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.