Hungarian Elections

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Hungary’s Prime Minister Victor Orbán won his second consecutive term in a landside election last month. The governing Fidesz party managed to retain its absolute majority as the result of arguable new election laws and a highly inept opposition. Even more disturbingly Hungary’s infamous far-right Jobbik emerged as the second biggest party in the country.

On the 6th of April Hungarians gathered to cast their ballots at the general elections. They were presented by a variety of choice on a vast sheet. Many small parties managed to get registered to the election, although most of them couldn’t reach the 5% threshold required to get into the general assembly. These parties were only created to enjoy the financial benefits of a political entity, which they embezzled. This was in favor of the governing party, Fidesz, as the more parties compete the less votes the opposition will get since it will be distributed amongst them. The laws that made the existence of such parties available were amongst the controversial new election laws implemented by Fidesz.

In 2010, after two terms of a catastrophic socialist government, Fidesz won the elections by gaining a two third majority, which enabled them to do pretty much anything they pleased. They implemented a new constitution, curtailed the institutions of the checks and balances, violated the freedom of the press and rampantly started nationalizing. The state put its hand on the pension funds and most recently there are talks about an overall takeover of the energy sector. This latter have already fallen victim the power of the party in the form of a forceful reduction of utility fees.

This seems to be a popular act among Hungarian voters, but not nearly as popular as Fidesz wants people to think. This year they received about 600 thousand votes less than last time, still they managed to secure two thirds of the seats on the parliament. In 2002 even though more people favored Fidesz than this year, it was not enough for them to win the elections. The reason they still managed to retain the absolute majority now is because they were the ones who wrote the new rules. This gave way to gerrymandering which allowed them to neglect their camping and program.

Not that the opposition was something to be feared. The campaign of the five party socialist coalition was riddled with scandals. Adding to this it was lead by highly unpopular politicians whom most people were reluctant to vote for. Although this alliance was the second most popular choice with 25% as a single party entity, the far-right Jobbik became the second biggest party, securing 20%.

This fearful rise of extremism is due to the fact that Jobbik had by far the most professional campaign, and in their program they dared address issues, which other parties shied away from. For example they addressed the issue of corruption and domestic security, however although they point out areas where changes are direly needed, their proposed solutions are more befitting to a dictatorship than to a democratic country.

Many people nevertheless got fooled by the party’s rebranding. They are now rather posing with cute puppies than with uniformed vigilantes. This however is only a superficial change. The people in the party are still the same hate-mongers who wish to free Hungary from the clutches of the European Union and the evil, and greedy families who are secretly ruling the world. These and similar conspiracy theories became more and more popular among the supporters.

Hungary needs a liberal party, which it has been bereft of. The small fragment of the country’s population who represent liberal values are without representatives. As Hungary is drifting more and more towards a statist distopia many of the country’s youth are fleeing away in hope of a better future. It is high time that people wake up, and be more active in preserving their values.

Free Market Foundation