Jobbik’s campaign promises are being fulfilled by Fidesz

A have a few favorites in the Hungarian media. One of them is “Elek Tokfalvy,” an obvious pen name that has a delicious early nineteenth-century flavor. And that this is exactly what “Elek Tokfalvy” had in mind because “his picture” shows the torso of a gentleman with a hair style and clothing that is typical of the period. And why the name Elek Tokfalvy? It is the Hungarian reworking of Alexis de Tocqueville’s name. After all, “ville” in Hungarian is “falú.” Here is our original Elek Tokfalvy.

Tocqueville

Alexis de Tocqueville

Considering Elek Tokfalvy’s advanced age he seems to be very much at home in the twenty-first century and writes excellent articles on Hungarian politics. His latest, which appeared in Hírszerző, is especially instructive reading. It is a frightening article that unfortunately is not based on some fanciful ruminations of a “political scientist” but on a point-by-point comparison of the neo-Nazi Jobbik’s campaign promises in the spring of 2010 and the current Fidesz government’s actions. The results are rather alarming.

This latest article of Tokfalvy is an update of his earlier piece on Jobbik’s election program that was published in April 2010. Then he maintained that the programs of Jobbik and Fidesz were not radically different with the exception of Jobbik’s racist overtones, something that Jobbik didn’t advertise in its campaign literature.

Tokfalvy spells out on the basis of a Jobbik campaign pamphlet what the party considered the ten most important steps it would take if elected. How has Fidesz accommodated the far-right “opposition”?

Jobbik’s first ten steps

1. In the interest of ending political criminality we would put an end to the right of parliamentary immunity. Fidesz hasn’t managed to fulfill this promise in its entirety yet but they have made great strides. They paraded a few important former government officials in handcuffs and revoked Ferenc Gyurcsány’s immunity. They may do the same thing to András Simor, the governor of the central bank.

2. We will decrease taxes and thus will save existing jobs and create new ones. The decrease in taxes has been achieved but the rest remains a pipedream. In addition, the move resulted in a large hole in the budget.

3. We will save forex mortgage holders from eviction by exchanging their loans in foreign currency into forints. The cost of these transactions will be borne by the banks. Most of this Jobbik promise was fulfilled by the Fidesz government with the well-known results: the forint weakened and sovereign debt couldn’t be controlled, as was predicted by many.

4. We will decrease the cost of utilities by nationalizing the energy sector. Half a billion forints was spent to purchase MOL shares and the government is working on shrinking consumer utility bills. This despite the fact that the undersecretary in charge of the energy sector resigned in protest because he is convinced that such a move will endanger Hungary’s electric supply.

5. We will place extra taxes on multinational companies to reduce the burdens of domestic enterprises. This suggestion was accepted and the deed has been done. Except Hungarian smaller companies are closing their doors because the multinationals can’t expand and therefore no orders are coming their way.

6. We will take away the extra large pensions from the most important MSZMP politicians and the money thus saved will be distributed among the other pensioners. Maria Wittner’s proposal was immediately picked up by Fidesz.

7. In order to put an end to idleness assistance will be coupled with public work. The pay thus received will not be given in cash but on a so-called “social card.”  Public work programs began and plans for work camps are under way. There is still no “social card.”

8. We will change the law governing land ownership in order to prevent the sale of land to foreigners. Done.

9. In order to make life safer we will strengthen the police force by adding a new force, the gendarmerie. This promise hasn’t been fulfilled because, says our Tokfalvy, Sándor Pintér’s socialization is different. What he means here is that Pintér held important positions in the police force during the Kádár regime.

10. We will ensure Hungarian citizenship to Hungarians living in the annexed territories. Succeeded admirably and they are still perfecting it.

What is the lesson? There is a Russian proverb according to which “he who owns the pub also owns the tune.” Perhaps the proverb is not quite accurate: “the pub is owned by Fidesz but the tune belongs to Jobbik.”

So, now you have become acquainted with our very own Alexis de Tocqueville. He even knows Russian!

