“Every single morning we get up in order to prepare to govern,” Jobbik chairman Gábor Vona told a packed house at the Budapest Congressional Center on Saturday. The founder of Hungary’s radical right-wing party told those attending Jobbik’s 12th annual party congress that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán had acknowledged in his speech on Friday that Jobbik was now the main challenger of Fidesz, and voters would essentially have to choose between Fidesz and Jobbik in the 2018 parliamentary election.
“We are going to win the parliamentary election, take a deep breath, and rebuild our homeland,” said Vona.
Sizing up the events of the past year, the politician said Fidesz’ popularity was spiraling downward, and the Tapolca by-election had proved to voters that Jobbik was capable of defeating Fidesz and defeating Viktor Orbán.
He said Hungary’s left was divided and suffered acutely from the lack of a political program.
Vona rejected Orbán’s call on Friday for a new kind of politics in which the government pays more attention to the needs of the people, saying it was just another empty political slogan and lacked credibility coming from the governing party.
On the subject of populist policies, he said there was no time “to hold meetings on tactics at the front”.
The Jobbik chairman said Fidesz and the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) tie Hungary to the 20th century even though we are living in the 21st century. He cited the memorial to the German invasion erected a year ago in the Szabadásg square as an example of this, asking whether the fact Fidesz built it, or that MSZP vociferously opposed it, accomplish anything. He said that meanwhile the country is being destroyed, the people are leaving, and families are drowning in poverty.
Vona said the task before Jobbik was to show the people that the real fault lines are not between right and left but between the 21st and the 20th century.
He said he had come out of the trenches and was being fired on from both sides. It would be good if those who considered him a Nazi would also come out of the trench and “have courage to say that’s enough of this.” Citing the popular rock opera “István a király” (István the king), Vona said “I would say to those people, I do not ask where your mother gave birth in the world, and I do not ask who your father was”. Instead, he would ask that everyone try to put the country back on its feet.
Vona called change painful but said “what does not change is dead”. He said the leadership of the country also needed to develop, and that everything needed to be trimmed from Jobbik that could prevent this.
“Those who desire Nazi romanticism . . . have no place in this party, they have gotten the wrong address.” He said that they would “trim those wild shoots that constituted opportunistic behavior in the case of a party that is increasingly popular”.
There were three possibilities before the party: a segment party, a “dozen party” (tucatpárt), or a true people`s party. He believes it should be the latter, and that its policies should amount to “necessary and possible harmony”. Decisive and calm strength was needed because it was not possible to conduct politics with force. Hungary was where it is today because of corruption and arrogance.
Vona emphasized that politics is service and that when Jobbik comes to power there will be a real reckoning. It would create an anti-corruption authority so powerful that even Jobbik would fear it.
He compared Jobbik’s future to that of a fruit tree with roots that absorb everything while creating fruit for everyone. He did not want to persuade everyone into becoming a radical nationalist but he did want to persuade them that the fruit was also theirs.
Vona believes the governing party also senses its own weakness, and thus it has started spreading lies about Jobbik, citing as an example Orbán’s claim that Jobbik wanted to take Hungary out of the European Union and NATO. Vona said his party did not advocate taking Hungary out of the European Union, only modifying the accession agreement with a view to achieving better conditions.