Rise of Jobbik and the upcoming by-election in Tapolca-Ajka

The headline of today’s Népszabadság editorial was “Shock.” It referred to an Ipsos poll published yesterday that showed that Jobbik’s popularity is getting dangerously close to Fidesz’s. The government party has a 21% share of eligible voters, Jobbik has 18%, and MSZP has 12%. The newspaper’s editors attribute the steady growth of Jobbik’s base to Viktor Orbán’s campaign against refugees, foreigners in general, and foreign banks and businesses and to his turning up the volume on nationalistic sentiment. Fidesz is steadily losing followers, and lately they seem to be joining the ranks of Jobbik.

What makes these figures shocking is not so much the growth of Jobbik but the rapid decline of Fidesz. Before democratic Hungarians panic, they should remember the results of the national election of 2014 when 20.22% of the voters cast their ballots for Jobbik. Currently what we are seeing is a loss in popularity of the government party, the steady growth of Jobbik, the stagnation of the democratic opposition, and a still large bloc of undecided voters.

The last thing Fidesz needs right now is a Jobbik victory in Tapolca-Ajka, two of the larger towns in the electoral district (which also includes sixty villages) where by-elections will be held next month as a result of the death of a Fidesz member of parliament and where Jobbik is said to be strong. Some commentators believe that all three contenders–the MSZP-DK supported Ferenc Pad, Lajos Rig of Jobbik, and Zoltán Fenyvesi of Fidesz–have an equal chance of winning the race. So, let’s take a look at the political situation in Tapolca, where Fidesz seems to think the election will be decided.

Zoltán Dobó, the mayor of Tapolca, is a member of Jobbik. Apparently his election as mayor was largely due to his vigorous defense of the local hospital that was supposed to be either closed or stripped of some of its functions. Local Fidesz politicians, including the then incumbent mayor, misjudged the situation and took the government’s side on the hospital issue. Dobó’s victory didn’t make the whole town “brown.” Only three Jobbik candidates managed to win seats on the nine-member council, a number that includes the mayor himself. Fidesz is still in the majority on the council. Moreover, Dobó defeated the Fidesz candidate with a margin of only 146 votes.

It seems that this time around the Fidesz brain trust decided that Jobbik is a real threat to a Fidesz victory, which is considered to be a must given the waning popularity of the party and the rise of Jobbik. So, they have launched an anti-Jobbik assault, including a negative campaign against the person of Lajos Rig, currently deputy mayor of Tapolca.

Finding dirt on Lajos Rig is not difficult. A month ago the left-liberal blog kettosmerce.hu discovered Lajos Rig’s Facebook activities, which were full of anti-Roma and anti-Semitic remarks. His timeline included a spate of reposted nonsense: conspiracy theories involving 9/11, Jews who use Gypsies as a biological weapon against Hungarians, and writings about his own race that must be defended against foreign strangers. Not surprisingly, shortly after the appearance of the kettosmerce.hu article, Rig’s timeline disappeared.

But Rig’s problems were not over. This time it was the pro-government pestisrácok.hu that learned that Rig has a tattoo that depicts the SS’s infamous slogan in Hungarian translation: “My Honor Is Loyalty” (Becsületem a hűség). When the journalist confronted him about it, Rig acted dumb, which didn’t seem to be much of a stretch. From the video of the encounter, I have a strong suspicion that pestisrácok.hu‘s information is correct.

Rig acted as if he didn’t even know what the SS was and muttered something incomprehensible about the SS logo being in German while the journalist was using Hungarian words. Three days later, however, Rig discovered that he does have a tattoo in which the two words “honesty” and “honor” can be found, but those words have nothing whatsoever to do with the Nazi SS. Rather the tattoo was inked at the time of his wedding, and the two words are part of his pledge to his wife. In his version of the story, the date of his wedding is included in the tattoo. Of course, the story will not end here. Moreover, with a little effort, Fidesz will undoubtedly find more embarrassing stories about the Jobbik candidate in Tapolca.

Lajos Rig, Jobbik candidate in the Tapolca-Ajka electoral district

Lajos Rig, Jobbik candidate in the Tapolca-Ajka electoral district

I’m not sure whether Fidesz is going after the right guy. By now Fidesz has only one newspaper, Magyar Hírlap, that is unequivocally loyal to the government. It is solely through this media outlet that Fidesz is trying to wage a negative campaign against Ferenc Pad, the candidate of MSZP-DK. So far their accusations have no teeth. Since Pad is on the city council of Ajka, his financial statement is in the public domain. Pad’s only sins seem to be that he owns half of an 80m² (805 ft²) house on a 612m² (6,587 ft²) lot and that he inherited one-sixth of another house of about the same size. Moreover, Mrs. Pad owns half of an orchard with a 29m² (312 ft²) outbuilding. The article is titled “The millions of Ferenc Pad.” I don’t believe that these “revelations” will carry much weight, especially when one considers the circulation figures of Magyar Hírlap.

