Radical right-wing Jobbik tipped to win 20-30 mayoral races

September 15, 2014


Jobbik supporters line up to patrol the northern Hungarian town of Gyöngyöspata in March 2011.

Hungary’s radical right-wing party Jobbik is running candidates in 266 cities in municipal elections on October 12.  According to political analyst Attila Juhász, Jobbik is likely to win 20-30 mayoral races in small settlements, and may even win Miskolc, Hungary’s third-largest city, where the Jobbik, Fidesz and Unity candidates are running neck and neck.

Only three Jobbik candidates were elected mayor in municipal elections held four years ago.

“Jobbik is no longer a regional party but a country-wide party,” says Juhász.  “With more than 4000 names on its various party lists, it is fielding more city council candidates than all the left-wing parties combined.”   He says the fact that Jobbik is running more candidates in local elections this year than in 2010 is proof the party is growing both in size and popularity.  According to the political analyst, “In 2010 Jobbik was only able to run candidates in 15 Budapest districts but this October it is running candidates in all 23 districts.”

Juhász attributes Jobbik’s growing popularity in the countryside to the fact that it is present in the small settlements and invests energy in getting supporters to vote in national and local elections. He points out that Jobbik has been building an organization since 2007, in large part with the help of “informal organizations like the disbanded Hungarian Guard (Magyar Gárda) and successor organizations”, such as the volunteer Civil Guardsmen for a Better Future pictured above.

Juhász says that in addition to building local organizations and holding public forums, services provided by Jobbik volunteers for children and the elderly make the party especially popular in small towns and villages.   However, he points out that Jobbik’s rising popularity is not entirely due to the unique “social model” it offers.  “In certain settlements Jobbik calls into question public safety, exacerbates social tensions and then offers itself as a solution to the problems it helped cause.

“If the governing party doesn’t campaign against Jobbik, then it is easy for them to win supporters in the countryside. If we look at the settlements where Jobbik has mayors, in most cases their chances for re-election are good.”

Jobbik expects to win some 40-50 mayoral races come October 12.  Juhász says this number is likely to be in the 20-30 range, but does not rule out an even stronger performance on the part of Hungary’s radical right-wing party.