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Jobbik’s modest expectations and softer tone

October 7th, 2014

A left-wing analyst remarks that in its campaign ahead of Sunday’s municipal elections the radical right wing party is using a more moderate tone. He suggests that the softening of rhetoric is not just a tactical weapon but reflects a change in Jobbik’s social background.

In Népszabadság, Gábor Czene recalls that in the parliamentary elections last spring Jobbik emerged as the second party in Hungary after Fidesz, and scored more votes than the ruling party in 130 small settlements (out of over 3000). Nevertheless, it only expects to keep its present positions at the municipal elections (with 10 mayors in small settlements and one in a town with over 10 thousand inhabitants). Czene believes that some of Jobbik’s slogans are meant to win over left-wing voters, and that its earlier shift towards a more moderate position has been deemed fruitful by its leaders. In fact, racist language has practically disappeared from Jobbik’s rhetoric. Its mayoral candidates vary enormously in their attitudes. In Győr, their man has been photographed wearing an SS t-shirt, while in Paks the Jobbik candidate is of Roma descent, and their candidate in Miskolc has Jewish ancestry – “a development which should not be underestimated”. Polls show that while Jobbik’s supporters are by far more anti-Gypsy than the average, their racism has receded over the past year, probably as a result of the more moderate language adopted by their leaders. In conclusion, Czene quotes sociologists who have found that while originally Jobbik recruited its supporters among the low wage earning or hopelessly unemployed, typical Jobbik supporters today are relatively educated people earning above the average wage but fearful of losing their status.

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