Far-right Jobbik set to win key Hungarian by-election

Hungary’s far-right Jobbik party put aside its usual antisemitic and anti-Roma rhetoric, campaigning instead on an anti-corruption platform. This strategy paid off, with the party’s candidate appearing to win in a critical by-election held in western Hungary’s Tapolca riding, long dominated by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party. With 98% of the votes counted (approximately 500 votes cast at embassies and consulates abroad will only be tabulated early this coming week), Jobbik appears to have won the riding in what proved to be a very close race between the visibly exhausted right-wing governing party and the burgeoning far-right:

Jobbik (Lajos Rig):             35%
Fidesz (Zoltán Fenyvesi): 34%
MSZP (Ferenc Pad):            27%
LMP (Barbara Sallee):          2%

Lajos Rig right) and Jobbik party leader Gábor Vona (left). Photo: Lajos Rig's Facebook page.

Lajos Rig (right) and Jobbik party leader Gábor Vona (left). Photo: Lajos Rig’s Facebook page.

Twenty-two candidates contested the Tapolca by-election, but only three of them had a realistic chance of winning the riding: namely Fidesz’s Zoltán Fenyvesi, Jobbik’s Lajos Rig and the Hungarian Socialist Party’s (MSZP) candidate Ferenc Pad, who also enjoyed the formal support of the centrist Democratic Coalition (DK). Barbara Sallee of the Politics Can Be Different (LMP) green party had no chance of scooping up the riding, but had to prove that the party could at least garner over 5% support, in order to keep LMP competitive and attractive to some “alternative” left-centre voters nationally. Ms. Sallee failed to even come close to this critical threshold, which will call into question LMP’s status as a relatively popular protest party among Hungarian youth.

Each party had a great deal to prove. Jobbik badly needed to win its first single-member constituency to evolve from a medium-size protest party destined for eternal opposition status, into a potential governing force that could really rival Fidesz on the right. In Hungary’s hybrid electoral system, Jobbik has done well in terms of scoring in the 20% range on national party lists, but up until now has failed to win a single riding. To change this, Jobbik leader Gábor Vona has incrementally moved the party’s national communications strategy away from the extreme right, thus softening its image and focusing on issues of Fidesz corruption, whilst allowing for the survival of fascist tendencies, activities and statements below the surface, at the local level. Since the 2010 election, when Jobbik entered the Hungarian parliament for the first time, Mr. Vona has proven to be quite a savvy politician and strategist; much like a younger Mr. Orbán was several years ago, Mr. Vona is visibly in the political game for the long-haul and tends to build incrementally, as well as to think several steps ahead. This is what the left-centre opposition has so miserably failed to do.

The 40 year old Mr. Rig–who has served as Tapolca’s deputy mayor–followed a seemingly moderate, mainstream anti-corruption strategy in Sunday’s by-election as well. Mind you, Jobbik’s true colours did come out, when Mr. Rig shared a virulently racist article on Facebook during the campaign. The ominous article claimed that Jews were using the Roma population as a “biological weapon” against Hungarians. Mr. Vona likely had a little chat with Mr. Rig, and the rest of his campaign managed to stay on-key.

A few hours before polls closed, Mr. Rig sent a message to his supporters on Facebook. He noted that if Jobbik eventually formed government, it would impose double penalties on politicians convicted on corruption charges, as well as eliminate parliamentary amnesty for active members of parliament. Additionally, the party would declassify files that provide evidence on rampant corruption during the Fidesz era. Ironically, Mr. Rig predicted on voting day, that the candidate who has the most votes by the time 25% of ballots are counted will likely win the riding. Mr Rig, in fact, only began to pull away from his main Fidesz rival once more than 50% of the voters were counted, as the first numbers coming in were from pro-Fidesz Sümeg and surrounding villages. Tapolca polling stations were among the last to report. Even then, the difference between Jobbik and Fidesz is just 300 votes, before votes cast outside of Hungary are taken into account in the next day or two.

Lajos Rig scoops up critical Tapolca riding for the far-right Jobbik party. Photo: Lajos Rig's Facebook page.

Lajos Rig scoops up critical Tapolca riding for the far-right Jobbik party. Photo: Lajos Rig’s Facebook page.

