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Radicals versus radicals on the far-right

August 18th, 2011

The radical right-wing party Jobbik wants to present itself as a viable alternative to the present government at the next elections. Liberal commentators argue that uniting all the groups to the right of Fidesz, including radical parliamentary politicians and extremist far-right groups may not be feasible.

Jobbik has crashed again into the signpost that separates radicals wearing ties from those wearing hoods, ” write liberal commentators András Kósa and Ádám Kiss in Hírszerző.

At a festival organized by the extreme right-wing Sixty-Four Counties Youth Movement, Zsolt Tyirityán, head of  the ‘Betyársereg’ (Bandit’s Army – an association loosely allied with Jobbik) outlined in a roundtable discussion the possibility of race wars. He noted  that Hungarian radicals should be prepared to “pull the trigger of an automatic rifle if they see a person of a different skin colour.” Radicals, he added, should “have the courage to shoot the rotten, lousy Jews,” when Israel attacks Hungary.

In another incident, György Gyula Zagyva, a member of the Jobbik parliamentary group and honorary president of the Sixty-Four Counties Youth Movement, staged a protest at the entrance of Island (Sziget) Rock Festival in Budapest with 70 other members of the far-right group. The police had earlier banned the demonstration. Zagyva was detained for disturbing public order.

Jobbik at first declined to comment on these incidents, but later distanced itself in passing from such words and actions. Party chairman Gábor Vona told a press conference that Jobbik was opposed to violence, and there was a certain line which the party was not prepared to cross, but then refused to take questions from journalists.

The incidents show how hard it will be to unite radicals disappointed by the current government, Kósa and Kiss suggest. On the one hand, Jobbik wants to prove that it is a responsible and trustworthy party, a possible alternative to the governing centre-right coalition. On the other hand, Jobbik wants to maximize its support and thus often pays lip service to the violent rhetoric used by extreme right groups. “A reasonable proposal based on democratic principles, is followed by gruesome statements, anti-semitic and unrealistic ideas.”

Kósa and Kiss note that while in opposition, the current PM Viktor Orbán also tried to unite the opposition under a single banner, but could not keep moderate conservatives and radical right-wing sympathizers together for long. Jobbik has grown out of the right-wing branches of the great anti-socialist alliance led by Fidesz. It may happen that Jobbik will have to face similar challenges. “We are curious to see what Jobbik will do with its own right-wing radicals,” Kósa and Kiss conclude.

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