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Kirsten
Guest

Spooky comparison. It makes me worry what programme Jobbik will come up next, now that so much of their earlier programme has been more or less realised…

Gabriella
Guest

Kristen, Jobbik will have no choice but start to gravitate toward “no excuse” open racist, especially antisemitic. Otherwise there is nothing else that differentiates it from Fidesz.
A few weeks ago I put a handful of Jobbik blogs, newspapers on my Google Reader, I could not make myself to check Kuruc info or MN otherwise. This way, when I check nightly my Reader, and there are more than 50 new entries, I look up some, enough to upset my stomach, but stop short of throwing up. I decided this way I can take it in small doses, and after all it is not a bad idea to know your enemy.
I don’t know if I am getting sensitive, and it takes less time to get to the end of my tolerance, but the last few days I started to feel an overwhelming fear from it. That would right there prove my theory then.
Anybody else notice it?

Member

Gabriella, I honestly cannot bring myself to read those right-wing nuts. I only come across with them when someone points them out to me. I believe that many Fidesz politicians will leave the sinking ship soon and tie themselves to the Jobbik. As Jobbik gains support with their outright ultra-right agenda (jews, gypsies, foreigners are responsible for whatever is bad in Hungary), Fidesz comrades will realize that their well paying jobs are at risk, and slowly will defeat. If some liberal movement will not be able to gain support as an alternative Jobbik will simply take over the government.

Paul
Guest

Gabriella – there was a very worrying programme on the rise of the extreme right on Radio 4 (UK) the other day. It’s not just in Hungary, but in most countries, including the US – it’s just more obvious in Hungary.
I’m afraid that as long as the current financial situation is with us, so too are the extreme right. People see the mess they are in, blame the current parties/politicians/system for it (often quite rightly) and take the easy option – the parties who promise everything, give simple answers to everything and give you someone to blame.
But the good news is that these parties always fade once things pick up again, and have a very reliable tendency to fight amongst themselves and split into factions as soon as they get a whiff of power.

Paul
Guest

As for Jobbik – they are effectively the right-wing of Fidesz. Much of their support shares the same ideas and moves freely between the two parties.
My feeling is that Orbán effectively created Jobbik (i.e. he allowed/encouraged it to be created – where was it before 2006?). It is very useful for Fidesz, firstly as proof that they are not too right-wing (Worried about us? Just look at what Jobbik are saying!) But also as a means of testing its more extreme ideas (let Jobbik run with it, if it’s going down well, adopt it).
I suspect Orbán is quite happy for Jobbik to exist at the moment and thinks he can get rid of it any time he wants to – if he needs to. The question is just how much of a Faustian pact it is. It will be interesting to see if it can be got rid of as easily as the left, and if it ends up being more dangerous than useful to OV.
Will Orbán one day have to pay a price for allowing/encouraging Jobbik to exist, and what will that price be?

Jano
Guest

With all due respect, I think this post is a little pointless. Sure, these points were in the Jobbik program and Fidesz executed them, but this is NOT why Jobbik is is an unacceptable neo-nazi force. These points have nothing to do with the reality of Jobbik. I certainly disagree with many of these points but most of them are not at all outrageous suggestions.
In the real sense Fidesz is far from Jobbik much farther then their voter base are. OV’s governing philosophy is autocratic, old fashioned, rule of order based (which is very repulsive to me) but not at all anti-semitic and not anti-roma (please don’t counterargue with their voter base here because 80% of the population are anti Roma, including vast majority of the opposition supporters and, surprisingly, many Romas themselves). The xenophobia is there but only on a rethorical level, which would surely not be the case with Jobbik government in place.
Hopefully we’re never going to have to observe Jobbik in a governmental role, a scenario the chances of which are constantly increasing to my horror.

GDF
Guest

Paul: “As for Jobbik – they are effectively the right-wing of Fidesz.”
OK, but where is the left wing? I can’t see any trace of it.
My assessment is that FIDESZ morphed into Jobbik, or they morphed into each other.
By the way, I am curious to hear some details about the rise of the extreme right in the US, I don’t see it and I am here.

Jano
Guest

GDF: “but where is the left wing?”
The trick is that you only see left wing. Fidesz is only right wing in terms of conservative way of life philosophy, but their economy and their populism would make old Karl fondle his beard very satisfied.

