Viktor Szigetvári: European People’s Party tolerance of Orbán is shameful

On Sunday, I exchanged a couple of emails with Viktor Szigetvári, chairman of Hungary’s centre-left opposition Együtt party. (Együtt means ‘Together’ in Hungarian and the party was previously associated with Gordon Bajnai, Hungary’s former prime minister.) I was pleased to see his activists engaged in civil disobedience, by defacing dozens of the xenophobic government billboards that now dot the landscape in Budapest and throughout Hungary. I asked Mr. Szigetvári, who previously served as a political adviser under Prime Ministers Péter Medgyessy and Ferenc Gyurcsány, whether the Orbán government is using these very demagogical billboards as a way to deflect attention from problem areas in domestic politics, or if Fidesz is attempting to win back right-wing voters who are slipping out of their hands and into Jobbik’s embrace. Here’s what Mr. Szigetvári had to say in our exchange…

Viktor Szigetvári. Photo: civilhetes.net

Viktor Szigetvári. Photo: civilhetes.net

Viktor Orbán and Fidesz have two objectives in mind, when it comes to this shameful campaign. The rationale behind these two goals is the same, namely Fidesz’s declining popularity, and the melting away of the majority that once stood behind the government. It is in Fidesz’s interest to deflect the attention of the population away from the serious problem that most preoccupy society. These include areas such as the crisis in public health care and education, as well as unemployment.

Fidesz reacts to this situation by bringing forward issues, with which the surface layer of Hungarian society tends to agree. This is why they are campaigning–without any real action–on issues like the death penalty or against immigrants. All of this is also happening in connection with the fact that it is in Fidesz’s interests to halt Jobbik’s continued growth. They believe that they can achieve this by floating issues that are favoured by Jobbik’s far-right voters, thus stopping the migration of Fidesz supporters further to the right.

In my opinion, a centrist strategy, such as that applied by former Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, would be more effective. Mr. Orbán gave a number of speeches in recent days, in which he tried to correct his course, following pressure from the European People’s Party (EPP). For instance, he spoke in favour of the European Union and of NATO, he made declarations against capital punishment and stood by former German chancellor Helmut Kohl. But below the surface of these speeches, Mr. Orbán still wants to defeat and overtake Jobbik from the right. It is the EPP’s shame that it tolerates this duplicitous game.

Viktor Szigetvári

6 Comments

  1. “In my opinion, a centrist strategy, such as that applied by former Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, would be more effective. ” This sounds like Mr. Szigetvari is giving Mr. Orban advice on how to stay in power. Surely that can’t be what he means.

  2. Cebimde dışarı — Zsebemböl kifelé

    Time to start Erdogetting Orban Erdogone too…

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/08/world/europe/turkey-election-recep-tayyip-erdogan-kurds-hdp.html

  3. Left center ?He is left, even far left. Who ever worked for Gyurcsany, ( the one, prime minister who called Hungarians “whores”) is a bloody communist left-over from the post Soviet times.
    Get lost, please.

    • Christopher Adam says:

      Ted,

      Please name three policies from the Gyurcsány era that would be considered characteristically far left. Thanks!

  4. Let’s make it clear, what Orban is doing is committing a crime of circulating the rumor of a threat, – rumormongering – agitation, perturbation, raising social unrest, social destabilization and as such, he must be prosecuted and sentenced.

  5. Liladiadal says:

    Here is this guy at his best

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