With less than 10 days to go until the election, three questions seem to remain: will Fidesz get a supermajority again? Will the liberal LMP be able to hold onto its place in Parliament? And where will the increasing popularity of the radical Jobbik peak? The Budapest Times sat down with party leader Gábor Vona, to talk about Jobbik’s new style, their plans if they make it into power and the party’s thoughts on foreign policy.
In your opinion, during the past four years what did the Orbán government handle well and what did it not?
The success of the Orbán government appeared primarily in the field of national politics, and their most important achievement was the provision of dual citizenship. We tried to pressure them to do so for years, but finally we had to get into Parliament to have a substantive breakthrough. The other result was the creation of financial stability but society had to pay a price for that. The government was also magnificent concerning communication; however, the reality behind it can hardly be called a success. As I often say, the Fidesz government talks like Jobbik but acts like MSZP, and that gives away everything. In real fate-determining matters, no results can be shown. They have not created more jobs, they have not stopped the efflux of economic fugitives, the state debt is record high, they have not established state-owned industrial capacities, our sovereignty has not increased in the Union, they could not grant substantial protection to the Hungarian land, public safety has not improved and accountability has not happened. On this basis it can be said that the government was not able to close the post-communist transition of two decades, but it has crowned it in a sense.
Fidesz emphatically acts as a national party. How does Jobbik represent the nation in a better, more effective way? Why would voters with feelings for the nation vote rather for Jobbik?
Fidesz only represents national interest on the level of words and rhetoric, it does not take on the steps without which we cannot get ahead either at home or in the world. This does not mean that Jobbik wants to confront anyone; in fact, we seek dialogue with all domestic and foreign political groups. What it does mean is that we do not let the Hungarian interest get away. We want to fight for our own goals like any other successful nation. If Jobbik will be in government it will cause a big surprise, as it will become clear to everyone that the alarms about us were unnecessary and false. We will pursue fair governance that is based on sound arguments and on universal human values.
What electoral result are you counting with on 6 April? Which circle of voters will you target in the final campaign run-up?
We want to win. Bronze and silver medals are pretty at the Olympics, but in politics the only party that can execute its program is the one who gets the gold, who wins. We have targeted all circles of voters, as a winner national party has to represent all social groups and must seek to make healthy compromises amongst different interests. We have already been popular with young people and men but now our positions have improved with ladies and the elderly. According to the polls, Jobbik will be in the best conditions in the campaign run-up.
It seems that Jobbik is hitting a more moderate tone in the electoral campaign than it did earlier. What can this be attributed to?
Last September I announced the strategy of style change. My starting point was that Jobbik’s program is very good but it does not get to the people in the proper form. The reason for this was mostly the media’s hostile attitude towards us but we made mistakes as well. Our impetus and indignation often led to stylistic errors. Therefore, I asked the party to turn to the people in our most discerning manner, preserving our message. It appears that our leaders and members have understood this, and through them, the people, too.
What happened to “Magyar Gárda” (The Hungarian Guard)? How does Jobbik today relate to the “Magyar Gárda”, or as it is called currently?
The “Magyar Gárda” has been greatly undermined by the media, although the original idea was to provide meaningful tasks for self-motivated and eager people resembling the Swiss and the American National Guard. However, in the troubled times of the Gyurcsány government the Gárda became a victim of political mud-wrestling. Instead of a supportive organisation, it became a persecuted group. Alas, I will not refuse them because I know how many honest and law-abiding people make up this community, and I hope that the time will come when such legal relations can be established where the Guard can fulfil its mission to help people in distress or even disaster situations.
I can imagine neither coalition nor outside support. If we go into opposition, we will vote as we did so before. We will vote for the issues that are in the interest of the country and we will not vote for those that are not.
What plans do you have in the eventuality that you become government?
Livelihood, order, accountability: these are our primary goals. If we had to explain it in a nutshell, then we mean fair wages and a safe pension system on livelihood, stronger public security and gendarmerie on order, and the abolition of parliamentary immunity and the declassification of encryptions on accountability.
If you were in government, how would you relate to foreign investors?
The firms that provide knowledge, technique and jobs are welcome and invited as we want to work for this country in alliance with them, but market-reserving multinational capital will be pushed back. What Hungary can produce and what service we can provide should not be done by foreigners instead of us. I believe all reputably thinking politicians agree with that in their own country, regardless of their ideological belongings.
How should the government’s politics change concerning Roma minorities?
Instead of asserting rights, the emphasis should be placed on duties. Otherwise, we do not want to divide society to Hungarian and Roma, but to fair, or ambitious and unfair. We have not had and will not have a single point in our program that would differentiate Hungarian citizens based on religion or ethnicity. On the contrary we say that the same rules apply to everyone but those rules must be kept.
In your opinion how can internal order and security be established in Hungary?
Order and safety can only be established if politicians are capable of establishing order in their lives and relationships with one another. Corrupt and discredited leaders can only create disorder, not order. In my opinion the first objective of a politician is the inner task to create order within. When it is done, then he may stand out to the public, but I do not want to go in this philosophical direction…
Many things are needed, for example jobs with fair wages, easier access to housing, the resolution of the currency crisis and better public safety. I consider this one of our future governance’s most important missions and tasks, because if this tendency continues Hungary will get into an unsustainable demographic, economic and social security crisis.
How does Jobbik relate to the government’s foreign policy? What countries or superpowers would it make alliance with if the party was in government? What is Jobbik’s geopolitical strategy?
Jobbik thinks that Hungary has to rethink its relations with the Union, and that the treaty of accession should be amended on several points. The most important thing is to maintain the best possible economic and political connection with the three superpowers determinant to us: Germany, Russia and Turkey. Strange as it may be that we fought the most with these countries during our history, it is not a coincidence as our region is important to them. That is why I was the first to announce in Hungary the “Superpower Triangle” foreign policy strategy, and time is going to prove me right as it did before in countless other foreign policy issues. On the regional level I see the way out in the creation of a Polish-Hungarian-Croatian axis, something that also I talked about for the first time, and here I am sure of my truth as well.
What are those European parties that you would make alliance with? Which radical European party does Jobbik most resemble?
My view about the European political performance is terribly distressing. We are a decadent and hypocritical continent which will be swept away by history if we continue to operate this way. Europe should be led back to its own tradition-abiding way, because the Americanisation that is going on right now is completely alien and damaging to us. We seek contact with those who see this similarly, who think that Europe’s future is not Euroatlantism but Eurasianism – ergo a partnership with Russia, Turkey, the Arab world and its force field. So far there are only a few of us but this number will increase because life will force it out.
What is your position concerning the Ukrainian-Russian conflict?
This is not a Ukrainian-Russian conflict but a Russian-American conflict as it was then in Georgia and now in Syria. Jobbik considers the Crimean referendum legitimate, although both sides gave serious cause for concern with their flaunting of force, but the people stated their clear opinion in a referendum. The United States had to admit that it cannot boss the whole world around, it cannot play the part of the single decision maker that can do anything and does not have to account for anything. A new world is being built where the USA has an important but not unequalled role. And I think it is fair this way.