Turn-out in the riding reached 42%, which is reasonably high for a by-election. Although considering that this one was a truly hotly-contested three-way race between Fidesz, Jobbik and MSZP, and that each party took out its biggest guns on voting day, one might have expected turn-out to be closer to the 45% mark. Jobbik clearly managed to mobilize its voters and Fidesz’s éminence grise, Gábor Kubatov, reportedly roamed the riding all polling day, with a list of local residents and presumed party preferences in his hands, trying to ensure that every potential supporter was hauled out to the polling station. MSZP, however, was less successful in motivating the growing number of voters who are displeased with the Orbán government.

It’s worth noting that the Tapolca riding (formally known as Veszprém County Riding 3) incorporates three medium-sized towns: the Socialist-led Ajka, Jobbik-leaning Tapolca and the pro-Fidesz Sümeg. Home to 84,000 residents and 70,500 voters, at the national level this region has been a Fidesz stronghold since 1998, even though its largest town, Ajka, is led by popular MSZP mayor Béla Schwartz. This is hardly considered to be a Jobbik heartland, yet the far-right pulled off an important win.

The left-centre opposition now has some more soul-searching to do, if it is to be seen as a competitive and realistic alternative to Fidesz in 2018. DK leader and former Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány suggested earlier this year, due to the growing corruption scandals around Fidesz, in-fighting on the right and falling polling number, that an early election may have to be called in 2016. I highly doubt that this will be the case. But if, somehow, the Orbán regime does implode before 2018, then it will be no thanks to Mr. Gyurcsány, nor to MSZP. And it’s not likely that they will be the ones to rise to power in Budapest.



  1. Avatar Dr. Habil. Andras Fodor says:

    This line of mine was written before reading this article, but I hope they are still actual.

    Let me hope that Fidesz and Fenyvesi will win in Tapolca, rather than the nazis (Jobbik), or the neobolshies (Ballik).

    The win is of a crucial value.

    A: If Fidesz lost, it would be of equal value with loosing a confidence vote in the Parliament.

    B. If Fidesz were winning – which I really want, – there are two options:

    1. The self-satisfied fat smile will sit on our faces, and continue to lie to ourselves that we had done everything right, especially the foreign policy and cloning of suspicious “young Titan” half-educated (nyikhaj) secretaries of state.

    2. We say, thank God, we were lucky once again, we start to correct the mistakes we have done, mainly in the foreign politics, immediately!

    Let me frankly hope for the reincarnation of the young Viktor Orbán from 1988 who will be capable to rejuvenate, and remember again that “Soli Deo Gloria”, neither of his, not of Putyin.

    Then Hungary will return to the FAMILY OF FREE NATIONS of the Western World again. This is my dream and hope.

    Let me hope that still he leads Hungary and not Putyin-puppets like Szijjártó, (Szálasi of our days).

    Long live Hungary, long live Hungarians!
    Hajrá, Magyarország, Hajrá magyarok!!!
    Hajrá Magyarország, hajrá magyarok.

    • Avatar Christopher Adam says:

      Dr. Habil András Fodor,

      I suspect that you will be disappointed when you either read the article, or review the results of the election. If you are right in noting that this election is tantamount to a vote of confidence in parliament, then Mr. Orbán is in trouble.

      I appreciate your commitment to pursuing a western-oriented foreign policy and returning Hungary to the transatlantic family, but I think that you are rather naive in hoping that Mr. Orbán is capable of turning this ship around and that he can still convince his partners that he has changed course.

    • Hello Dr Jabberwacky alias Habil,

      You know how much you disgust me writing a long meaningless comment without reading the article, only to print out a Hungarian language political propaganda in the end? You were told not to do this, can’t you understand? Alternatively, you might do it for your boss for he doesn’t speak English. Yes? Are you on payroll? What a sly sneaky reptile you are. I wanna run a Turing test on your shoddy brain.

      • Avatar Tibor Gergely says:

        If Hungarian language comments are not kosher, why do you people keep linking and referring to Hungarian language media?

        • Hi Loui,

          How nice to see you again. Did you learn how to make fire? Not yet?

          Well you still don’t get the point or just overdosed your troll-supplement? Possibly both.

          Now, get your head out from the trough, stop gobbling that tasteless troll-fodder, climb back on your favorite tree and eat banana. And try to learn the meaning of the word kosher before using it. You’re really a second class troll. No payrise for you Loui babe.

          • Avatar Tibor Gergely says:

            Let me help you out Richard. You are trying to say that you can’t answer my question. Am I correct?

