Hungarian voters have given the right-wing Fidesz party and its leader Viktor Orban a parliamentary majority again. (Readers may recall that the Fidesz party spokesman engaged our very own Francis Fukuyama in a back-and-forth in 2012). The ultra-right nationalist Jobbik party also made big gains, winning 20.7 percent of the vote, 4 percentage points higher than its share in 2010. The party is expected to gain 23 seats in the country’s 199-member Parliament.
In a special report released today, Reuters claims that Jobbik has higher aspirations:
From its strong base at home, Jobbik has stepped up efforts to export its ideology and methods to the wider region, encouraging far-right parties to run in next month’s European parliamentary elections… [...]
Far-right groups in Poland, Slovakia, Croatia, and Bulgaria told Reuters they have ties with fellow parties in several countries in the region. Jobbik sat at the center of that web, the only one with contacts with all the parties.
Nick Griffin, leader of the British National Party (BNP), one of the few far right parties in Western Europe with close relations with Jobbik, said the Hungarian party is the driving force behind efforts to forge a far-right coalition.
The far right has won big elsewhere in Europe recently. In France, the National Front, which runs on an anti-immigrant platform, had a strong showing in mayoral elections, while the UK Independence Party is gaining traction after its charismatic leader Nigel Farage thrashed Liberal Democrat Nick Clegg in a televised debate. In Greece, the ultra-nationalist Golden Dawn has become one of the country’s most influential parties. All across Europe, far-right fringe groups are capitalizing on establishment parties’ ongoing failure to address their concerns.