Fidesz voters speak about how long Prime Minister Viktor Orbán should stay in power

Reporters from the Azonnali website recently asked Fidesz supporters gathered outside the House of Terror in Budapest how long they wanted Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to stay in power. Going on 12 years in office, he is the third longest serving prime minister in Hungarian history, and will become the second longest in summer 2018, following his all but certain victory in upcoming parliamentary elections. The responses of these Fidesz supporters, representing both the elderly and young voters, is telling. Only two people interviewed suggested that Mr. Orbán should remain in power until he has adequate support from the electorate and one of those to give this response was pro-Fidesz political scientist and editor of the 888.hu tabloid site Gábor G. Fodor. Every other respondent believed that how long Mr. Orbán stayed in office was entirely up to the prime minister and not the electorate, with most expressing hope that he remained in office for life or for at least another two decades.

“How many more years should Viktor Orbán rule?”–asked Martin Bukovics.

“For however long. As long as he lives,” responded a man in his sixties.

“For however long he lives,” added another elderly man, and then a middle-aged woman chimed in: “until the end of his life.”

This was followed by a woman in her twenties who added: “For at least another four. And if he continues to govern so well, then another eight years or even longer.”

An elderly woman, who noted with some pride that she always responds to every “national consultation” that the government mails to her, said that Mr. Orbán should remain in power “as long as he can.” A man wearing a Hungarian flag as a scarf thought it best if Mr. Orbán remained prime minister for another twenty years, “at minimum.”

When a young man, probably in his late teens, was asked the same question, he said that Mr. Orbán should remain in power “until he feels like it.” He then clarified that this means so long as Mr. Orbán does not feel exhausted.

“Let him govern until I am live,” declared one woman. “I am now eighty years old. So I’ll say another 15 years. I don’t want to see anyone else, but Orbán!-“–she exclaimed.

Screen capture from the Azonnali video.

One of only two people interviewed who seemed to have an understanding of democracy was the pro-Fidesz political scientist, Gábor G. Fodor. Mr Orbán will stay in power “until the people say ‘yes’ to him,” remarked Mr. Fodor and then added: “It depends on this, does it not?”

Azonnali’s journalist also asked who might one day replace Mr. Orbán in power. Most people named János Lázár, the powerful Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office, who is widely suspected of having such ambitions.

***

Gergely Gulyás, one of the most accomplished and youthful Fidesz politicians who at age 36 leads the government party’s caucus in parliament, gave an interview to the pro-government daily Magyar Idők, in which he downplayed high expectations for a super-majority win in 2018, suggesting that polls showing an insurmountable Fidesz lead should be taken with a grain of salt. Clearly, he does not want Fidesz voters to become too confident and politically passive. But he added: “It is the historic accomplishment of the intellectual base of the former Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ), that it has managed to cause far more damage to the left-liberal camp than we could ever do, despite our every effort.”

10 Comments

  1. For many of the Orban supporters it will be OK even if the regime introduced cannibalism. I have heard enough to base this statement on, e.g. “the clandestine force ruling the world” is bent on destroying the Hungary, Mészaros is gifted and industrious businessman hence his wealth, etc.
    Yes, pigs fly in Orban’s Hungary….

  2. The lady pictured above looks like she is a Hugo Chavez / Maduro militant with that red beret.

  3. I think you are distorting the response of the people. Yes, his supporters want him in office for as long as possible. Simple people give simple answers. But I doubt that many of the respondents actually think that his stay in office should not continue to be validated through the democratic process. The fact that many people would not specify that, has to do with the fact that they were not asked that specific question.

    • Christopher Adam says:

      Peter, there is a lot of (at least) anecdotal evidence to suggest that a great many average Hungarian voters have little understanding of, or interest in, the democratic process (and democracy). Here’s an example from the other end of the political spectrum: a friend of mine, who was an activist for a hard left party in past elections, was struggling to collect nomination papers. And so as a last resort, he had little choice but see if he could find some for his candidate in sparsely-population rural areas–which is obviously not a very effective way of collecting the required number of nominations. He went to a farmstead (tanya) and knocked on the door. A man opened it and the activist introduced himself as a representative of the green left. The old man looked confused and said “what on earth is that?”

      “We are the communists!–exclaimed the activist, in frustration.

      “Oh, finally you showed up! I have been waiting for you all these years.” He handed over to the activist a stack of long expired nomination papers going back to the first free election from 1990.

      Speak to anyone involved in door-to-door campaigning in Hungary and you will see that these stories are a dime a dozen.

      • Can’t say I know anyone in Hungary that does door to door campaigning. But I do speak with regular people on a regular basis, and I find no evidence of Hungarians having any less of an understanding of the democratic process or politics compared with average North American Joe. Frankly, I find this article to be an attempt at denigrating the electorate, just because some people do not like their choices. Its no different from the “basket of deplorable s” comment. Going back to the article, in my view, the reason the answer: “I want Orban forever, as long as the electoral process……” did not come up, is because regional culture is very different. East Europeans are far less apologetic compared with their Western self-loathing peers, therefore they will not go to lengths to justify their views, opinions. They just state it and move on.

  4. Hitler was also very popular among the German Volk as he wiped out democracy in that country, orchestrated Crystalnacht, sent the Jews to the gaschambers and began his scientific research into weapons of mass destruction. Stalin is considered by more than two thirds of the Russian people as one of their greatest statesman. They would vote for him at the drop of a hat, in spite of the fact that he is responsible for the murder of millions of innocents, of sending many more millions to the Gulag, to stop them from even thinking about freedom. The data in popularity polls are not records of public wisdom or virtue, but of public feelings. They should not necessarily cause us to rejoice, but to worry for the sanity of Homo Sapiens.

    Peter Troll above is a guy, who rejoices, whatever foolishness crosses his path. It’s not by accident they call him, Peter, Peter, pumpkin eater. 🙂

  5. What a question it was; “how long he should RULE ?”

    Of cause they gave corresponding answers!

    But what it shows that the guy is indeed very popular. HFP just failed to show any reason for it. Maybe because Orban is a ‘fascist and corrupt dictator’ ?

  6. dr. Pintye Gyorgy says:

    At least four more years, after that Mr. Orban Viktor will be the President for the European Union.

    • I wonder whether or not he would win if there would be an EU-wide election. He certainly established himself as one of the few EU leaders who proved to be living on planet earth and not Elysium.

  7. Orban’s political success is partly the result of a fractured and ineffective opposition. However corrupt and small minded the government, at least they present the electorate with a coherent and plausible world view. If the opposition cannot make the case against FIDESZ and present an alternative, there is little hope the voters will take a chance on them.

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