Gábor Vona and his party have set an ambitious goal: winning the parliamentary election in 2018. If we believe the opinion polls, the far-right power is almost level with governing party Fidesz and miles ahead of the Socialists (MSZP). The increase in Jobbik’s popularity is due not the least thanks to its de-radicalisation and transformation into a popular party – in France the Front National led by Marine Le Pen is undergoing a similar process.
Jobbik’s president, Vona spoke clearly at the 12th Jobbik party day in Budapest Congress Centre this month: “We get up every morning knowing that we will get to govern.” Regarding the overhaul of image, Vona said this process is not a way for winning power by any means, it’s simply “living reality”.
He repeated his former words according to which today in Hungary it is not about the conflict of “the left and the right but about that of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries”. Jobbik to him is a party of the 21st century seeking answers to the real problems of the country. As opposed to this, Fidesz and the MSZP embodied the 20th century with their continual conflict. Vona gave as an example the German occupation monument on Szabadság tér, which raised anger on the left side for weeks.
“We have left the war trenches of the 20th century”
“Did it do any good to the country that Fidesz raised the statue and MSZP protested against it?” Vona asked his audience. He pointed out that in the meantime people were leaving the country en masse and those who stay live in pitiful conditions. Jobbik – besides green party LMP – was the only political power in the country that was addressing the real problems of Hungarian society. The parties of the 20th century on the other hand, especially Fidesz and MSZP, were busy with their overdriven empty conflicts, or shadow fighting in other words. He and Jobbik had “left the war trenches of the 20th century”.
Vona concluded that Fidesz has fallen into a negative spiral since the beginning of this year, which manifests in its steady loss of popularity. According to him, the by-election in Veszprém proved that there is a political atmosphere of upheaval in the country, which was confirmed by the subsequent poll in Tapolca. The message was that there is a political power seen by many voters as the way out: Jobbik.
“You can’t practise politics with a crowbar today“
The party had proved in Tapolca that it was able to triumph over Fidesz, which had been unbeatable for many years. Regarding the left parties, Vona said he does not under-estimate them but he has to conclude that they have been in a process of “disintegration” for a long time, accompanied by an “acute shortage of programs”.
The party that aims to win the next elections must have a clearly outlined program and an aura of “peace”, because “you can’t practise politics with a crowbar today”. Both of these conditions are met by Jobbik, he said.
Addressing those critics who doubt that Jobbik has truly denounced its radicalism and evolved into a popular party, Vona said he will remove all “wild roots”, meaning radical elements, from the party. “The ones yearning for Nazi romance have no place in our party; they have the wrong address.”
He promised that if Jobbik is victorious in 2018 it would clean the Augean stables and lead a merciless war against corruption, creating an anti-corruption authority “of which even we would be afraid”.