Member

Jano, you are right – these ideas are questionable but not that outrageous. Also thinking about my friends who naively, sometimes enthusiastically, voted for the FIDESZ the party has to be very acceptable. IMHO the FIDESZ is big time anti-semitic, actually more than it’s voters, just consider the new “constitution”.
The point here is they are not so much different from the nationalist loonies of the JOBBIK. We direct all our fears toward the JOBBIK and one day to our surprise we’ll wake up and the FIDESZ is happily realized all our fears. No KKK is needed. Who knows they may even absorb all the JOBBIK voters. I mean what’s the point voting for a party of hatred when they have no power. Let’s follow the big boys.

Jano
Guest

Mutt: “FIDESZ is big time anti-semitic, actually more than it’s voters, just consider the new “constitution” ”
If you think that just read kuruc about the adventures of Likud Viktor… What part of the constitution are you referring to here? I think it’s stupid, haphazard, incompetent and ridiculous, but anti-semitic? Sorry I don’t agree. Neither do I with your second paragraph. No offence, but I think this time you decided that the anti-semitism is there and then looked for proofs.

Karl Pfeifer
Guest

@Jano@
Whenever the present Fidesz-KDNP government is asked about open anti-Semitism and hate-speech in Fidesz-related media it rejects any and all responsibility. Its position has remained unchanged since December 2008: “Fidesz has found itself in a precarious situation: on the one hand, the leftwing – out of politically motivated orthodoxy – attempts to portray the party as anti-, while the extreme-right is determined to stamp it as a ‘quasi-Zionist’ organization.“
Fidesz near Think-tank December 2008: http://www.budapestanalyses.hu/docs/En/Analyses_Archive/analysys_208_en.html [↩
Jano the reality shows that one of the close friends of V.Orbán and L. Kövér Zsolt Bayer is an antisemitic rabble rouser in the Fidesz near daily Magyar Hirlap. Also the last political deal of Tarlós with Dörner and Csurka, who has taken a stand for Fidesz is evidence that there is not much ideological difference between Fidesz and Jobbik and that the analysis of Eva is as the British say spot-on.

Lutra lutra
Guest

There is a way that Jobbik could make themselves more electable – purge the racist bigots and play up the populist “clean hands” element of their offer.
Now that would be truly scary…

Joseph Simon
Guest

A great deal of nonsense is being written on this Blog, with Eva in the lead, as usual. The Jobbik seeks simple solutions, quick fixes, not unlike politicians elsewhere. I know former MSZP supporters who voted for the Jobbik. Most people in Hungary support the Jobbik’s position on the banks, the gypsies, etc. Orbán is not an autocrat nor a neo-nazi. He is simply a politician and that says it all. Your comments are childish.

Member
Paul: “I suspect Orbán is quite happy for Jobbik to exist at the moment and thinks he can get rid of it any time he wants to – if he needs to. ” I think not. I cannot see Vona giving up his throne or Orban do the same. Many members of both parties are in for fame and/or money. Hungary’s corruption standing very clearly shows that. If you look at the countries on the list, more corrupt the government, less likely democracy occurs. If anyone, it will be Orban who would somehow have to step back, and not on his own… Jano: “but not at all anti-semitic and not anti-roma (please don’t counter argue with their voter base here because 80% of the population are anti Roma, including vast majority of the opposition supporters and, surprisingly, many Romas themselves). ” Maybe you are right on the numbers. I am not sure where the statistics came from although. The problem is that Orban more represents his party, then the party members themselves or their supporters. It is not the supporters who create policies and such, they are just all happy that someone does it for them, and they can follow… Read more »
Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Jano: “I certainly disagree with many of these points but most of them are not at all outrageous suggestions.”
One doesn’t have to call them outrageous but let’s call them injurious to Hungary and her reputation.