Recent by-election results indicate that voters are prepared to vote for anyone but a Fidesz candidate. If Fidesz manages to completely discredit Lajos Rig, which I believe they have already pretty well accomplished, it can easily happen that Ferenc Pad will sail in, especially since Ajka, an MSZP stronghold, is the largest town in the electoral district. In any case, Fidesz is in a difficult position and, according to information coming from the upper echelons of Fidesz, they are not at all optimistic about the outcome. But, of course, we still have almost a month to go before the election.

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Member

I thin this is a golden opportunity for the left for once in the last two decades to do something properly. This election can be won with the right communication strategy. People are aware of what Fidesz is doing for the last while, and they just simply have to reinforce the message about all the “suspicious” activities Fidesz have been doing. The redistribution of land to their friends, the tobacco shops, the ever changing tax return of Fidesz officials, Fidelitas efforts to reestablish a Rakosi style information “depository”, the reshaped education system that only benefits the rich, the totally messed up health system, and the list goes on. It is not hard to get that message out.

tappanch
Guest

If we compare the 2014 election results in the Veszprem and the Tapolca districts,
we see that Jobbik received 7% more in Tapolca than in Veszprem district, Fidesz 4% less, and LMP 3% less, while the support for the left-wing candidates was the same, around 27.5%.

The Tapolca district consists of three parts: Ajka (35% weight), Tapolca(20%) and the villages (45%).

A year ago, Jobbik received 17% in Ajka, 30% in Tapolca and 26% in the villages.

Fidesz received 38% in Ajka, 40% in Tapolca and 49% in the villages.

Left-wing received 40% in Ajka, 24% in Tapolca and 19% in the villages.

In Veszprem, it was obvious for the protest voters to vote for the candidate of the Left to defeat Fidesz.

The average voter wants to oust Fidesz in the Tapolca district too, but does not know whether s/he should vote for the MSzP or the Jobbik candidate to achieve this.

So the district seems to be a three-way toss-up at this moment.

István
Guest

Rig could actually gain rather than lose support based on the Fidesz sponsored stories. Really it’s no secret that a good number of Jobbik supporters are fascists who deny that is the case with a wink. The entire story about Rig’s tattoo must have been the subject of a good laugh by the Jobbik who patted Rig on the back saying that story about his pledge to his wife was really a good one Lajos.

máté
Guest

I agree. Rural voters couldn’t care less about an SS tatoo or anti-semitism, they just don’t.

They care about their local hospital, jobs, keeping the gipsies disciplined, whatever, but not about intellectual issues. In fact the hatey it when urban people from Magyar Hirlap or from Fidesz HQ rub such issues in their face as if they would have to be sensitive about those implying if they aren’t then they are rural bumpkins. Jobbik could very well win this election.

The only thing is that in my experience rural people don’t always like “controversial people”, people who “seem to have issues”, rural people anyway shun conflicts because they know they are weak, being in any conflict isn’t comfortable for them, so this Jobbik controversy might just to tip the balance toward the MSZP candidate who seems more placid and until now has caused less controversies.

Member

I do not think Eva was thinking about the adamant supporters of Jobbik, but those who would not vote for Fidesz, like the voters in Veszprem. Those who are not Jobbik up porters to begin with are the ones to win. I think we should give a ‘bit more credit to HUngarians. Just as we should not generalize gypsies, Asians, blacks, we should stay away generalizing Hungarians. They are not created from the same mold, does not matter what many of you believe, and promote. THe simple reason Fidesz and Jobbik is getting popular is a program they advocate, a program that cannot be sustained in the current economical state. Jobbik’s idea of quitting the EU is laughable. We also saw what Fidesz is “capable” of. The gain Fidesz and Jobbik is simply the failure of communication from the left.
To the general public, hAving no program at all is worst than having a program full of lies.

Member

It occurred to me, that none of the items in the campaign have anything to do with actual, existing problems to be solved in the region, the towns and villages and which candidate have a program about solutions. As if the people don’t matter, only the candidates and the power they can grab.

spectator
Guest

“It occurred “ to you, but didn’t surprised, I guess.
Honestly, when was the last time when a party – any party, really – cared about the real people and their real problems?

The whole “power struggle” is just about what it says: power.
Why, what reason and what it cost secondary.
Oh, is there anybody called “people” out there?

