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Jobbik’s victory in Tapolca

April 14th, 2015

In the Tapolca by-election on Sunday, Jobbik candidate Lajos Rig won the nationalist party’s first ever seat in an individual constituency. Commentators across the political spectrum now consider Jobbik a potential challenger to Fidesz.

According to the preliminary results, Lajos Rig is set to win the Tapolca by-election by a very narrow margin. With a relatively low turnout of 41.6 per cent, Rig received 35.3 per cent of the votes, followed by Fidesz candidate Zoltán Fenyvesi (34.4 per cent) and Ferenc Pad, the joint candidate of left-wing parties (26.3 per cent).

The Jobbik genie is out of the bottle, Népszabadság comments in a front-page editorial. The leading left-wing daily contends that the Tapolca result shows that Fidesz has lost its credibility and can no longer contain the emerging far-right Jobbik party. After its victory in Tapolca, the threat which Jobbik represents cannot be downplayed, Népszabadság writes.

In Magyar Nemzet, Szabolcs Szerető believes that Jobbik’s victory is a wake-up call for Fidesz. After winning three consecutive nationwide elections in 2014, Fidesz has still not realized that its supporters are yearning for consolidation, the conservative columnist speculates. Instead of slowing down, Fidesz opened new front lines and conflicts which have by now alienated one million of its former voters, Szerető adds.

The results show that Jobbik has broken ‘the glass ceiling’ by winning in a single seat district, Gábor Török remarks. The centrist analyst cautions against making far-fetched predictions on the basis of by-elections taking place three years ahead of the next Parliamentary election, but notes that Fidesz will have to take Jobbik’s challenge seriously. The Fidesz strategy to contain Jobbik seems to have strengthened the far-right party, and so the governing party will need to look for new ways to defeat its radical contender, Török concludes.

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