Paul
Guest
GDF – I’ve read quite a bit about extreme-right and neo-Nazi groups in the US, but they are probably such a small minority that the normal person in the street probably is unaware of them (ditto, no doubt, for the UK). But who needs neo-Nazis to be worried about when you have a Republican party determined to make the country ungovernable because they don’t approve of the electors’ choice? Who needs minority nutters when so many believe Obama wasn’t born in the States and/or is a Muslim? Who needs an extreme-right when you have the Tea Party and the sainted Palin? And defining a left-wing of Fidesz is a bit difficult as ‘normal’ left and right labels don’t always make sense with them, as they have both nationalistic and ‘socialist’ policies and outlooks (national socialists?). But there are undoubtedly moderate people within Fidesz and we are starting to see them speak out now. Unfortunately, the ‘moderate wing’ are caught in the usual trap of a party led to enormous victory by a charismatic leader – they fear to challenge the leader because they know without Orbán they are nothing. We had the same problem with St Blair for the first… Read more »
Paul
Guest
Some 1 – if you read the Jobbik and right-wing sites and blogs, you soon discover that Vona’s position is not at all secure. As with all extreme right-wing groups, Jobbik is a coalition of a huge variety of opinions, some mutually incompatible. It is only held together by the fact that it has power and believes it might get more. But the moment something goes wrong or doubts start to creep in, or serious opposition to Vona appears, the whole thing will split wide open. Vona’s only safe as long as he can keep Jobbik looking like a united party and manage to both appear not too extreme to non-Jobbik supporters AND still convince the nutters that he is only playing politics and hasn’t lost his faith. He is walking a very high wire, not at all secure at either end. There are many in Jobbik who feel the party doesn’t need Vona to survive and even some, possibly quite a few, who think that they’d be better off with a ‘real’ leader. Whereas Fidesz know only too well that they absolutely need Orbán to stay in power. Without him they are nothing and have nothing. He is the… Read more »
Odin's Lost Eye
Guest
When the ‘king’ has no clothes and others have some that will fit the ‘king’. The ‘king’ is likely to steal them. The original ideas of the Viktator and Fidesz were similar in many ways to those of Vona and his merry bunch of poisonous little toads. They have a common objective which is to re-create a new mightier Hungarian empire and gain hegemony over all lands from the Adriatic Sea in the West to the Transylvanian Mountains in the east and in the North from the Tatra Mountains to the Black sea in the south. God help those who live in these territories if this ever occurs. I have read that the Mighty One is beginning to conscript his new army. Where will they live? Most of the existing army barracks are in ruins. Who will they fight? I think the Viktator only wants them as he had no toy soldiers to play with when he was a child. I would not worry too much about Vona as The Viktator can always suppress them under the treaty of Paris 1947 (or can he as the constitution says everything which happened between 1943 and 1998 did not exist. Oh my… Read more »
Member

Ding! Ding!
!!! GAME OVER !!!
The supreme court judges are replaced in Hungary by the FIDESZ. One of them is Jozsef Szajer’s wife (Szajer is the guy who crafted the constitution on his iPad). Run for the borders while they are still open 🙂

Member

Mutt: “The supreme court judges are replaced in Hungary by the FIDESZ. One of them is Jozsef Szajer’s wife”
What a shocking surprise! Let’s just wait until Aniko Levai will decide to go back to work….

Jano
Guest
“One doesn’t have to call them outrageous but let’s call them injurious to Hungary and her reputation.” I don’t see any amongst these points that doesn’t have a European precedent. “Csendorseg” exists in many countries (although it’d be totally useless in Hungary), the dual citizenship law is very similar to the Italian one (although it’s establishment should have been preceded by extensive negotiations with the neighbouring countries), taxing the multi’s is a general populist sentiment everywhere (with some truth to it), former communist party members’ pensions have been greatly reduced in Poland (Nobody shed a sweat for general Jaruzelski, and I kind of agree too), etc. These points themselves are questionable but nothing uncivilized or unacceptable. Some1: Of course, if you look into a huge conglomerate then you’ll find elements and incidents supporting what you want to prove. But as Paul pointed it out, “But there are undoubtedly moderate people within Fidesz and we are starting to see them speak out now.” So if you look trying to find proofs contradicting your theory you’ll find plenty of them, the hard-right media uses them extensively. If you have the time you might find this a pretty interesting exercise: Regardless of your… Read more »
Jano
Guest

Mutt: No comment, good old Hungarian nepotism, now in shameless orange colors. Funny thing is that this is not at all about Mrs. Szajer’s talents. She might be the best person for the job (I’m not saying she is, I don’t have a clue about her), doesn’t matter.

