21st Mar 2018


Where next after the Hungarian election?

National elections took place in Hungary on 6 April and the final results have now been made public. While the coalition of political parties on the left gained new voters, it was not sufficient to block the majority of the ruling conservative forces.

The new parliament’s 199 seats will be divided as follows: the ruling conservative Fidesz has 133 seats (44% of the votes), the left coalition led by the socialist MSZP has 38 seats (26% of the votes), the far-right Jobbik party 23 seats (20% of the votes), and the green LMP 5 seats (5% of the votes).

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • The turnout in the 2009 EU election in Hungary was 36.28 percent (Photo: Lassi Kurkijärvi)

Jobbik managed to increase the number of its supporters. The party has been considered a racist and extremist party for many years, but for this campaign it managed to convey a new, “friendlier” image, avoiding any ethnic-racist topics.

From the end of 2013, Jobbik party campaigners focussed on general populism, offering security, jobs and a better life. The strategy allowed the party to keep old radical supporters on board, while attracting new, less radical voters.

Meanwhile the four-party left-wing coalition is still the strongest in opposition, but it will have to rethink its strategies for the upcoming European elections if it does not want to lose this position.

Socialist party leader Attila Mesterhazy admitted that it had been a mistake to isolate the far right, and not to confront and debate with them. He also said he would instill new values in the socialist party, and is calling for a “pro-security” discourse to counter the far-right’s power.

The former chair of the socialist party, Istvan Hiller, said many of the extreme right voters used to support the socialist party, and that they had to find a way to win them back.

But neither party tried to get the so-called “ethnic” votes. While US President Barack Obama could rely on more than 90 percent of the African-American community's votes, plus a high percentage of the Hispanic community's vote, in Hungary no party targeted the Roma community, which makes up 6-8 percent of the total population.

So far, there have only been stories about politicians buying their votes directly, but no party has engaged them in the longer term and given priority to this group. There are a few exceptions, with some politicians with a Roma background, but they seem very loyal to their non-Roma parties (both socialist and conservative), and no real actions are expected from their side.

In the upcoming European election on 25 May, low participation and motivation among voters is to be expected. In 2009, the turnout was 36.28 percent. This gave a large advantage to the far-right, which won three seats out of 22.

The conservative Fidesz party will probably win most of the seats again, but the real competition will revolve around the second place.

Will the well-organised, strongly connected Jobbik voters or the path-searching leftish-liberal parties win it?

Involving vulnerable groups, like Roma, LGBTQ or Jewish communities could make a difference. However it is not enough to expose the racism of the Jobbik Party, the left-wing coalition has to offer something positive to gain the support of these communities.

They could, for instance, highlight the positive effects of the European Union on Hungary, and how MEPs can strengthen human rights and develop better conditions for Hungarians during their next mandate.

On the other hand, “pro-security” communication may cause more damage as it was never part of social-democratic values. In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both”.

The writer is Director of the Foundation of Subjective Values and Coordinator of the European Network Against Racism (ENAR) in Hungary


Hungary's Orban wins another term, Jobbik support jumps

Hungary's centre-right Prime Minister Viktor Orban was handed another four years in government after national elections on Sunday, early results show, while the far-right Jobbik scooped a fifth of the votes.

'Denial' - is meat the new climate change?

The European Parliament's agriculture committee meets on Tuesday, with speculation that the EPP will vote against a report on the EU plant protein plan if it mentions switching away from animals to plant-based diets.

Moria refugee camp is no place for people

Two years on from the highly-controversial EU-Turkey deal, many thousands of refugees are still trapped on Greek islands. One of them offers an open invitation to EU leaders to see their inhospitable conditions at the Moria refugee camp on Lesbos.

Four years on – but we will not forget illegally-occupied Crimea

Together with many other partners, including the United States, Canada and Norway, the European Union has implemented a policy of non-recognition and sanctions regimes, targeting people and entities that have promoted Russia's illegal annexation.

Column / Brussels Bytes

EU e-privacy proposal risks breaking 'Internet of Things'

EU policymakers need to clarify that the e-privacy should not apply to most Internet of Things devices. The current proposal require explicit user consent in all cases - which is not practical.

News in Brief

  1. Separatist activist renounces Catalonia leadership candidacy
  2. EU puts conditions on Bayer-Monsanto merger
  3. Hard Brexit would hit poorer Irish households hardest
  4. Finland hosts secretive North Korean talks
  5. EU to unveil 3% tax on digital giants
  6. German elected S&D leader in European Parliament
  7. Germany: nearly €350m child benefit goes abroad
  8. Norway's far-right doubles support as minister resigns

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EUobserverStart a Career in EU Media. Apply Now to Become Our Next Sales Associate
  2. EUobserverHiring - Finance Officer With Accounting Degree or Experience - Apply Now!
  3. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  4. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  5. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  6. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  7. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  8. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  10. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  11. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  12. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?

Latest News

  1. Judicial reforms 'restore balance', Poland tells EU
  2. Whistleblower fears for life as US arrest Malta bank chair
  3. Behind the scenes at Monday's EU talks on Russia
  4. US yet to push on Nord Stream 2 sanctions
  5. EU mulls coercion to get refugee kids' fingerprints
  6. Five east European states prevent new CAP consensus
  7. EU to probe UK 'election-rigging' firm
  8. 'Denial' - is meat the new climate change?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressThe 2018 European Medal of Tolerance Goes to Prince Albert II of Monaco
  2. FiscalNoteGlobal Policy Trends: What to Watch in 2018
  3. Human Rights and Democracy NetworkPromoting Human Rights and Democracy in the Next Eu Multiannual Financial Framework
  4. Mission of China to the EUDigital Cooperation a Priority for China-EU Relations
  5. ECTACompetition must prevail in the quest for telecoms investment
  6. European Friends of ArmeniaTaking Stock of 30 Years of EU Policy on the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: How Can the EU Contribute to Peace?
  7. ILGA EuropeCongratulations Finland!
  8. UNICEFCyclone Season Looms Over 720,000 Rohingya Children in Myanmar & Bangladesh
  9. European Gaming & Betting AssociationEU Court: EU Commission Correct to Issue Guidelines for Online Gambling Services
  10. Mission of China to the EUChina Hopes for More Exchanges With Nordic, Baltic Countries
  11. Macedonian Human Rights MovementCondemns Facebook for Actively Promoting Anti-Macedonian Racism
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersGlobal Seed Vault: Gene Banks Gather to Celebrate 1 Million Seed Collections