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The West Shifts to the Right, the East to the Left. The Rise-and-Rise of Viktor Orbán’s European Allies

Dániel Deme 2024.06.10.

The elections to the European Parliament have brought sizeable gains to national-conservative political forces in Europe, as well as an embarrassing defeat for the far-left progressive forces. However, as center-right party headquarters in Western Europe have mostly been aloud with celebrations, the mood in Central and Eastern Europe was somewhat muted.

Based on preliminary records, the centrist and right-wing factions in the EP have gained over 20 MEPs, more likely to join from yet non-aligned newcomers. Plus eight seats for the EPP, plus four for the ECR, and plus eight for the ID are a major victory for the European right. The eurofederalist progressive forces on the other hand have lost a staggering 22 seats in the far-left Renew, and an equally shocking 19 seats from the Greens faction. The decisive factor, however, will be where the yet 37 new non-aligned MEPs will go after the post-election horse-trading is over, including the Hungarian Fidesz’s 11 new MEPs and the AfD’s 15 new seats.


The biggest upset of the night was by most reports the dissolution of the French National Assembly by a visibly disappointed President Macron. With only 15% of the vote against Marine Le Pen’s center-right, National Rally’s 32% was an unmitigated embarrassment for the French President’s party, and a huge win for one of Viktor Orbán’s long-term allies on the European Scene. There is rumored to be a new right-wing faction in the making in the European Parliament, the result of which will present Orbán’s Fidesz, Le Pen’s NR, and Giorgia Meloni’s FdI with new options.

Jordan Bardella (L) and Marine Le Pen (R) celebrate after the elections. Photo: FB Marine Le Pen


Some upset in Italy for the political right, but not on the top, as some predicted. Giorgia Meloni’s FdI came in strong with 28% of the vote against their main rivals, the left-wing Democratic party, who gained 24.5% of the vote. Another party on the center-right, Forza Italia, gained 9%, but Matteo Salvini’s Lega were the big losers of the night. Yet with Meloni strengthened, Fidesz has retained one of their most important allies in Strasbourg.


The elections have ended with utter humiliation for Germany’s radical leftist government, with Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s SPD gaining only 14%, their worst result in living memory. Their coalition partners, The Greens, finished with 12% and the FDP with 5.2%. The anti-immigration center-right AFD’s 16% is interpreted by many as a political earthquake in Germany, as a party that is now officially under the surveillance of the German intelligence services for alleged ties to “right-wing extremism,” and whose political candidates have faced violence and intimidation throughout the entire election campaign, and still managed to come second in the polls. The winning spot went to the CDU/CSU coalition, who have in recent years strongly shifted to the left, but will most likely still be refraining from pursuing the radical leftist agenda of the current German traffic light coalition in the European Parliament.


One of the top casualties of the EP election night was Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, a long-running European nemesis of Orbán’s government. After his party’s (VLD) flop at the polls (55%), he has decided to fall on his sword, giving way to the formation of a possible new right-wing government. Out of the three parties who have managed to reach over 13%, two are national-conservatives (N-VA and the VB), members of the ID and ECR group respectively. This is all music to the ears for the Hungarian government party, as relations between the Hungarian and Belgian right are strong and active.

Former Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo. Photo: Facebook Alexander De Croo


In Spain, the centrist People’s Party’s victory of the governing Socialists can also be considered a welcome result for the Hungarian right, even though Fidesz’s real allies and political soulmates are the anti-immigration, eurosceptic Vox party. Santiago Abascal’s party has gained two seats, and are up with six MEPs.


Closer to home, Hungary’s southern neighbor has also seen a shift to the right. In Slovenia, Janez Jansa’s conservative SDS have come up on top with 31%, convincingly beating the governing radical leftist Gibanje Sloboda party. Although the question of arming Ukraine has divided Slovenian and Hungarian conservatives in the past, attitudes are shifting and the election result could give Jansa’s and Orbán’s political forces a new dynamic in the European Parliament.

Facebook: SDS – Slovenska Demokratska Stranka


Very important news for the Orbán government from Austria. Hungary’s western neighbor has sent the sovereigntist, anti-immigration FPÖ to first place with 25.7%, with the centrist Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) in close second place. Even though in recent weeks, the ÖVP has been sending mixed signals towards Hungary, with a spokesperson for Austria’s foreign ministry demanding a “rigorous continuation of the Article 7 procedure against Hungary,” with the FPÖ in the lead, they may decide to show more moderation in their EPP-motivated resentment towards their eastern neighbor. Herbert Kickl’s FPÖ will no doubt be a strong ally to the Hungarian Fidesz party in disputes concerning euro-federalism and migration.


No such positive news from the north, as far as the Hungarian government is concerned. In Slovakia, the radical student movement Progressive Slovakia has managed to snatch victory with some 3% over their main rivals, Robert Fico’s Smer SD. The assassination attempt against Prime Minister Fico has not altered people’s voting preferences in Slovakia, but the extremely low 34.4% election turnout has clearly worked in favor of the radical liberals.


Those who have predicted negative ramifications against Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s government after allegations of serious human rights abuses, crackdown on national media, and attacks on the independence of the judicial system, have been proven wrong. The left-wing alliance led by the Civic Coalition (PO) has come out on top with 37% against the Law and Justice’s 36%. Not a major difference, one might say, but it is certainly not great news for Viktor Orbán, as the result demonstrated that his most important allies in the Central European space, Jaroslaw Kaczynski’s conservatives, have still not found the recipe to win elections in Poland.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski during a campaign event in Poland. Photo: Facebook Prawo i Sprawiedliwość


Although Orbán’s allies, former Prime Minister Andrej Babis’s ANO party, has come up on top with 26%, the current left-wing government coalition’s candidates have performed somewhat better than expected (22%). It is somewhat of a mixed bag, but this should give some extra momentum to Babis’s campaign for next year’s parliamentary elections in the Czech Republic.

The “parties of the elites” in Europe have had a major setback, while the conservative patriotic parties are doing really well across Europe, commented Frank Füredi, director of Mathias Corvinus Collegium in Brussels. With both the German and French elites “licking their wounds,” the result of the EP elections looks really encouraging, said the renowned conservative academic.

EP Elections: Confident Win for FIDESZ. However...
EP Elections: Confident Win for FIDESZ. However...

Newcomer Tisza Party manages a near complete wipe-out of the traditional left scene.Continue reading

Featured Image: Facebook Marine Le Pen

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