One of the commentators on this blog confidently announced that there are no neo-nazis in Hungary. They are the figment of the imagination of Gyurcsány and his "gang." Of course, this is nonsense. There is a sizable group of people that fall into the category of the extreme right. Tibor Závecz, researcher of Szonda Ipsos, was interviewed on the subject of the Hungarian extreme right the other day in168 Óra. Based on careful research Szonda Ipsos estimates that 9-10% of the Hungarian adult population can be categorized as followers of extreme right ideology. That is not a small number. It means a group of about 700-800,000 people. Whom do they categorize as people with extreme political views? The most important consideration is that they oppose the parliamentary system and democratic institutions. They consider liberal democracy anarchy. They believe in "order." Moreover, they believe that creating order out of this alleged chaos is their calling. The most extreme group within the radicals would like to get rid of the courts altogether and take things into their own hands. Their ideology also hinges on "being Hungarian," and they are the ones who decide who is Hungarian and who is not.
According to Závecz, although this extreme right radicalism has most likely existed for a long time, it "came out of the closet" only after 2000. Or, put another way, prior to 2000 people of right radical persuasion kept their views more or less to themselves. Sure, before 2000 MIÉP had a following of about 200,000, but this represented only a fraction of right radicals. In fact, Szonda Ipsos estimates that their numbers haven't really changed. It's just that in the last eight years or so right radicals feel that they no longer have to hide their political views because their ideas have become more or less acceptable. They have also become politically hyperactive. They don't need any outside urging to go to demonstrate or to go to vote. Currently 80-90% of them say that they would vote if the elections were held this Sunday, compared to only 50% of the population at large. This is an especially interesting statistic since they don't really believe in elections. But of course, they take advantage of the democratic process as long as it exists.
The right radicals are becoming bolder and bolder. They test how far they can go without consequence, and the very liberal Hungarian law is incapable of handling all the iterations of this aggressive minority. Of course, not all 700-800,000 right radicals would go out and throw Molotov cocktails, but they sympathize with those who do.
Every age group among the right radicals has its own grievance. The young ones consider last year's austerity measures catastrophic, although Hungary experienced only a relatively mild drop in living standards. When these young guys talk about Trianon it is no more than a pose because they know nothing about it, and the loss of territory in 1918-1919 has no measurable effect on their lives. The whole country is traditionally pessimistic but these right radicals are extremely discontented.
If the group of right radicals is so large why don't they try their hand at forming a party and taking power away from the two big parties? They know that they are not strong enough to go it alone. They hate Gyurcsány and MSZP more than they dislike Orbán and Fidesz. Out of necessity they, at least for the time being, support Fidesz. But they are not really happy with this alliance. It is not Fidesz's program that moves them but the hope that with the help of Fidesz they can get rid of MSZP and the liberals. Eighty percent of them vote for Fidesz at any given election.
Finally, Závecz thinks that the existing laws are not strong enough to keep this extreme radical group from endangering Hungary's democratic structure. Who should try to restrain this ideology and its practitioners? Závecz thinks that it should be the party who wants to use them and who wants their votes. And surely, this is Viktor Orbán and his party. Well. . . .