Entries RSS Feed Share Send to Facebook Tweet This Accessible version

Weeklies on Péter Magyar and the electoral campaign

April 29th, 2024

As the campaign for the European and the municipal elections of June 9 kicked off last week, most commentators were surprised by Péter Magyar’s rapid success and try to make sense of this phenomenon. 

In Jelen, Zoltán Lakner sees Magyar as the main factor shaping the political agenda this spring. As a result, he writes, the European elections have a stake for all participants, as the previously assured crushing victory of Fidesz is by now far from guaranteed. Lakner refrains from making projections in such a fast-changing environment, so the more so, as he doubts whether any of the available opinion polls are sufficiently independent and transparent. 

Magyar Hang devotes four articles to the Magyar phenomenon. András Lányi attributes his success to the worsening of living conditions for millions of Hungarians over the past years. He believes what he calls the Orbán regime has failed to deliver on its promise of a better life for everyone and it is only a matter of time until it is voted out of power. 

In Élet és Irodalom, György Petőcz also thinks that Hungary is witnessing a shift in public opinion, which will only result in regime change if the government’s narrative is defeated. That narrative, he continues, describes the population as divided into two fatally opposing and hostile halves. Péter Magyar, on the other hand, has proclaimed that his movement is open to left-wingers and right-wingers, liberals and conservatives alike, he remarks. If that inclusive interpretation of politics becomes dominant, Petőcz writes, then the incumbent regime will fall. 

Demokrata’s Gábor Bencsik, on the other hand, believes that Magyar with his slim-fit shirts, sneakers and turned up collars is a professional marketing phenomenon without actually telling his customers what he is selling, apart from himself. He doesn’t think that such an approach can be successful in the long run, because in politics one must be consistent and devoted to a good cause to succeed. 

In Magyar Narancs, by contrast, Máté Csabai indicates a few substantive elements in Magyar’s speeches. As he sees it, Fidesz has moved towards radical right-wing politics and Magyar intends to fill the centrist vacuum thus created, by building a movement free of ideologies and uniting a wide array of people based on what he calls a ‘national minimum’. 

In Heti Világgazdaság, Márton Földes finds innovative traits in Magyar’s campaigning. He reaches young people through Discord, a social media platform originally invented for gaming groups, where he interacts with young people who don’t use Facebook anymore. His channel there has 20,000 visitors and their numbers are growing daily. It is also possible, Földes writes, that the Discord platform will be discovered by pro-government pundits as well, and thus become another channel where they can try and discredit Magyar. 

Mandiner hasn’t mentioned Magyar for the past two weeks. On the European election, it carries a commentary by Fanni Lajkó, a junior researcher at the pro-government ’For Basic Rights’ think tank, who hopes that the electorate will bring new people to the European Parliament. She would find this decisive in order to promote peace in Ukraine as well as national sovereignty and measures to curb unlawful immigration in addition to driving back gender ideology and wokeism. 

Tags: ,