Why this story matters:
If someone told me a year ago that the Hungarian liberal opposition would join the far-right party, Jobbik, during a manifestation, I would not have believed it. But this is exactly what is going to happen today because liberals and the alt-right have a common enemy -- the ruling Fidesz party.
Jobbik decided to organize the protest days after the State Audit Office (ASZ) announced that it would fine the party for breaching the rules of political funding. The fine pertains to several billboards that Jobbik acquired below the market price. It doesn’t help the case that the advertisement on billboards recently scattered across the country depicted the Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, as a corrupt criminal.
Hence, 663 million forints (2.5 million dollars) will soon be missing from the party's coffer. Jobbik’s leader, Gabor Vona, claims that this blow might impede them from running in the general elections next April. He considers the fine an attack from Fidesz.
The ruling party has little to cause to worry about the elections but, Jobbik h a s become its biggest rival. In recent years, the anti-immigration party changed its tone and rebranded itself to attract a wider audience. The strategy worked. As it slightly veered towards the center, it became appealing to many Hungarians disappointed with Fidesz.
Gone are the days when Jobbik was proud of its members' anti-Semitic and racist slurs.
Meanwhile, the left-wing parties are divided so many people believe that, in the long run, only Jobbik could challenge Viktor Orban, who has ruled Hungary for almost 8 years now. According to the latest poll by Republikon, 57% of votes would be cast in favour of Fidesz, while 13% of potential voters prefer Jobbik. Although the difference is significant, Jobbik remains the second political force after Fidesz.
It is therefore somewhat suspicious that four months before the elections, the ruling party's nearest rival receives such a blow. The local branch of Transparency International rebuked ASZ for only investigating Jobbik and not Fidesz, which has also brocken the rules on political funding.
The fine was also criticized by liberal opposition parties, who called it anti-democratic. Two of them, LMP and Momentum announced that some of their politicians would march with Jobbik on Friday to the HQ of Fidesz in Budapest. It will be a historical moment.
To learn more about the participating opposition parties' reasoning, click on the article below.
Details from the story:
- The ruling of ASZ cannot be appealed. Jobbik has 15 days to respond.
- Gabor Vona, the leader of Jobbik, launched a fundraising campaign. In four days, people donated 21.4 million forints.
- A representative of Jobbik told Nepszava that everyone, who „refuses to live in a dictatorship”, is welcome at today's demonstration, regardless of which party they support.
- Attila Juhasz, a political analyst at the Political Capital, told Nepszava that it would be a success for Jobbik if well-known figures and politicians not affiliated with the party showed up today as a gesture of solidarity.