Did Hungary’s Jobbik party change over the years?
Asked by MTI whether they believed radical nationalist Jobbik had changed over the years, Hungary’s political parties were unanimous in their opinion that Jobbik was still the same party it was six years ago when one of its MPs made derogatory remarks about Jews in a radio interview.
In an interview with Szent Korona (Holy Crown) Radio in 2011, Jobbik lawmaker István Apáti said that apart from Jobbik, all parties were “aiding the Jews” and that Hungary “has become free prey to Israel”.
“Jobbik is willing to do anything for power and money, including deny its past anti-Semitic remarks,” ruling Fidesz said. The party called it “shameful” that Jobbik had “insulted” various groups, including Hungary’s Jewish community. Jobbik’s leaders never apologised for these comments and no one was ever expelled from the party for making them, Fidesz added.
The Socialist Party said in a statement that they, too, felt that Jobbik was still “the same radical party as in the past”.
Not even the party’s more recent “cuteness campaign” will help it let go of its past, they insisted. If Jobbik were truly committed to becoming a people’s party, Apáti would not still be a member of its parliamentary group, the Socialists said.
The leftist Democratic Coalition (DK) said that it “did not for a minute fall for Jobbik’s cuteness campaign and self-proclaimed democratisation”. DK said it still viewed Gábor Vona’s party as an “anti-European, exclusionary, racist and anti-Semitic party” and a “B-team” of Fidesz. Any form of cooperation with Jobbik is out of the question, they said.
The opposition Együtt party agreed that Jobbik “has not changed at all” over the past several years.
“It is still the same far-right party that is trying to spread savage ideas while putting on a guise of cuteness,” Együtt leader Viktor Szigetvári said.
Tímea Szabó of Párbeszéd (Dialogue) said her party saw no difference between “the kind of incitement being spewed by Jobbik and the kind being carried out by the Fidesz-Christian Democrats alliance in Hungary today”. She said Fidesz and Jobbik were “competing with each other in fear-mongering and inciting hate”.
Green opposition LMP was not available for comment.
Featured image: Balázs Béli