European Elections: Another victory for Viktor Orbán in Hungary

European elections in Hungary were held less than two months after the landslide victory of Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party. Two things were very clear from opinion polls: turnout would be very low and Fidesz would win big. The most important question thus concerned the opposition: the performance of the far-right extremist Jobbik and the left-liberal – self-styled “democratic” opposition. The results confirmed the predictions of Fidesz victory, saw a weakening of the still formidable extreme right and led to a restructuring of the Hungarian left. Unfortunately, no liberal MEPs were elected.

 

Party

EP-elections 2009 – votes

EP-elections 2009 -seats

Parliamentary election 2014  – votes

EP-elections 2014 -votes

EP-elections 2014 – seats

Fidesz – Hungarian Civic Alliance (EPP)

56,36%

14

44,87%

51,49%

12

Hungarian Socialist Party (S&D)

17,37%

4

25,57%

10,92%

2

Democratic Coalition (S&D)

-

-

9,76%

2

Together-Dialogue for Hungary (Greens & ?)

-

-

7,22%

1

Jobbik, the Movement for a Better Hungary (extreme right, no EP group)

14,77%

3

20,22%

14,68%

3

Hungarian Democratic Forum (ECR)

5,31%

1

-

-

-

Politics Can Be Different (Greens)

2,61%

0

5,34%

5,01%

1

Summary of Hungarian EP results in 2009; Parliamentary elections in April 2014 and EP elections 2014

The party of Victor Orbán, Fidesz has dominated Hungarian politics for at least four year now. Combining an excellent political machinery and extremely efficient political communication with a huge media and resource advantage, the right-wing party has managed to remain the most popular political force in Hungary for a very long time. 2014 was no exception. The party won the parliamentary elections with 44% of the votes cast – as a result of a new electoral system its supermajority previously legislated, this meant two-thirds of seats in the Hungarian parliament. Their support even increased a little by the time of the EP-elections. Fidesz captured more than half of the votes cast on May 25 and will send 12 MEPs to the EPP. Fidesz sits on the right of EPP; together with Berlusconi, he is often criticised for his unorthodox policy. The party “repaid” this by publicly declaring that it would not support the official EPP candidate, Jean-Claude Juncker for the Presidency of the Commission.

After the national elections in April, when Jobbik gained more than 20 percent of the vote and the left performed weakly, there was some speculation that it might soon be the biggest challenger of Fidesz. The EP-elections dashed these hopes. The far right extremist party – noted for its marches against the roma people of Hungary and virulent anti-semitism – came second, but gained less than 15 percent – a decrease from April. This was due largely to revelations that one of its MEPs might actually be working for the Kremlin.

The parties left of the Fidesz – socialists, liberals, centrists, greens – ran on a joint list in April and received the disappointing 26 percent. Now they ran separately – so the election was seen as a verdict on their respective strength. The main conclusion: the collapse of the Hungarian Socialist Party, the strongest force before. The Socialists reached their worst ever result in the last twenty years.

Two other left-wing, but more liberal parties were relative victors. The movement of former prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsány become fourth. Although a left-wing party, Gyurcsány’s Democratic Coalition is very pro-European and is committed to liberal positions on human right issues. Another former prime minister, the technocratic-centrist Gordon Bajnai and his group “Együtt-PM” is even closer to liberals: their third candidate on the list, Zsuzsanna Szelényi was endorsed by Guy Verhofsdtadt. The party eventually gained only one seat – going to the green “faction” of the party – but given that the party was formed only a year ago, it was seen as a good result. The smaller, independent green party, Politics Can Be Different, secured the last of Hungary’s 21 MEPs.

Republikon Institute