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Author: Dominik Héjj

Hungary’s friends in need

When the first three cases of COVID-19 were registered in Hungary in March 2020, the government instituted a state of emergency and imposed restrictions that could still be in place this summer. At that time the Hungarian authorities almost immediately followed other countries in their fight against the virus; first by purchasing, independent of the EU, personal protection gear and later, non-EU approved vaccines.

Hungary has used the pandemic to convince the European Union and its own citizens that in difficult situations there is no point counting on EU institutions. Only partners from the East (mainly China and Russia) are reliable. These are real friends indeed. The sequence of priority (China being first) is not accidental either. It was from China that Hungary received an almost uninterrupted supply of personal protective gear. Deliveries, which arrived on board WizzAir planes (Hungary’s low-cost airline), were welcomed by senior officials at Budapest’s airport, including the minister of foreign affairs, Péter Szijjártó.

June 23, 2021 - Dominik Héjj

The rebranding of Jobbik

The far right party Jobbik plays a significant role in Hungary’s political system. It now has its sights on the 2018 parliamentary elections and has indicated its plans to be a serious challenger to Viktor Orbán. Whether it is really able to move to the centre and appeal to a broader set of voters remains an open question.

Hungary’s Jobbik, a radical right-wing political party, was established in 2003. Its creation was a response to the discontent noted among young voters who felt disappointed with the political situation and was largely related to the right wing’s loss in the parliamentary elections in 2002 when a liberal-left coalition, composed of the Hungarian Socialist Party (Magyar Szocialista Párt, MSZP) and the Alliance for Free Democrats (Szabad Demokraták Szövetsége, SzDSz), came to power.

Jobbik, in fact, emerged from a transformation of a group called the Community of Right-Wing Youth (Jobboldali Ifjúsági Közösség, or JIK for short), that was set up in 1999, after the victory of the Fidesz-Hungarian Democratic Forum (MDF) coalition. JIK was to become a platform for exchanging ideas and working towards consolidating groups with similar right wing and nationalistic views. The group was set up by around 50 people, including Dávid Kovács and Gábor Vona.

October 31, 2017 - Dominik Héjj

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