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Vona turns towards the centre

February 5th, 2015

A moderate conservative analyst suggests that Jobbik leader Gábor Vona has a chance to become PM Orbán’s challenger, after a series  of surprisingly measured statements designed to win over new layers of the electorate.

In an analysis of Vona’s “state of the nation” speech on Mandiner, Ákos Gergely Balogh says the leader of the radical right-wing party is consciously tuning down his party’s radicalism in order to extend his influence to more moderate voters. The most surprising novelty of Vona’s speech was a promise that if it comes to power, Jobbik would end the ongoing “cold civil war” and would never dismiss public servants  for their allegiance to other political forces. In 2008, Balogh remarks, Vona wanted “Islamic Guard-style” paramilitary units to stage marches through Hungary’s cities. True, he adds, over the past years, he has consistently tried to sound more reasonable. If he manages to convince undecided voters that they have nothing to fear from Jobbik and can even hope that it will bring them calm and security, Balogh concludes, he may well become PM Orbán’s challenger, especially in the absence of a credible left-wing opposition.

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