Fidesz HQ in communications meltdown after Hódmezővásárhely election defeat

March 1, 2018

Fidesz HQ in communications meltdown after Hódmezővásárhely election defeat
Screenshot from Fidesz latest campaign ad | Source: Facebook/Fidesz

There seems to be a slight disturbance in Fidesz’s otherwise smooth, unified communication since independent candidate Péter Márki-Zay decisively defeated the governing party’s candidate in the mayoral by-election in Hódmezővásárhely, a Fidesz stronghold.

First, on Monday, a day after the Hódmezővásárhely defeat, government propagandists Zsolt Bayer, István Lovas and András Bencsik, who have all spent the previous years echoing the government’s xenophobic, fear-mongering and anti-Soros propaganda, suddenly realized that the endless smear campaign might have backfired, and worriedly suggested that Fidesz should change its campaign strategy: the very strategy that so far has been built on nothing more than accusing Hungarian-American financier-philanthropist George Soros and leaders of the opposition with conspiring to turn Hungary into a country of immigrant Muslim hordes.

On the same day, at a Fidesz board meeting, members of the board suggested the party focus on more positive messages because the endless smearing of Soros might not deliver a strong enough message to win local constituencies. In accordance with this decision, on Tuesday the all-powerful Fidesz party headquarters instructed politicians of the governing party to stop referring to Soros in a negative context, according to Magyar Nemzet‘s information.

Fidesz politicians obediently followed the HQ’s instructions. According to index.hu’s selection, on Wednesday morning Fidesz MPs and candidates posted on their official Facebook pages using cheerful emoticons about things such as snow shoveling and the beauty of living in the countryside, renovation of the local community center, the low rate of unemployment and a report about the respective MPs’ achievements since 2010.

However, the latest campaign video posted on Fidesz’s Facebook page seems to be seriously out of touch with the new positive and Soros-less campaign. The 20-second video shows footage of migrants chanting “Allahu Akbar [God is greatest] in front of Budapest’s Keleti Railway station in September 2015, with a subtitle that says “this will be Hungary’s fate…” then cuts to Fidesz’s latest propaganda ad that portrays opposition leaders holding wirecutters in Soros’s embrace with a subtitle “…if Soros’s men come to power.”

Also on Wednesday, Fidesz’s version of Breitbart News, 888.hu, posted an article titled “What’s up with you guys?” in which the unnamed author wonders whether the editorial of Pesti Srácok, another decidedly pro-government news portal, had been “occupied” after the blog published an article citing a recent poll according to which Fidesz’s popularity has hit a one-year low. Even though Pesti Srácok quickly realized the mistake and changed the title of the article from “Fidesz has stopped, the opposition is spanning upwards” to “The quarterer of the Gyurcsány-Vona coalition, [liberal think-tank] Republikon already dreams about Fidesz collapsing”, the 888.hu article is still available with a screenshot of the original article attached.