Alarm in Hungary at success of Jobbik


FAR RIGHT:  THE LEADERS of Hungary and neighbouring Slovakia expressed alarm yesterday at the success of the Hungarian nationalist Jobbik party in elections to the European Parliament.

Jobbik, which is not represented in the Hungarian parliament, capitalised on a meltdown in support for the Socialists in poor regions, accompanied by pledges to end corruption in politics and business, reduce foreign influence on Hungary's economy and crack down on a wave of "Gypsy crime".

Its critics says its professed patriotism is actually racism and bigotry.

Its detractors also denounce its affiliation with a paramilitary "self-defence" group called the Hungarian Guard, which uses uniforms reminiscent of those worn by members of Hungary's wartime fascist regime.

"Jobbik is the new power - this is the last 20 years' greatest political achievement," party leader Gabor Vona said.

"Jobbik not only speaks but will put the words in action - Hungary belongs to the Hungarians."

Hungarian prime minister Gordon Bajnai called Jobbik an "extremist party" whose success was a "huge problem".

Jobbik's showing also worried Hungary's neighbours Romania and Slovakia, where the party wants autonomy for large Hungarian minorities.

"A party that is openly speaking about an autonomy, a party that is openly endorsing the most far-right, the most extreme attitudes, will cause considerable instability in this region," said Slovak prime minister Robert Fico.

Mr Fico's ruling coalition includes the Slovak National Party, which is notorious for anti-Hungarian and anti-Roma statements, and won its first seat in the European Parliament in these elections.

The Greater Romania Party, which expresses similar opinions, claimed three seats.

This is one more seat than Bulgaria's Ataka party, which is accused of fuelling hatred towards the country's Roma and Turkish minorities.