  2. Pingback: Itt a Jobbik: Orbán Viktor elbukott Tapolcán

  3. This article does not mention that Jobbik party is also against Israeli investments in Hungary. It is interesting that the Jobik party objects to Israeli investments. Qatar a Muslim country has far more investments in Hungary than Israel. I am wondering is this anti-Israel investment frenzy is used to paper over the Qatari investments or just because it causes less consequences. The Jobik party is busy complaining about the Israeli investments, Jews and not doing enough about the oppression of the ethnic Hungarians in neighbouring countries. Being anti Jewish and anti Israel is risk free. During world war II, in the last waning days prior to Russian occupation many Hungarian pro Nazis instead of fighting the Russians were busy killing unarmed Jews. They even killed unarmed old Jews and sick Jews in hospitals. In my mind this was a good excuse not to fight the armed Russian soldiers. So much for the bravery of these Hungarian Nazis. False nationalism gets votes. History repeats itself.

    • Qatar is under full Cabal control such as Israel. Qatar is a Cabal military stronghold.
      The list of cabal controlled countries : US, Canada, France, Israel, Italy, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Changes are under way, though.

    • Avatar Tibor Gergely says:

      Stop lying, Don.

      • Loui,
        As usually you didn’t check anything just opened you big unwashed mouth to make a fool of yourself again. Do you enjoy making a fool of yourself? Is a kind of aberration?
        You poor unfortunate out of class troll.

        The following is just one link, Benjamin Fulford an ex Forbes chief editor with proven high credibility but if you search the net you will find many more information about it. Much more, much better from more sources.


        Look Loui, your oafish stupor is really getting painful.
        You don’t even qualify for a third class troll. Have a break baby and first thing first. At first learn how to make fire, than how to eat with fork and knife, then learn to read, and only after that you can try commenting again .

        • Avatar Tibor Gergely says:

          Hurling insults and incoherent rant is the best you can do, Richard?

          • No, but you can prove you’re neither a fool nor an A.I. just a fumbling troll.
            Answer me.

          • My message went too early clicked the post Post Comment by accident. Let’s go one more time.
            No, but you can prove you’re neither a fool nor an A.I. just a fumbling troll.
            Answer me please.
            How many blank checks did Orban signed between 2002 and 2010?

            To whom is he heavily indebted?

            Where has the looted money gone? He looted from the pension found to the health service everything, now the money market is on his agenda?

            What is his part in the arms trade?

            To whom did he actually sell those heavy tons of ammunitions a few years ago?

            Why Qatar has to be mentioned?

            Why Syria, who has the big depot and military base there?

            Who is Oran, Lazar, Vona, what was the deal?

            Where has Simicska financial support to Fidesz gone, who broke the deal?

            What is the new arms deal why the U.S. insisted on having Hungarian troops in the living hell of the Middle East.

            What is Israel role in it?

            What is Vona preparing? With whom is he negotiating behind closed doors?

            Why the EU is putting up with Orban when it would be easier to remove him than to shoo a fly?

            Just answer what you think is, after you putting the small pieces of the puzzle together.

  4. Avatar Tibor Gergely says:

    Would you mind telling me, Christopher Adam, how Fidesz is a “right-wing party”? Not that the left-right trope even matters any more, but Fidesz started out as SzDSz’s youth movement while Orbán paid his dues as Soros’s boy. Since Fidesz cut loose and was elected by a landslide to form the current government, it has carried out a renationalization that has confronted the greedy foreign-owned energy companies, presided over a rise in real wages, a fall in unemployment, eliminated inflation, imposed a bank tax, forced banks to compensate people who lost their homes due to their financial manipulations, and implemented other measures to help ordinary people, including a government-decreed cut in energy bills. On the other side, you people support further privatization, want more policies to benefit global “investors,” you are unashamedly pro-banker and pro-empire and your main partner the Hungarian “Socialist Party” (LOL) when last in government imposed swingeing cuts in public spending, destroyed state-owned companies, including the national airline Malev, sold out Hungary’s natural resources, including Makói árok’s natural gas that alone could cover the country’s energy needs for centuries, and left millions of ordinary people worse off. If again the left-right trope even mattered, the Fidesz government could only be defined as “socialist” or “leftist” and the opposition “conservative” and yet you people keep pretending it’s the other way around. Who do you think you are kidding? As for Jobbik, which is actually a peasant party founded by Ashkenaz descended Hungarians whose MEP had been married to a Jew with whom she has three children, for decades, a party with dozens of Roma members, cannot be called “right-wing” either. Try to call them populist, and that won’t even work. Your beef with Fidesz or Jobbik is not that they are “right-wing”, you hate them because they are Hungary firsters and try to make rump Hungary unexploitable or at least less exploitable than you would like.

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