The Rise of the Extreme Right

I used to think that Fidesz represented the nadir of Hungarian politics. Since their re-election in 2010, Fidesz have succeeded in dismantling or subverting the fundamental institutions of a liberal democracy. The courts, particularly the once-powerful Constitutional Court, have been neutralised, the Head of State is a senior Fidesz politician and long-time ally of the prime minister, and party discipline within Fidesz is rock-solid. Much of the media is either controlled directly by the ruling party or it is owned by entrepreneurs who are broadly loyal to Fidesz and its interests.

However, I was naive to imagine that things couldn't get much worse. They can. They have. Last Sunday, in a crucial by-election in a constituency that includes towns such as Tapolca and Sumeg, as well as dozens of villages, the Jobbik candidate, Lajos Rig, was successful. During the campaign Rig was accused of having a tatoo which suggests that he has sympathies with the notorious Nazi German military formation, the  SS. Rig denied the accusations but declined to reveal his tatoos.

Jobbik is steadily gaining ground in Hungary, particularly in the provinces and amongst the young, including university students, who seem  alienated by leftist or  social-democratic ideologies. Jobbik, denounced by some government ministers as a Nazi party, relies on antipathy towards Roma and Jews as well as on suspicion of the European Union, foreign business interests etc. It is a party built on fear, ignorance, aggression and seething resentments. If Jobbik comes to power - largey due to the incompetence and venality of Fidesz and the failure of genuinely democratic opposition parties to establish a united front - Hungary is liable to move even further from mainstream European values, while wages and living standards are liable to remain far below the European average. Hungary and Hungarians deserve so much better than a re-run of the 1930s, which can only end in a self-inflicted  disaster for the country.

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Twilight of Liberal Democracy

Sunday 22 January 2017
From: Social Europe The Fourth Estate and The Twilight of Liberal Democracy, Part One by Stephen Pogány on 18 January 2017 78 Shares Share Tweet Share …...