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I'm not sure what you want to know in addition to the answers to those questions in the diary and the comments, but I'll sum those up again, and for more detail link my pre-election diary Delayed Warsaw Express arriving in Budapest.

On why Fidesz and Jobbik got so many votes in 2010 (and the 2009 European elections if that counts): First, the previous government parties eliminated themselves. Above all, with austerity measures that hurt a lot of people and created a general negative outlook at the future (I can add that the hardest austerity package prior to the 2006-2010 ones was also implemented by a Socialist-liberal government in 1995, while Fidesz's 1998-2002 reign was a more tranquil period), which Fidesz opposed with social populism. The Socialists and the liberals were also mired in an undending series of corruption and trustworthyness scandals (both genuine and ones made up by the Fidesz media), internal conflicts, and general ineptness both at governing and at confronting Fidesz's tactics in opposition. (I'll add one more point in a separate comment.) Then for many people, the choice was binary between the two major parties, and there was a feeling that it can't get worse than this – these votes went for Fidesz. The diary doesn't say much about the reasons for Jobbik's rise; they could be summed up as a combination of the use of the internet, the successful nurturing of Gypsy-hate, and the establishment of a local presence in villages with their paramilitary (for more details again see here).

Why so few protest: most of those who didn't vote in 2010 or got disillusioned with Fidesz since (altogether some 60% of the population) are in a state of apathy, (at least subjectively) experiencing that their economic situation gets worse with each successive government, and don't see a point. Also, Fidesz controls most of the media, and timed their worst legal reforms to just before Christmas and just before New Year, when people are least attentive to politics. Perhaps I can add that there is a widespread notion of people seeing themselves as the "little man", a powerless subject who is content if he is only allowed to get by and doesn't want to interfere in the greater schemes of powerful people (a common notion with origins in the times of Austria-Hungary), so there isn't a sense that all these laws and high institutions are relevant to your daily life.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Jan 6th, 2012 at 02:59:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Another issue related to Fidesz's rise is the interpretation of the events of the Hot Autumn of 2006: the leak of a taped speech of then PM Gyurcsány to his fellow Socialists at a closed-door meeting and the subsequent rioting and police violence.

  • In Fidesz's version (which even LMP supports in large parts), in the tapes Gyurcsány cynically admitted to winning an election with lies, and then had police brutally crack down on peaceful protesters.

  • In Gyurcsány's version (which is also shared by Socialists and liberals disliking Gyurcsány, who make up a minority of public opinion significant less in numbers than community of views), the lies spoken of in the leaked speech were those of the entire political class from 1990 and Gyurcsány was only boldly attempting to finally break with that tradition, and the street violence was a far-right mob confronted by justified police action.

  • In my view, both of the above are gross spin. First, the 2006 elections saw a bizarre competition of totally unrealistic spending promises from all parties, while it was already obvious to anyone reading the news that clouds are gathering and there is a budget crisis brewing. IMHO what Gyurcsány attempted in the leaked speech was an application of the Shock Doctrine: far from an admission of a past betrayal of voters, he wanted to scare his party into supporting a future betrayal of voters by approving a 'reform' package he prepared (or else there is a collapse). As for the riots, the truth was (and I reported this on ET extensively) that both a rioting far-right mob and a police that was first caught with pants down and then tried to take its revenge attacked bystanders, journalists and simultaneous peaceful protesters.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jan 6th, 2012 at 03:17:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Regarding apathy and disillusion since 2010, perhaps the abysmal approval rates of politicians say more than those of parties (see comment upthread). The 33% for the number one (in this December poll), the figurehead President of the Republic(sic!) would make any US President a loser, and would have been the figure for one of the least popular politicians even in Hungary back in the nineties. Already over the past decade, approval rates above 50% were few and between, then an indication of strong left/right divisions. This 33%, too (and the 31% for Orbán himself) is little more than the 26% Fidesz supporters in the total population, and less than Fidesz and Jobbik supporters combined (that would be 37%).

At 26% resp. 25%, the leaders of both LMP (András Schiffer) and Jobbik (Gábor Vona) have approval rates way above that of their parties in the total population (4% resp. 11%). I would guess that the extra support for part for the former and most for the latter comes from Fidesz supporters (hence the fear I voiced upthread that Jobbik still has potential to win votes from Fidesz in the future).

The last three on the list are also interesting:

  • Ferenc Gyurcsány (the former Socialist PM) 17% (this was the first poll in a long time he wasn1t last)
  • György Matolcsy ('national economy minister') 16%
  • Rózsa Hoffmann (the Christian Democrat and Catholic zealot education state secretary mentioned in the diary) 14%

IMHO the numbers for the before-last and last (both of whom lost a statistically significant 3 percentage points since November) indicate what policies even the remaining Fidesz faithful were displeased with by last month.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Jan 7th, 2012 at 05:00:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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