Who would ever suspected the there is? What a pity!
But ‘so ist leben’, so, the “people” just can go and f••k themselves.
(The asterisks stands for ‘u’ and ’c’ – in case of doubts.)

googly
Guest

1jaybee, I expect your post to be removed as fascist trolling, but I can’t resist picking the low-hanging fruit…

You wrote: “lies and misinformation” – are you saying that the racist and anti-Semitic stuff on his facebook wall and his body are lies, or misinformation?

You wrote: “The usual leftist nutters will be given unlimited media coverage” – where in this country does anything leftist get “unlimited media coverage”? What country do you live in? Also, it’s quite clear who the nutters are here.

You wrote: “Stuff the NWO, vote Jobbik.” – I assume you’re writing this because you’re so happy with the way things worked out the last time the extreme-right-wingers gained power in Hungary, in 1944. You’re going to be disappointed, however, since there are far fewer Jews to murder this time around.

petofi
Guest

“…fewer jews to murder…”

I would suggest–though I don’t know, I strongly suspect–that Israeli’s are well aware of the situation in Hungary, and any outright attack on jews will be met with surpising force. I also suspect that this has been made clear in different sectors of the Hungarian establishment.

Jews should never ever again be considered as ‘lambs ready for the slaughter’. Post 1945, there was a plan to poison 6 million Germans in retaliation of the holocaust; and following the biblical, ‘eye-for-an-eye’ dictum. Only Ben Gurion’s opposition (largely on political grounds with the imminent birth of the State of Israel) was this avoided. That was a mistake, for, if they had carried it out, the future of anti-semitism would not have been as rosy as Hungarians evidently believe it is.

spectator
Guest

I hope that you don’t hope that anybody will ‘protect’ the Jewry of Hungary..?

The state you’re referring at – and I mean the government and their official policy – couldn’t care less about what happens within the Hungarian borders, no way, as much I know.
In my opinion the jewish population only interesting if they will emigrate to Israel and settle in the occupied territories, hence justify their existence.

I think you – we – are better off if we insist on the “Universal Human Rights” declaration, and don’t try to make any distinction – ethnic, religious, whatever – at all.
Then you have my (and anyone else sane) unwavering support to the end, at any price, in order to have your religious or/and ethnic identity recognised and respected.

You have my word!

(So this is how with atheists with no identity..But still!)

Paul
Guest

Thinking that murdering 6 million Germans would somehow have made the world safer for Jews is madness beyond comprehension.

tappanch
Guest

The Deutsche Telekom’s business deals with MET, Garancsi, i.e. Orban.

http://nol.hu/gazdasag/telekom-es-met-kozos-nyeregben-1522681

Paul
Guest

Entirely OT, but in that photo, Lajos Rig is the spitting image of a young Pete Postlethwaite.

So much so, that when it popped up on Facebook, I wondered how on earth a dead British actor could have anything to do with Hungary!

tappanch
Guest

The Hungarian government was struggling with liquidity problems at the end of 2014, so they asked Juncker to be more lenient in releasing the EU funds.

http://444.hu/2015/03/19/junckernel-panaszkodott-miklulas-elott-a-kormany-hogy-osszeomlik-a-koltsegvetes/

Csaba
Guest

Orban was lying and thought that this would not be made public or if it did become public, nobody would care. I’m no fidesznik but I can tell you there was no liquidity issue.

Orban has no scruples when it comes to dealing with the EU. What happens if he lies? Appeals to the sympathies of the rich bureaucrats? Nothing. Nothing at all. This would be the 5986th time he would be lying to the EU or EU officials (who any deal with dozens of other countries and issues).

A good lawyer, a good advocate uses any and all means. This is a nobrainer for Orban. And guess what? It works.

petofi
Guest

@csaba

“..a good advocate..”…?

Is there any record of Orban ever having worked a day in his life, let alone as an
advocate?

