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Hungary after the election victory of right-wing FIDESZ

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Michael Pröbsting reports on a dangerous strengthening of the fascists and a crushing defeat of the Socialists by the conservative FIDESZ party.

The parliamentary elections in Hungary ended in a triumphant election victory of the right-wing “Federation of Young Democrats” FIDESZ. The party won 52 percent in the first round of the vote. In second place the ruling social democratic MSZP ended up with 19 of the vote, less than half of their voting share at the last elections. This represents a dramatic shift in votes, because in the 2006 elections, the MSZP had narrowly beaten FIDESZ by 43.21 to 42.03 percent.

The extreme right-wing Jobbik party won 16.71 percent of the vote and became the third strongest force in parliament.

Besides these three parties only the green-alternative list LMP ("Policy can be different") managed to enter the 386-seat Parliament with 7.4 percent of the votes. By contrast, the right-wing Hungarian Democratic Forum (MDF) and the liberal Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ) failed to cross the five percent barrier.

In the second round on 25 April FIDESZ could win even a two-thirds majority in Parliament if they add another 52 seats to the 206 seats they already won.

Overall, only 64 per cent of eligible voters participated in the elections. That means more than a third of Hungarians are so disappointed by the ruling political system that they saw the elections as useless.

Alert

This electoral tsunami for the right is alarming in every way. FIDESZ party leader Viktor Orban combines an aggressive programme of social cuts and privatization with a rabid nationalism, directed particularly against Roma and Jews. FIDESZ has already demonstrated its reactionary politics in 1998-2002 when Orban was Prime Minister.

For the workers movement and the national minorities the tremendous electoral success of the fascist party Jobbik is especially threatening. It is closely linked to the paramilitary "Hungarian Guard" connected, storm troops comparable with the Nazi SA in the 1930s. Activists of the Guard, in which many policemen are organized, were for example responsible for the murder of a Roma family man and his four years old son in 2009. The head of the police trade union stood for Jobbik in the European elections in 2009.

Neo-liberal Social Democrats

How could all this happen? The main reason lies in the neo-liberal welfare cuts and privatization policy in the last 8 years, led by the Socialist government. Hungary is one of the poorest EU countries with a per capita income of 8,000 Euro. Some three of the ten million Hungarians live below the poverty line. At the same time the unemployment rate is over ten percent. Under the MSZP government, all the remaining public enterprises were privatized.

In these 8 years, three different prime ministers were leading the MSZP government - Peter Medgyessy, Ferenc Gyurcsany, and from 2008, Gordon Bajnai. But they were all three involved in corruption scandals. Especially hated was Prime Minister Gyurcsany, a businessman and one of the richest men in Hungary. When in 2006 a secret speech by Gyurcsany became public, in which he admitted to have lied to people about the planned austerity measures, there were several days of riots, which the extreme right-wing forces attempted to exploit. Bajnai also is an entrepreneur and former "Young Manager of the Year”.

Despite all the austerity measures and privatizations the social democratic Bajnai government could not prevent the country coming close to state bankruptcy in early 2010. Only a 20 billion Euro loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the EU avoided this.

The massive disappointment of many workers of the MSZP-policy and the lack of a workers' party that really fights for the interests of the general population explain the rise of the right-wing scum Jobbik.

Victims of the capitalist attacks

Officially, only 1.9 per cent of the population of Hungary are Roma. According to other estimates, however, they represent about 6 per cent. The Roma in Hungary have been discriminated and oppressed for many centuries - as they are in all other European countries. According to unofficial data 60-80 per cent of Roma were unemployed in the 1990s and currently this figure is likely to be over 90 per cent.

The Hungarian working class has shown in recent years that it is not willing to passively accept the attacks on its rights. Protest movements against cuts in the health sector, repeated and sometimes successful strikes of the railway trade union, public sector strikes - all of which underscored the combat readiness of the Hungarian workers.

But the working class lacks a party that fights for their interests at the political level. The social democratic MSZP is the successor party of the ruling Stalinist Communist Party. In it the nouveau riche entrepreneurs have the majority control over its policy.

Organise the resistance!

Among the most urgent tasks of the coming period is to organize massive defensive struggles against the inevitable attacks of the enormously strengthened right-wing FIDESZ government. It will be of crucial importance to build action committees of the rank and file, These must put pressure on the union leadership, to launch an all out struggle against the government measures with mass strikes and demonstrations. If they will not then the rank and file must take the initiative and oust and replace leaders that will not fight.

Another key task will be to mobilize against the fascist danger. The Jobbik party and its Hungarian Guard will certainly do everything possible to take advantage of their great electoral successes and unleash a even worse campaigns of hatred and violence against Roma, and even also against the organized workers movement. It is all the more urgent to organise a broad mobilization of the Roma community and the workers movement and to build a powerful anti-fascist militia.

Lat but not least it is a burning necessity to build a new party of the working class. Such a party needs to match words and deeds in inspiring mass mobilizations against the impending social attacks. It should also organise class struggle resistance against racism and chauvinism in defence of the rights of Roma and Jews, taking steps to form powerful self-defense units. Such a workers party should integrate of the active defence of democratic and social rights into a transitional programme for the socialist revolution and the overthrow of capitalism.

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