Following his defeat in last week’s party leadership election, far-right Jobbik member László Toroczkai has decided to set up a platform within the radical nationalist party to “return the party to the ideology laid out in its founding deed”.
Jobbik politician László Toroczkai arriving for a press conference announcing the creation of a new “party platform” on May 22nd (Photo: MTI – Tibor Illyés)
Speaking at a press conference today, the mayor of the Southern Hungarian village of Ásotthalom announced the creation of a grouping within the party called “Mi magunk” (We Ourselves), that was proposed at a meeting of seven Jobbik mayors and “several mid-ranking” party officials last Friday. In addition, press reports note that prominent Jobbik MPs Dóra Dúró and Előd Novák (who is also Dúró’s husband) will join the new grouping.
Toroczkai noted that Jobbik’s current rules neither prohibit platforms within the party nor contain stipulations concerning their operations. He added that their initiative now awaits approval by Jobbik’s presidium. In addition, he threatened that,
if the leadership rejected the new platform, a “party split” could ensue.
The grouping’s name, “Mi magunk”, matches with the name of the leftist Irish republican political party Sinn Féin, which also translates to “We Ourselves.” It is unclear whether Toroczkai and his allies deliberately chose to take up the name of the Irish party perhaps best known for its historical relationship with the Irish Republican Army.
Toroczkai himself is a far-right figure who came to international attention due to a number of controversial actions he took as Mayor of Ásotthalom. These included, among others, the creation of a widely-mocked video “message to illegal immigrants from Hungary,” as well as the passage of local ordinances banning muezzins operating in public areas, burkas and chadors, and “propaganda activities that present marriage in other ways than the bond between a man and a woman.” All of Toroczkai’s regulations were later annulled by Hungary’s Constitutional Court.
Toroczkai was defeated by moderate Tamas Sneider in Jobbik’s leadership election on May 12th; the latter seems to be committed to continuing Jobbik’s shift toward the center and away from its openly racist, xenophobic, and anti-Semitic past.
After his win last week, Sneider claimed that he did not expect Jobbik to “split or splinter.” At the same time, left-wing news site Index notes that many centrist politicians within the party would rather see Toroczkai depart, with one commenting
I’d be happy if Laci [Toroczkai] would go to hell and take the rest of the rednecks with him.
Likewise, in a recent article Index argued that Jobbik’s far-right wing has effectively aided the continued dominance of Viktor Orbán’s ruling Fidesz, and has served as a “tester” of sorts for how far Fidesz could push its ideology and messaging.
It should also be noted that, if Toroczkai and his allies do break off, it would not be the first time that a far-right splinter group left Jobbik in the wake of an election defeat. In 2014, which likewise saw a Fidesz election win, a far-right group by the name of Magyar Hajnal (“Hungarian Dawn”) was formed by disgruntled Jobbik members. However, the new party, whose name came from the ultra-nationalist Greek Golden Dawn Party, and whose first policy proposals included ensuring that all of its leaders had “clean” (that is, non-Jewish or Roma) family trees, fizzled out rather quickly, and has essentially disappeared from the Hungarian political landscape.