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Jobbik politician envisions Roma-Hungarian civil war

April 30th, 2012

A left-wing commentator thinks the government majority is the only beneficiary of the latest far-right scandal. A pro-government columnist, on the other hand, suggests that alarmism is promoted by the radical right and opposition parties alike.

ATV, a left-wing television channel aired a phone conversation recorded before the local by-election in Gyöngyöspata (see BudaPost July 20, 2011). In the tape Oszkár Juhász, who was soon elected mayor of a municipality known for the marches of the banned paramilitary Hungarian Guard (see BudaPost May 2, 2011), claims that the outbreak of a civil war between the Roma and the non-Roma is inevitable. He adds, however, that Jobbik should become stronger “both in numbers and technical equipment” before the conflict erupts, otherwise a police force loyal to Fidesz would easily put it down. He actually calls the main governing party “Zsidesz”, that is “Jewdesz”. After ATV aired the tape, Juhász said that he only wanted to calm his rather angry fellows, who were considering violent steps. His party, Jobbik stated that Juhász had expressed his personal views in a private discussion, and filed a complaint to the Parliamentary committee overseeing privacy, claiming that Jobbik politicians are illegally placed under surveillance. The Socialists, meanwhile, summoned the Parliamentary Commission on National Security in order to investigate whether Juhász’s statement amounts to contemplating a coup d’etat. After the meeting of the Commission, the LMP filed a  felony claim with the Prosecutors Office, while Károly Kontrát, Under Secretary at the Ministry of the Interior said there was absolutely no danger of  civil war, and the whole issue was simply about in-fighting within Jobbik.

Writing in 168 Óra, Tamás Mészáros is not at all surprised to learn that a Jobbik politician is toying with the idea of ethnic civil war: “If they could, they would without doubt try to ignite civil war.” The left-wing columnist suggests that the airing of the tape serves the interests of Fidesz, since it may frighten right-leaning voters who are dissatisfied with the current centre-right government, away from supporting the radical right-wing Jobbik. Fidesz, nonetheless, does not want to openly confront Jobbik, Mészáros speculates. He thinks this strategy may backfire, however, since Jobbik can thus become stronger and challenge Fidesz from the right at the next election, Mészáros concludes.

Threatening civil war serves the interests of Jobbik, the left-wing parties and the Roma leaders, comments Gábor Bencsik in Magyar Demokrata. According to the right-wing pundit, all the political actors involved, except Fidesz benefit from groundless alarmism. The left uses the opportunity to claim that Hungary is in deep crisis, Jobbik can warn about the dangers of the Roma by discussing the likelihood of a civil war, while Roma leaders can claim that they are oppressed in this country, Bencsik contends.

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