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Jobbik’s challenges

March 23rd, 2015

The leading left-wing daily explains Jobbik’s rise as the failure of the Left. A conservative commentator suggests that opinion polls three years ahead of the next elections should not be taken too seriously, since voters become more moderate and mainstream as real elections near.

Jobbik’s increase is a huge blow for the Left, Népszabadság comments on a recent poll showing Jobbik’s rise (see BudaPost March 19). While in most European countries radical left-wing parties capitalize on growing discontent created by corruption and growing anti-capitalist sentiments, in Hungary the Left fails to increase its base despite high level of discontent with the government, the leading left-wing daily notes. Népszabadság suspects that in Hungary dissatisfied voters side with a far-right party that targets the poor and the weak rather than with left-wing parties which he accuses of not objecting to inequality.

Magyar Hírlap’s Alexandra Knopf cautions against making hasty judgments on the basis of a single poll. The conservative columnist acknowledges that polls indicate growing hesitation and discontent among Fidesz voters, but adds that this is not unusual after election years. Without an election in the near future, voters are more prone to express their discontent and show support for radical fringe parties, Knopf remarks. This, she adds, does not mean that they would indeed vote for such parties. Anti-establishment rhetoric is more popular after elections than at elections, since even highly critical voters tend to move to the centre and become more moderate when they go to the ballot box, she continues. Despite its recent moderate turn, Jobbik is still a radical party with anti-Semitic overtones, and that image will constrain its chances of becoming a mainstream mass party, Knopf predicts.

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