Jobbik’s leadership called on MP Andrea Varga-Damm to return her parliamentary mandate within 24 hours. If she does not comply, the group leadership of the opposition party “will initiate her expulsion from the group”, the party said in a statement on Wednesday.
The incident follows the adoption of a new law extending surveillance rights of the authorities that was also supported by Jobbik at the suggestion of Andrea Varga-Damm, who was the party’s lead MP on the subject.
The bill itself was opposed by most opposition parties, arguing that it allows the secret services to learn virtually everything about Hungarian citizens. In contrast, others have argued- not just on the government side- that the legislation alone does not allow for any total surveillance. Some even called the criticism of the law outright “hysteria.”
On Wednesday morning, however, Jobbik’s group presidency released a statement in which they said that they had made a mistake by supporting the bill. Jobbik, “if properly informed of the content of the bill and properly prepared for it, would never have given its name to the adoption of such a proposal.” It was then also noted that Jobbik “is not a party without consequences.”
Number of Controversial Law Changes Voted by Ruling Parties’ Majority in Parliament
Because Jobbik’s leadership has developed an “insoluble crisis of confidence” against Andrea Varga-Damm, they expect her to take responsibility for the matter and call upon her to return her mandate within 24 hours. “Should she not comply, the leadership of the opposition party group will initiate the expulsion of Andrea Varga-Damm from the Jobbik group,” they wrote in the statement.
Jobbik’s organization in Veszprém had previously stated that they would stand by Andrea Varga-Damm because she was an active member and they want to support her work, but if she was expelled, a decision on the fate of the organization in Veszprém would also be made, the statement added.
Some recent decisions regarding personal changes suggest that there is an ongoing battle in the party.
Jobbik Replaces Old Logo and Slogan
Not long ago, the presidency of the Jobbik group recalled former Jobbik president Tamás Sneider from the position of vice-president of the National Assembly, and Zoltán Balczó was nominated to replace him. According to the official justification, they wanted to find the best possible candidate for the position and it wasn’t a personal decision.
The party has undergone major changes in the last two years. After Jobbik failed to win the 2018 election, the former president, Gábor Vona, withdrew from party politics. Two politicians, the aforementioned Tamás Sneider and László Toroczkai, ran for the presidency. Torockai wanted to stop the party’s transformation to a moderate conservative people’s party and return to its radical roots. Eventually Sneider won, after which members loyal to Toroczkai left Jobbik and founded the ‘Mi Hazánk Mozgalom.’ In January 2020, a new presidency was set up under the leadership of Péter Jakab, after which several members of Parliament left the Jobbik group and the party. According to his critics, this is because Jakab declared a “revenge campaign” against those who were not his men.
Featured photo via Andrea Varga-Damm’s Facebok page