First Step To Power For Far-Right Since Nazi Era
By Bruno Waterfield
The London Telegraph
The far-Right has taken more parliamentary seats in Hungary’s national elections than at any time since the Second World War
Fidesz, Hungary’s centre-Right party, won 52.77 per cent of the vote, based on 99 per cent of votes counted, in a blow to the Socialist government.
Jobbik, a far-Right party, gained entry into parliament for the first time after winning 16.71 per cent of votes, behind the ruling Socialists who took 19.29 per cent.
Hungary’s largest Jewish organisation warned that the vote was “the first occasion that a movement pursuing openly anti-Semitic policies” has taken a step to power since the Nazi era.
Hungary’s election gains for Jobbik follow a upsurge in support for the far-Right across Europe.
Last month, French regional elections, dominated by debates over immigration, saw electoral revival for the National Front. In June, Dutch elections could propel Geert Wilders, whose anti-Islamic, hard-right Freedom Party leads the polls, into power.
Amid rising unemployment, Hungary was the first European Union country to turn to the International Monetary Fund for an £18 billion bailout last year.
Jobbik has risen by using Hungary’s deep economic crisis to revive traditional Hungarian scape-goating of Jewish and gypsy, or Roma, communities for joblessness and poverty.
It has close links with the Magyar Garda, or Hungarian Guard, a banned paramilitary group with insignia modelled on the Arrow Cross of Hungary’s wartime Nazis.
Gabor Vona, Jobbik’s 31-year old leader, has vowed to be sworn in as an MP wearing the banned uniform. “I will keep my promise to go into parliament on the first day in a Garda vest,” he said.
The Guards, founded by Mr Vona, have polarised Hungary by staging a series of marches against “gypsy crime” through small countryside towns and villages with large Roma communities. An unprecedented series of Roma killings in 2008 and 2009 claimed six lives in several villages.
Styled as the “Movement for a better Hungary”, Jobbik has campaigned to drop free-market IMF reforms and to revive the gendarmerie to police the country’s gypsy minority. Hungary’s Csendorség, or gendarmes, were disbanded for its role in deporting 500,000 Hungarian Jews to their deaths in Nazi concentration camps.
“Jobbik is the only party which can put the country in order,” Tamas Vardai , a university student said outside a Budapest polling station.
A recent copy of the party’s weekly newspaper showed a statue of Saint Gellert, a Hungarian national, holding a menorah, a ceremonial Jewish candelabrum, instead of the cross. The picture’s caption said: “Is this what you want?”.
The Association of Hungarian Jewish Religious Communities, without directly naming Jobbik, has pleaded with voter to turn against anti-Semitic candidates.
Turnout was slightly lower than expected, at 64.29 percent, down three points from the first round of general elections in 2006.
The election results will not be final until a second round to be held on April 25.