Paul
Guest
“The newspaper’s editors attribute the steady growth of Jobbik’s base to Viktor Orbán’s campaign against refugees, foreigners in general, and foreign banks and businesses and to his turning up the volume on nationalistic sentiment.” In my experience from talking to family and friends in Eastern Hungary, this is pretty much the case. Those who have lost faith in Fidesz either decide not to bother voting or switch to Jobbik. Many will claim that switching is a legitimate political option, as Jobbik are not the racist party of nut jobs they are portrayed as, but a party of sensible, ordinary people who just want to get things done. But they all know exactly what Jobbik is, so how do they kid themselves that it is a legitimate party? The answer is simple – Orbán/Fidesz have moved the moved the bar of racist acceptability so far that many (most?) people now don’t regard Jobbik’s racist/nationalistic stance as at all extreme. They pretend to be against such sentiments and to really think that Jobbik has ‘outgrown’ all that, but the truth is they know they are racist and are entirely comfortable with it. With all the other things Orbán has done, this may… Read more »
QuQu
Guest
People in Hungary are pretty racist. According to polls some 30% would be happy with a “physical solution” (ie. killing) of all romas and 60% think that committing crimes is “in their blood”. There is no amount or degree of politically incorrect (racist, aggressive) language which would be too much for the majority. Fact. So there is no downside for any politician to be too racist. In fact if you restrain yourself you incur a lot of opportunity costs, and in a zero sum game if participants don’t all agree to this joint restraint someone will sooner or later fill this ‘market gap’ as Jobbik did. In rural areas the Roma issue is the single most important issue. Fidesz hasn’t done anything and the left-wing has no ideas whatsoever (other than to abolish the disciplinarian public works and give more money to romas — which obviously don’t fly well with rural people). Jobbik is solid and consistent, it hates romas and supports the whites against them. As with the case of “the Jew” or the big white shark in the movie Jaws one can exchange all of their fears, anxieties for one single, simple anxiety (fear of the brown unruly… Read more »
Paul
Guest

Incidentally, Éva, you might like to have a word with Some 1 about the way the WordPress software is justifying your text – the hyphenation setting is producing some crazy results.

“ref-ugees” and “cand-idate” aren’t too bad, but “gov-ernment”, “newspa-per’s”, “di-dn’t” and “discov-ered” are bizarre (and entirely unnecessary for reasonable text justification).

Edit: it did it to me too – “justifi-cation”!

István
Guest

In relation to the theme of Eva’s overall post it is worth reading http://nol.hu/belfold/oda-a-fidesz-strategiaja-1522929 Much of the analysis is paraphrased from Attila Juhasz, a senior analyst at Political Capital and a lecturer at the University of Pannonia in Veszprem, Hungary. It’s focus is on the pro-Russian orientation of the Jobbik. To see an article co-authored by Juhasz in English go to http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/143014/mitchell-a-orenstein-peter-kreko-and-attila-juhasz/the-hungarian-putin It is also worth reading the comments to the short article by Fidesz supporters attacking the article, some written by American Hungarians.

Trabi
Guest

TGM was quick. He says that when choosing between Jobbik and Fidesz, Fidesz is a better choice.

Ie. the leftists will have no choice but to vote for Fidesz in a real election to defeat Jobbik.

Orban loves this guy. Hasn’t he and his pals saying the same thing all over the US and Western world. You need us (the infinitely corrupt mean jerks) otherwise Jobbik is coooomingg.

Guest

Killing 6 million people by poisoning isn’t as easy as it sounds. It was far beyond Ben Gurions ressources. He must surely have rejected it on practical grounds if he was ever presented with the idea, which I doubt.

Guest

Well I remember the “Morgenthau plan” which would have turned Germany into a backwards agricultural country – almost exactly what Fidesz is doing right now with its fight against “overeducation”.
That might be another interesting topic btw …

Re Tapolca and Ajka:
We don’t go there often – these industrial towns show the worst side of industry, just like the Ruhrgebiet was once in Germany or the English industry towns. The big difference is however that Germany (and I presume England too) re-greened these environments while in Hungary they still look like 30 years ago – poor people who have to live there!

Zengő
Guest

It’s likely that Jobbik will win in Tapolca.

The right-wing areas of the district (representing a clear majority), that is the villages and Tapolca will never vote for a dirty Ajka communist.

Tapolca is a die-hard right wing area where they would commit seppuku before they would consider the communists.

http://hvg.hu/itthon/20150319_Tapolca_Fejfej_mellett_a_Fidesz_es_a_Job

spectator
Guest
Somehow it’s very strange to me that people who are in somewhere in their thirties (at most) have a strict and definitive opinion about nazism, communism, nationalism and the kind – albeit they do not have first hand experience. Since they just couldn’t, could they? People with zero knowledge about the subject proclaim condemning sentences about the jews, the communists, the communist jews, and so on. Ságvári must disappear. Furthermore, the policeman who actually murdered Ságvári have been posthumus rehabilitated, because he has done what was “right” at the time. At the same time anybody and everybody who worked to the state security prior to 1989 must be guilty, because “they cooperated in sustaining the dictatorship”. And this is the right thing to do, isn’t it? I mean: try to save your country of foreign undercover influences, whatever they might be. So, how is it, really? Those who served the ‘anticommunist ‘dictatorship’ (the name is Horthy) get rehabilitated, while those who served under the ‘Kádárist” times must be declared ‘persona non grata’? Then what about the humble servants of the regime? Like the father of our beloved prime minister Orbán? Or the ones who served in the party, like Kövér?… Read more »
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