Why did the Orbán-led Fidesz dominate the Hungarian general election?
According to Gábor Török, popular Hungarian political analyst, Fidesz has won Sunday’s general election with a greater advantage than anyone could have expected. But what are the reasons behind the extreme support and success?
If we look at pre-election polls and estimations, the support of the different parties was predicted more or less accurately – except for Fidesz, which exceeded expectations. The governing party received way more votes than four years ago, even though the repetition of that result would have been enough to win.
Since the change of regime, no Hungarian political party has won three elections in a row, especially with such a high rate of support.
Number 1: Not many people expected a turnout rate around 70%. And those who counted with this scenario were sure that it would favour the opposition. Fidesz has never won a general election with high turnout until now – and when it happened, it was sweeping. Hence, the current result gives a stronger legitimacy than they had in 2014.
Number 2: During the day, when the news about a record-breaking turnout flood the press, two counter-arguments were competing with each other. According to the first one, the opposition managed to call on undecided voters, while the others believed that it was actually Fidesz’s campaign which attracted new voters.
Moreover, the success lies in the well-organised, simplified, easily understandable and wide-spread campaign.
Fidesz’s significant advantage in resources – like the centralised press and overwhelming presence in public places – might have played an important role in the process.
Based on data, it seems like the party’s support grew in smaller villages, where traditional Fidesz-voters were joined by undecided voters who were probably convinced to vote on the grounds of protecting the country and fear of migrants.
Number 3: Data also shows that there are “two Hungarys” in 2018. On the one hand, there is a gap between the city and the countryside; on the other hand, there is a gap between political preferences.
The worlds seem to be farther away from each other than ever.
Fidesz’s other secret is that it managed to keep more than two million people on the same side and herd them in the same direction, while the opposition remained divided without a common goal and effective cooperation. No political power has strengthened in the opposition, which ensured the success of Fidesz.
Number 4: While it was hard to predict the result of the election, it is easy to guess what will happen with the opposition now. Voters wanting the change of government will probably blame opposition parties in their despair. Therefore the trust in them will weaken further.
All four opposition parties failed to live up to their goals and performed worse than expected. The president of Jobbik and the Socialists, and the co-president of LMP resigned right after the result.
The opposition will most probably fall into a crisis until next year’s European Parliament and municipal elections.
Number 5: The future of Fidesz is now harder to predict. Everyone was surprised when in 2014, after the successful general and municipal elections, the support for the party fell drastically. A similar situation could occur. However, it is impossible to tell now.
We should instead analyse who will become stronger in the party because of the victory. For instance, János Lázár is now the “comeback kid” in Hódmezővásárhely, while Antal Rogán – being the director of communication and campaign – also took a great part of the victory.
Beside the positioning of different actors and the fight of different power groups, the main question regarding the future is how long Viktor Orbán plans to continue his career.
Featured image: MTI