Hungary’s far-right extremist party isn’t reforming. Its simply being pragmatic

The Jobbik party in Hungary has been incrementally changing its platform to be more centrist and distant from the extremeness it used to espouse. Although this might appear seemingly like a move based on maturity and progression, its just a means to an end. With the Hungarian election on April 8th, its no coincidence that Jobbik has been trying to stand apart from Viktor Orban’s similarly far-right Fidesz party.

Instead of viewing Jobbik as a party that has found its way and is sincerely moving past its troublesome history toward the center, lets see it for what it really is. A party trying to win, and market itself as the lesser of two evils.

In a recent article from Foreign Policy magazine, we see the radical shift to a more authoritarian state under the leadership of the Fidesz party has created a vacuum for Jobbik’s purpose. In order to remain political viable, Jobbik needed to update its populist strategy and concede some of its extremeness.

Who’s to say that this extremeness is gone for good? It seems a bit far-fetched that the party which formerly demanded a list of all Hungarian Jews for national security purposes could become a responsible centrist that easily. Furthermore, the possibility of reverting to a radical platform if elected seems even more likely.

Now that Hungary’s institutional, parliamentary and judicial makeup is essentially configured for a quasi-authoritative state, Jobbik could very well relapse into its old ways if they win. Populist parties are very good at lying, and history can show us that readily.


How Hungary’s Far-Right Extremists Became Warm and Fuzzy



One thought on “Hungary’s far-right extremist party isn’t reforming. Its simply being pragmatic

  1. What strikes me about this article is that it essentially underlines that democracy is not dying, it has already died in Hungary. As you said, its political institutions and media are configured for a Quasi-authoritative state, that creates the perfect opportunity for Jobbik to exploit. If it is true that Jobbik will roll back its progressive approach and return to its old ways, then democracy has already died. Elections will have become completely disingenuous, and voters would be made to decide between parties only masquerading as different for the purpose of election. The commitment to the representation of public will is the most fundamental mandate of democracy, and should this fail, democracy has failed. Constitutional loopholes exploited by Orban’s majority have allowed him tailor the system to the benefit of his party.

    Whether these loopholes could be exploited equally by Jobbik remains to be seen, as constitutional changes require a super-majority in Hungary. What’s most likely is that Jobbik will fail to attain the same level of control as Orban over the countries political institutions and media. Without a super majority, the system would not just benefit Jobbik in the same way as Fidesz, Orban’s supporters have been entrenched in the system for far too long, and the constitutional changes have been tailored to Fidesz’s benefit.

    Liked by 1 person

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