an Israeli takeover of Hungary with the assistance of Hungarian Jews and mainstream churches.[148] After his wife's statement regarding the World Jewish Congress, the Reformed Church launched an inquiry into the minister's conduct, with presiding bishop Gusztáv Bölcskei denouncing Hegedűs's activism for Jobbik as "permanent provocation" which was incompatible with scripture.[145]

President of Jobbik Gábor Vona later stated that he had criticized Zionism as a political idea and pointed out that he understood the Hungarian Jewish community had to survive such traumas during the 20th century that make dialogue very hard. At the same time he emphasized that he wanted to have harmonic relations with the Hungarian Jewish community.[149]

The "Hanukkah case"[edit]

In December 2016 Gábor Vona, besides his Christmas greetings to the nation's churches, as a gesture sent his greetings to his Jewish compatriots on the occasion of the Jewish holidays. The message of Vona raised controversy among Hungarian Jewish communities.[150][151] Vona had already stated before that those, even party members, who had wanted to see Jobbik as a racist or anti-Semitic party had been wrong. However, Vona took responsibility for turning a blind eye in such situations earlier.[152]

Warnings against "EU Slavery" and ethnic shift in Hungary[edit]

Gábor Vona earlier said that, Hungarians became slaves because the European Union had only wanted Hungary to enter the EU because of its cheap workforce.[153] Vona also stated that "the number of Hungarians continues to fall while the gypsy population grows ever larger. This was not racism but a real social and economic problem. Anyone who doesn’t understand this is not normal."[153]

In a 2016 inverview, Vona announced that he believes the EU also has some advantages.[154]

In his 2017 interview Márton Gyöngyösi, deputy leader of the party's parliamentary group, pointed out that Jobbik seeks for the constructive reform of the European Union.[155] In addition, Gyöngyösi also said that in order to have a more harmonized EU, maybe some national competencies, such as labor conditions and wage regulations can be reconsidered.

Attempts to criminalize promotion of "sexual deviancy"[edit]

Jobbik, as a conservative party, does not prefer policies that promote lifestyles that are different from the Christian-conservative model. The party maintains that the most important social unit is the traditional family. In April 2012, Jobbik tried to introduce a bill into the Hungarian parliament that would change the national constitution to allegedly "protect public morals and the mental health of the young generations" by banning the popularization of "sexual deviancy". The legislation was drafted by party spokesman Ádám Mirkóczki. This was to target "homosexuality, sex changes, transvestitism, bisexuality and paedophile behaviour". The proposed amendments would criminalise anyone who "popularizes their sexual relations—deviancy—with another person of the same sex, or other disturbances of sexual behaviour, before the wider public". The penalty would be three years in prison, or five years if 'popularizing' is done in front of minors. The draft legislation ultimately failed to pass.[156]

Other issues[edit]

Support for Miklós Horthy[edit]

In Hungary it is a very important and complex issue to deal with the interwar period and the legacy of the one-time governor of Hungary, Miklós Horthy. Jobbik, like other right and centre-right parties in Hungary, supports a balanced view, appreciating the positive elements of the consolidation after the World War I and Trianon trauma. On 3 November 2013, Márton Gyöngyösi and other Jobbik members unveiled a bronze bust of Miklós Horthy, a nationalist admiral who served as Regent of Hungary from 1920 to 1944, in front of the "Church of Homecoming" in downtown Budapest's Liberty Square, where Lóránt Hegedűs serves as pastor.[157] The ceremony drew strong public and official condemnations over the legacy of Horthy, who led Hungary into World War II in 1941 on the side of the Axis powers (which the country had officially joined the previous year). Many Hungarians thus see Horthy as a source of deep national shame and Nazi collaborator, complicit in the murder of half a million Hungarian Jews in the Holocaust in Hungary[citation needed]. Others, however, revere him as a national hero, ostensibly for guiding the country to stability in its chaotic interwar period—at the ceremony, Gyöngyösi proclaimed Horthy "the greatest Hungarian statesman of the 20th century".[158]

Several thousand individuals—some of whom had pinned yellow Stars of David on their clothing came out to protest against the statue, and were met by a smaller crowd of far right protesters near the church who responded with anti-Semitic and racist slurs[citation needed]. Mayor Antal Rogán condemned Jobbik's move as a "political provocation" that would allow the "western European left-wing press" to unfairly characterise Hungary as being plagued by anti-Semitic extremists. Hegedűs, who had already hung a portrait of Horthy by his church's entrance well prior to the statue's installation,[146] defended Horthy's legacy to journalists after the unveiling, calling it "unjust and historically wrong" to implicate the former leader in crimes against humanity because he was suspected not prosecuted at the Nuremberg trials.[158] In light of the furore over the statue, church officials announced they would launch another official probe into Hegedűs's political activities.[157]