Correction
Guest

To #4 and MOL:
It cost actually half a TRILLION forints.
Source: wikipedia.hu:
“2011. május 24-én a második Orbán-kormány felvásárolta az orosz Surgutneftegas részvényeit, így az állam 21,2%-nyi részvényhez jutott összesen 1,88 milliárd euró értékben, (aznapi árfolyamon számolva mintegy 500 milliárd forintért). A vásárlást várhatóan augusztus végéig lezárják.[3]”

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Jano brushes everything aside as not important , not outrageous, not injurious. But csendőrség in Hungarian history has a very bad reputation and it stands for something no one wants to be back. As for dual citizenship of Italians, most Italians outside of Italy live in the United States. It is a different situation than giving citizenship with voting rights to large number of Hungarians in the neighboring countries and talking about the unification of the nation. As one can see in case of Slovakia (and Romania will also be soon enough unhappy) that such move doesn’t help good neighborly relations.

Member

Jano: This is not you garden variety nepotism, like the 1/3 or so of the KDNP MPs employ relatives in the parliament. These are high court judges. It’s a ticking bomb under the democracy. The usual “No worries. She’s a good gal” FIDESZ style defense is not acceptable here. This is like Obama replacing a supreme court justice with Pelosi’s husband with no hearings. She’ll be ducking for a few months and then start paying back the favor.

Kirsten
Guest
Jano: “I don’t see any amongst these points that doesn’t have a European precedent.” That alone does not secure ‘quality’, in some cases quite the opposite. The point in these ten points is not that their realisation could (perhaps) have individually made either no big harm or may not have led to a worsening of the situation. However, what the entirety of the measures has meant is an alienation of Hungary from its neighbours and many more countries, it has weakened the financial position of the government, in the eyes of the international investors and of the international organisations (at least one of these will be needed should help with financing of the debt become necessary), it has alienated a substantial part of the society, including earlier Fidesz voters. So the points individually perhaps are not outrageous, but given all the unpleasant consequences, the satisfaction of Hungarians after one and a half year of Fidesz rule is not impressive either. And yet, my point was that I was thinking if all that Jobbik demanded last time has been fulfilled, what should that party demand next time? It is very likely that this will be even more government control of economy… Read more »
Jano
Guest

Eva, Kirsten: Please read my posts a little more carefully, you are both literate people so I give you the benefit of the doubt of jist overlooking my overall point. Mutt didn’t agree with me either in the end but he understood what i was talking about.
But I’ll explain again. I never said that none of them are injurious or bad. E.g. I find the flat tax unjust and economically detrimental (I thought the same when SZDSZ was campaigning with it). What I said was that they are not unprecedented, and yes, not outrageous. So if you eg start explaing why we shouldn’t have a csendorseg then you’re prenaching to the choir. (But for the wrong reasons, this is actually a parallel situation with the red star lawsuits)

Jano
Guest

Mutt: oh this time i didn’t mean anything like that. It’s disgusting and outrageous. What I was referring to is that their argument that she’s a capable candidate is not valid even if it’s true.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Jano: “I never said that none of them are injurious or bad.”
I think you underestimate the seriousness of these “promises” and that Fidesz actually fulfill these promises. I think it is terrible. Inexcusable.

Kirsten
Guest

Jano, leaving the point aside whether these steps are outrageous or not, I now remembered that Fidesz did not have a real economic programme before the last elections, just ‘general’ ideas which had to be put into practical policies later. And then it is revealing that the actually adopted policies are close to the points demanded by another party, unfortunately a party that does not even pretend to have a ‘modern European’ outlook. People may worry what Fidesz plans if it feels so inspired by the economic programme of Jobbik. And it may not even be necessary that they truly share the xenophobic and other ideas of Jobbik, it is sufficient that they lack ideas so that they have to take recourse to the ideas presented by others. It is worrying that of all ideas presented they found Jobbik’s irresistible. One does not know (once they are at it) whether it could also continue in other areas. As I said, not necessarily because of belief but because of a lack of own answers to the current problems. I think the comparison presented by Mr Tokfalvy can be interpreted this way, too.

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