European Interest

Hungary’s MEP Tibor Szanyi calls on socialists to unite against Orban

Flickr/Európa Pont/CC BY 2.0
“Fidesz’s overwhelming gains are largely explained, though not justified, by the distorted, unfair electoral system they invented and enforced as ruling party," wrote Tibor Szanyi.

In an open letter to his colleagues at the European Parliament, Hungary’s Socialist MEP Tibor Szanyi explained the “dire parliamentary election results” in his country.

“Allow me to share with you my first interpretation of what we may be facing here as European democrats,” he wrote.

He stated the key facts (based on preliminary results): a renewed 2/3 parliamentary majority for Fidesz (133 seats out of 199), with the other extreme right formation Jobbik leading the opposition (26).

Szanyi’s party, the socialist MSZP (together with the small affiliated Párbeszéd), however, slid down to 20 seats, with 9 for DK (Democratic Coalition), and the ecologist LMP’s 8 seats (plus three other individual mandates).

This, according to the MEP, paints the picture of a marginalised and divided democratic opposition.

“This new/old parliamentary set-up furnishes Orban’s Fidesz with the legislative constitutional power for the unimpeded and uncontrolled pursuit of his political agenda of an ’illiberal state’ by eliminating the remainders of a democratic state of law,” wrote Szanyi. “And beware and no doubt: he will unscrupulously take advantage of this opportunity to complete his auto(clepto)cracy in an even more aggressive and ruthless manner than ever before. As a first step, they have immediately declared to ban all civil organizations reluctant to follow the government’s political line.”

According to Szanyi, the “danger is serious enough to rather face the challenge and turn to the future, instead of any blaming and shaming”.

“Fidesz’s overwhelming gains are largely explained, though not justified, by the distorted, unfair electoral system they invented and enforced as ruling party. Even more so, by a vicious ‘single issue’ campaign characterised by ’fake news-fake enemies’ methods, identifying the virtual ‘illegal migrant’ – sponsored by George Soros, the EU, and the UN – as the nation’s key enemy. Aggressively applied through an almost full Fidesz press – and information monopoly the ‘anti-Soros’ campaign, fired by Orbán’s threats of revenge to civilians and to any other opponents, this campaign covered particularly rural Hungary with a filthy layer of hatred, xenophobia and fear. Fear, social deprivation, and lack of free information explain the almost total electoral gain for Fidesz all over rural Hungary, while in the capital the democratic left managed to preserve its political weight and several mandates.”

Describing the outcome as a serious political blow to the Hungarian democratic opposition and to the nation as a whole, Szanyi also noted that Europe faces a reinforced Orban “contaminating the continent’s political scene with his nationalist populism”.

He called on Hungary’s socialists to unite in order to challenge Orban’s rule. “We will be counting on every European democrat’s support in this venture.”


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