Electoral performance[edit]

Growth and electoral success[edit]

The party faced its first electoral test with the coming of the 2009 European parliamentary elections. The election's results shocked their opponents:[159] with the party sending three MEPs to Strasbourg; coming close to equal in number of votes with the governing Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) while eliminating their liberal coalition partner Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ), to become the nation's third largest party.[160]

In London on 16 May 2008, the delegation of Jobbik's Committee of Foreign Affairs met Nick Griffin, chairman of the British National Party. They discussed cooperation between the two parties, and the elections for the European Parliament. Griffin spoke at the party rally in August 2008, while former vice-president Zoltán Füzessy is presently resident in Gravesend, Kent, England.[161]

The Alliance of European National Movements (AENM) was formed in Budapest on 24 October 2009. The alliance's founding members were Jobbik (the Alliance was established during their sixth party congress), France's National Front, UK's British National Party Italy's Tricolour Flame, Sweden's National Democrats and Belgium's National Front.[162] Since January 2014 Béla Kovács has been its president.[163][164] Since then Jobbik officially quit AENM and cut all ties with the members of the alliance.

On 12 April 2015, Jobbik's Lajos Rig defeated the Fidesz candidate in a parliamentary by-election in Veszprém County. It was the second by-election lost by Fidesz after the national 2014 elections, leaving the ruling Fidesz-KDNP coalition two short of the parliamentary supermajority (kétharmad).[165]

Gábor Vona on his nationwide tour with Jobbik voters (2017)

On 14 March 2017 Jobbik started close cooperation with Bulgarian VMRO, Estonian Conservative People's Party and Croatian GO! as well as with trade unions, such as the Polish Solidarność 80, in the framework of the Wage Union European Citizens' Initiative.[166][167][168]

Hungarian Parliamentary Elections 2014[edit]

In November 2013, the party leader Gábor Vona, expressed optimism about the 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.[169] 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.[170]

On 26 January 2014, Vona held a rally in London where he sharply criticised the election law for preventing Hungarians living abroad from voting by mail at the parliamentary election.[171]

Electoral results[edit]

National Assembly[edit]

1In an electoral alliance with MIÉP, under the name of the "MIÉP–Jobbik Third Way Alliance of Parties", joined by Independent Smallholders’ Party (FKgP) organisations from 15 counties.

Election Votes Seats Rank Government Leader of the
national list
# % ±pp # +/−
20061 119,007 2.20%
0 / 386
±0 5th extra-parliamentary
2010 855,436 16.67% Increase14.47
47 / 386
Increase 47 3rd in opposition Gábor Vona
2014 1,020,476 20.22% Increase3.55
23 / 199
Decrease 24 3rd in opposition Gábor Vona
2018 1,092,669 19.06% Decrease1.16
26 / 199
Increase 3 2nd in opposition Gábor Vona

European Parliament[edit]

Election year # of overall votes % of overall vote # of overall seats won +/- Notes
2009 427,773 14.77% (3rd)
3 / 22
2014 340,287 14.67% (2nd)
3 / 21
Steady 0
2009 Seat winners:
  1. Krisztina Morvai
  2. Zoltán Balczó – His seat EP was taken over by Béla Kovács, when he became a member of the Hungarian Parliament in May 2010.
  3. Csanád Szegedi – He left the party in July 2012.
2014 Seat winners:
  1. Krisztina Morvai
  2. Zoltán Balczó
  3. Béla Kovács

Mayoral:

History of leaders[edit]

Image Name Entered office Left office Length of Leadership
1 No image.png Dávid Kovács 24 October 2003 25 November 2006 3 years, 1 month and 1 day
2 Gabor vona 2017.png Gábor Vona 25 November 2006 11 years, 4 months and 29 days

Literature[edit]

  • Kovács, András (2013). The Post-Communist Extreme Right: The Jobbik Party in Hungary. Right-Wing Populism in Europe: Politics and Discourse. London/New York: Bloomsbury. pp. 223–234. ISBN 978-1-78093-343-6. 
  • Vida, István (2011). "Jobbik Magyarországért Mozgalom (Jobbik)". Magyarországi politikai pártok lexikona (1846–2010) [Encyclopedia of the Political Parties in Hungary (1846–2010)] (in Hungarian). Gondolat Kiadó. pp. 362–365. ISBN 978-963-693-276-3. 

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