No fascist threat in Hungary – poll

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Seven out of ten Hungarians believe political extremism is a dangerous phenomenon, a poll published last Monday by the left-of-centre daily Népszabadság suggested. However, only 50 per cent of those polled said they thought that any of the parties currently active in Hungarian politics could be described as extremist. A quarter of respondents said they saw no danger at all in extremist politics.

Far right a force

The radical nationalist party Jobbik benefited from low turnout and won three of Hungary’s 22 seats in the European parliament after securing 15 per cent of the national vote in June. They campaigned on an anti-Roma, anti-big business, and Eurosceptic ticket. The party’s paramilitary offshoot, the Magyar Gárda (Hungarian Guard) was recently outlawed by the Hungarian courts. This has not stopped one of their MEPs, Csanád Szegedi, from wearing the black and white uniform to work in Brussels.

Forty-four per cent of respondents said they would not like to see Jobbik enter Hungary’s national parliament after the general election scheduled for the spring. However, three out of ten, including some who do not plan to vote for the party, said they would welcome such a result. If Jobbik succeeds in winning the same share of the national vote as it did in the EP elections, it will secure over 50 seats in parliament. The group’s influence on national politics could be disproportionately high if the centre-right Fidesz party fails to secure an outright majority – although recent opinion polls have suggested that they should do so comfortably.

The survey last week showed that Hungarians’ attitudes to the far right correlate with their expressed political affiliation. Opposition to extremist politics was stronger among supporters of the governing Hungarian Socialist Party, with 75 per cent saying they would not be happy to see Jobbik in Parliament. Fidesz voters are divided 50-50 on the issue. Both of the main mainstream parties have ruled out cooperation with Jobbik if they do make it into parliament next year. continues here

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