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Multilateral cooperation urged against anti-Gypsy radicalism

March 6th, 2013

The leading left-wing daily calls on the mainstream moderate parties to work out strategic welfare plans to lift the Roma out of poverty, and by implication, take the wind out of the sails of the radical right-wing Jobbik.

On Saturday, Jobbik organized a demonstration in a village (Konyár), to protest against the sacking of a local primary school teacher who claimed during a meeting that Roma children are primitive. The radical right-wing party also wanted to call public attention to the kind of anti-social behaviour and petty theft it labels ‘Gypsy crime.’ Meanwhile, in Parliament, PM Orbán dismissed analysis along these lines by a Jobbik MP as “pure racism.”

Both left and right share responsibility for Jobbik’s successful anti-Roma mobilization, Népszabadság writes in a front page editorial. The left-wing daily points out that Jobbik’s simplistic and demagogic law-and-order policies can attract public support only because the mainstream parties have not done much to fight poverty. In order to challenge Jobbik’s popularity in poor regions where the Roma population is over-represented, long-term strategic anti-poverty programs would be needed, Népszabadság contends. This would also require consensus and cooperation among the mainstream left and right-wing parties, Népszabadság believes. As a sign that such cooperation is possible, the authors note that in the city of Szombathely, the Christian Democrat mayor protested shoulder to shoulder with the Socialists against the presence of Jobbik MP Márton Gyöngyösi there. Gyöngyösi made himself infamous in November last year when he demanded a “survey of MPs and cabinet members of Jewish descent who represent a risk to national security.” (See BudaPost November through December 2012.)

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