Domestic Politics

ELECTIONS IN HUNGARY 2018: Weekly Party Roundup #1

As elections approach, parties are gearing up. From now on till April 8, Hungary Today will publish a weekly review roundup on each Monday summing up what happened in Hungarian politics the week before.

In the wake of revelations that the Orbán government had quietly granted asylum to about 1,300 refugees last year , the issue remains in the center of debates in last week’s domestic politics. The government’s campaign against Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros goes on as well, while some opposition parties held gatherings with relevant speeches. Funnily (or sadly) enough, a survey shows that two third of the eligible voters think that George Soros’ party will run for the elections in April. Only 24% knew that such a party doesn’t exist.

 

Fidesz-KDNP 

Fidesz-KDNP members, following the lead of MP Szilárd Németh, walked out of a National Security Committee hearing focusing on the so-called “Soros Plan” in protest of green party (LMP) co-leader Bernadett Szél’s attendance. Németh called Szél a “strong national security risk” as previously, the politician was a program coordinator for Menedék – Hungarian Associations for Migrants, an organization “supported by Soros”. However, Heti Válasz has reported that the Association has also received government aid.

According to a recent survey of Nézőpont Institute, with a net approval rate of 54%, Viktor Orbán, the prime minister and leader of Fidesz, is still the most popular party chief.

Jobbik

On Saturday at the annual season-opening of the radical nationalists, Gábor Vona said that, based on survey, most people wants to get rid of PM Orbán, and claimed that Jobbik is ready to govern, and has the power and determination to take over. Vona outlined seven areas in which Jobbik would make its mark: enhancing security and democracy, abolishing corruption, boosting competitiveness, stopping immigration, burnishing national prestige and building social unity. He pledged to abide by international conventions while “quietly, without publicity, firmly defending Hungary against migration, terrorism and quotas.” He said the border fence was here to stay and other sections of the border would also get a fence protected by an independent border guard.

Jobbik continues to highlight that government’s migration policy failed, and has reiterated its claims that Fidesz has lost all credibility for conducting a “secretive” migrant policy while at the same time spending “tens of billions of forints” on a hate campaign.

MSZP – Párbeszéd

The prime ministerial candidate of the opposition MSZP (Hungarian Socialist Party) and Párbeszéd (Dialogue) parties, Gergely Karácsony, has said that he wants to steer Hungary away from “the politics of hatred and division” towards a western, just and knowledge-based society. Speaking on the fifth anniversary of Párbeszéd, which he co-leads, he said a party of the left-wing social democrats and a left-wing green party were not under any illusions that they are capable of representing a unified nation. But they believe in cooperation, and this is something they wish to further broaden: their doors were open to anyone who wants change, he added.

In Davos, George Soros said that Viktor Orbán is building a “mafia state”, and went further claiming that Fidesz has bought up opposition party MSZP and that it has “spies in the other green parties”. As a response, members of MSZP dismissed and harshly criticized Soros’ remarks, arguiding that the financier’s claims regarding the Socialists are “false and silly”.

The opposition party will submit a package of bills dubbed “Stop oligarchs” that would levy a special tax on “the hustlers of the past 8 years”, referring to governing Fidesz.

Gergely Karácsony has promised last week to reintroduce a 13th month pension in case they come into power.

Democratic Coalition (DK)

In his so called state-of-the-nation speech, Ferenc Gyurcsány, the leader of the leftist party DK called the government an “immoral mafia” which has “ruined the reputation of the country and shattered its dreams”. He criticized Socialist Party (MSZP) for accepting and receiving financing from Fidesz. He also criticised Fidesz for the relationship between the government and religious organisations, and for “talking more about George Soros” than about poverty, and though he said he would not “champion” the US billionaire, he added that “what we are facing is goddamn manipulation and terrible lies”.

The opposition party filed complaints over “the organization of Ukrainian pension migration”. Earlier this month, they launched a signature drive to scrap eligibility for Hungarian pension of Ukrainian and Russian citizens who had registered in Hungarian border villages, the party claims, with the sole purpose of taking advantage of the related inter-state agreement.

LMP 

On the National Security Committee hearing scandal, the PM candidate of LMP (Politics can be Different) Bernadett Szél said lawmakers of the governing parties had “thwarted” the meeting, adding that she would appeal to László Kövér, Speaker of the National Assembly of Hungary, and to the Committee on Justice over the matter.

Former LMP MP Gábor Vágó is back in politics as well, and will run as LMP candidate in Kecskemét. Between 2010 and 2014 he was an MP representing LMP, but then decided to quit the party.

Momentum

According to Forbes Magazine, Momentum Movement leader András Fekete-Győr is at the moment one of the 30 people under 30 years old to have the most influence on European policy.

Momentum however, who seeks primarily to address students and youth, doesn’t seem so far to have found the tone and dynamics by which they successfully lead NOlimpia campaign, perhaps due to reports of internal conflict in the party.

 

Együtt

The opposition party Együtt (Together) decided to withdraw its individual candidates in constituencies where LMP’s Bernadett Szél and Ákos Hadházy are running for the April 8 elections. They also withdrew their candidates in Szeged and Miskolc in favour of the candidates of MSZP.

Two-Tailed Dog Party (MKKP)

The European Court of Human Rights ruled in favor of the satirical party, saying the authorities had acted unlawfully by fining them for encouraging people to sabotage a government-initiated referendum on European migrant quotas.

They successfully trolled a Fidesz organized milk distribution in the VII. district. The local leader of Fidesz distributed dairy for residents with his name and the logo of the party on the bottle. Local MKKP members, as they were eligible for the free milk as well, removed Fidesz sticker, put their sticker on it instead, and distributed it further.