The Fidesz bigwigs are divided on whether they want to support MPP (Magyar Polgári Párt) or EMNP (Erdélyi Magyar Néppárt) in Romania. But they definitely don’t want anything to do with Hunor Kelemen’s RMDSZ (Román-Magyar Demokratikus Szövetség) which according to the opinion polls is the strongest Hungarian party in Romania with about 80% of the ethnic Hungarian vote.
Fidesz politicians have been frequent visitors in Romania of late because of the municipal elections that will be held tomorrow. But they have been campaigning for different anti-RMDSZ parties. Tamás Deutsch campaigned for EMNP in Județul Bihor (Bihar megye) a week or so ago. A few days later, István Tarlós, mayor of Budapest, visited Odorheiu Secuiesc/Székelyudvarhely in Județul Harghita (Hargita megye) campaigning for Jenő Szász, the chairman of MPP. Tarlós actually went there to initiate a sister-city relationship between Budapest and Székelyudvarhely, but he refused to hand over the invitation to the current mayor who is affiliated with RMDSZ. Instead, it was deposited with the mayoral hopeful, Jenő Szász, an old friend of László Kövér.
So, what’s going on? Most of the commentators are baffled and I am no exception. But one possible explanation is that the attitudes of Fidesz politicians toward the political formations of the Hungarian minority in Romania may be a reflection of a real political divide within the party.
More than a third of Fidesz voters could easily see themselves voting for Jobbik even though there is no question that Jobbik is a successor to the Hungarian Arrow Cross Movement of Ferenc Szálasi, a Nazi party. There is no sharp division between Jobbik and Fidesz. One seamlessly blends into the other.
This blending is possible because Fidesz, like any other large party that draws its membership from far and wide, includes people of diverse political views. That division also exists in the party leadership. I would definitely place László Kövér and Sándor Lezsák in the right wing of Fidesz while Tibor Navracsics and Zoltán Pokorni belong on the left. István Tarlós is not officially a member of the party but some of his utterances and decisions attest to his decidedly rightist political views. It’s enough to think of his allowing one of the Budapest theaters to be directed by a Jobbik sympathizer and an anti-Semitic dramatist. Kövér is most likely responsible for the removal of the statue of Mihály Károlyi, and I suspect that the idea of restoring the square in front of the parliament building to its state prior to March 19, 1944 was his idea.
László Kövér spent a rather long time at law school because as a student he was also taking courses in history at the Faculty of Arts, though as far as I know he didn’t get a degree in history. But his historical studies seem to have been in vain. All the clichés about the causes of the Treaty of Trianon can be found in Kövér’s speeches, some of them delivered in Romania. Moreover, his sponsorship of József Nyirő’s reburial is not an accident. It follows a pattern. The party Kövér is supporting in Romania is considered to be a far-right party.
Sándor Lezsák is another Fidesz leader, one of the deputy speakers of the house, who can be seen promoting far-right organizations. He can be seen around a far-right “civic” organization that is rewriting early Hungarian history. At the moment, their members are proceeding on horseback to Kazakhstan. These are the same people who are enamored by runic writing and the uniqueness of the Hungarians’ genes.
It seems to me that it is this right wing of Fidesz that is behind Jenő Szász and MPP. Mainstream Fidesz, including Viktor Orbán, seems to be supporting László Tőkés’s new party, EMNP. Tőkés is definitely Orbán’s man. Although Tőkés became well known for his role in the outbreak of the Romanian revolution against Ceauşescu in 1989, his later political fortunes were aided by Viktor Orbán. The new party organized by Tőkés and most likely assisted financially by Fidesz came into being only this past February.
So, here is the odd situation that two leading members of Fidesz support two different Hungarian parties in Romania. According to rumors Kövér and Orbán both have very strong views on the matter. An aside: It’s possible that one of Kövér’s problems with Tőkés is the Hungarian Reformed bishop’s “murky” private life. Only recently a book appeared about Tőkés in Hungary that shows the good bishop in a less than favorable light. Apparently the book is selling well in Romania, but it is hard to tell whether it will have an impact on the outcome of the election.
If the polls are correct and the Hungarian votes go to RMDSZ, Fidesz support of these two opposing parties is really irrelevant as far as Romanian politics are concerned. The divide over Hungarian parties in Romania may shed light, however, on internal divisions within Fidesz. Let us not forget that a few days ago when Ágnes Vadai (DK MP) asked about the emerging Horthy cult and the reburial of József Nyirő some Fidesz members of parliament joined their Jobbik colleagues in trying to drown her out. Jobbik and the right wing of Fidesz are often soul mates.