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Scandal in Jobbik: is the party going in the ``right`` direction? Interview with expelled Jobbik MP

Posted: 2012-06-15
From: Mathaba
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Jobbik power struggle funded by EU? Photo: Csanad Szegedi, Jobbik member of European Parliament

Note: Jobbik, pronounced Yobbik with English phonetics, the Hungarian word for „Better” is the popular name for the „Movement for a Better Hungary”, which formed a political party under the leadership of Vona Gabor, to contest the electoral process and enter parliament.

Mathaba News Network has regularly published current news about Hungary’s radical political party, Jobbik, following the rapid growth of the political movements the speed of its ascent toward power taking Europe by surprise. In the past, we observed the young movement transforming itself into a parliamentary force to be reckoned with and even having a number of representatives elected into the European Parliament. Mathaba Editor was occasionally criticised for this but we always kept to our fundamental aim by providing much needed objective publicity to a movement that was greatly supported by the people in theat Central European country. Had resources permitted, we should have covered it more.

From grassroots movement into parliamentary power

The toddler steps of the movement were indeed child-like: inexperienced politicians, almost zero media attention being boycotted by European Establishment and Zionist media and an erroneous partnership for the 2006 election with the MIEP party leader Istvan Csurka. Erroneous in the strategic sense at least, as it was argumentative and cost many votes. After the 2006 riots in Hungary, that was sparked by Socialist PM Gyurcsany’s infamous speech in which he was recorded admitting to his cabinet about lying to the Hungarian people, Jobbik quickly find its way into the radical scene. People demanding change on the Hungarian political scene and in the system laid their eyes on the party and cast their votes for the Jobbik movement. The party’s supporters quite literally multiplied in numbers every month as the party led a meteoric rise to power. A truly grassroot movement back then, Jobbik had enourmous support from the poverty- and crime-stricken countryside of Hungary, especially the North-East of Hungary.

Jobbik leaving its roots: the picture of a truly western, „democratic” party

The great appeal of the movement was its unique approach to the system, a radical change from decades of corruption, „Socialist” and euro-atlantic mayhem: openly questioning important but untouchable issues such as crime, the Hungarian state’s debts, including the re-negotiating of these debts and so on. Jobbik achieved a great election result in the 2009 European and in the 2010 Hungarian elections. In one part of North-East Hungary, Jobbik election results reached over 35% of the votes.

2 years on after the elections, worrying signs have started emerging from Jobbik, resulting in many of the founding and hard-working members leaving the movement in disappointment. Even on Jobbik’s English-language site, jobbik.com, information about the expelsion of party members, including an MP, and organisational problems, have been acknowledged:

„Janos Volner replaced Csanad Szegedi, which is the only change in the party's leadership.

This comes after allegations in the press that Szegedi would aim to take on the presidency of Jobbik. The allegations were categorically denied by Szegedi and Jobbik president Gabor Vona. The voters' trust in Szegedi may also have been shaken by the events in Borsod county, where a number of Jobbik organisations were dismissed due to "problems" with the MEP. The events then also saw a Jobbik MP, Zsolt Endresik expelled from the party. “

However, a search of the Hungarian language site at Jobbik.hu appears to indicate that this internal criticism is not being awarded the Hungarian voters, and is perhaps only for international consumption?

Andresik Zsolt
Andresik Zsolt

Mathaba News Network's own sources in Hungary confirmed the problems that could bring a very sad turn in Jobbik’s thus far spectacular rise to power.

Mathaba has in the past asked Gabor Vona for an interview, however, no replies were received. Mathaba now asks Hungarian MP Zsolt Endresik: who was expelled from Jobbik. Is Jobbik going in the right direction?

Q: Borsod county was considered to be the stronghold of Jobbik in the major elections held in recent years. Many of Jobbik’s regional organisation were dismissed by the party leadership, or dismissed themselves to protest against your removal from the party. What happened, why were you expelled from Jobbik?

"Expelled from the party – by text message"

A: On the 25th April, „judgment day” came. I woke up to see countless messages and calls on my mobile phone. I knew something really bad had happened. During the night, someone hacked my private email account and sent dozens of emails out in my name. Some of them were private and real emails forwarded, some of them were fake, manipulative emails the hackers created. The emails were exclusively sent to Jobbik’s own email accounts and to the ones in the database of the party. Very conveniently.

Gabor Vona, Jobbik president called me, asking me to appear at the party leadership’s meeting. I had waited for Vona’s phone call for a long time, but certainly on another subject, in other circumstances. I had expected the leadership to enquire about the organisational concerns in the county (Borsod, North-East). They never contacted me about it, I guess they never cared about the stronghold of the party.

I promised Jobbik president Vona to call in his office after reporting the hacking of my email account to the police and to the Constitutional Office as an email account of a member of the parliament had been hacked. After finishing the procedure of reporting in the afternoon, I learnt that in my absence I had been expelled from the parliamentary Jobbik-group and all of my titles had been withdrawn in the party. It was sent as a text message by Gabor Vona. I couldn’t believe it!

The reason for busting me out of the party? Appearently, talking to the press and communicating with members already expelled from the party.

The real reason? Myself and a number of other Jobbik members became victims of power struggle and intrigue within the party. MEP Csanad Szegedi wants to gain a firm hold over the county, nominating himself as president of Borsod county’s Jobbik organisation. He achieved now to have no competition or resistance to his ambitions.

The leadership made the decision, last weeks party congress, for example, was originally scheduled for the autumn. They rescheduled it before the bigger scandals to protect their positions for the next two years, until after the new elections.

In May I was finally expelled from the Jobbik party as well.

Was the party leadership aware of the degrading morale and worsening situation in the county? Did they investigate?

The leadership was well aware of the problems, we had warned them 18 months ago that there was going to be a big problem in the county. Gabor Vona never enquired about the nature or the background of these problems. I never had a chance to speak to Vona about the situation, contrary to MEP Szegedi, whose words were taken as solid proof against us. At the last Jobbik National Electorate meeting I put forward the county’s problems to talk about but it was turned down by party director Gabor Szabo. So, we tried everything to bring attention to the situation, but they never listened.

What is MEP Szegedi doing in Borsod county? Is he not a member of the European Parliament, supposedly working in Brussels?

In the early years, Szegedi was the county’s main organiser and started Jobbik in Borsod. After the European elections in 2009, he disappeared to Brussels, leaving the county to the local patriots like myself. At the end of 2010, suddenly Szegedi turned up again and tried to re-take control over the county. He is hardly in Brusselss any more, I wonder if he’s missed there at all? I have a feeling that he realised that he was somehow excluded from the party leadership, being in Brussels, therefore needed to strenghten his position at home. If he has Borsod, the strongest county in Hungary, he has the greatest influence on party politics, positions for the next elections, including deciding on the list for parliamentary candidates.

What is the situation now in Borsod? How did the members take the news?

We have to evaluate the impact nationally, not only in the county. Recent mid-term elections brought catastrophic results to Jobbik: 10% in Budapest II. District, fourth place amongst the parties. 15% only in Miskolc, capital of Borsod county. 7% in Dunajuvaros, even the liberals (LMP) ahead of Jobbik. A pathetic 6% in Gyomaendrod, where the communist party’s candidate achieved a better result than Jobbik.

The support continously eroding, the majority of the people disappointed and losing hope. The movement was different at the beginning. In Borsod county, more than 20 regional Jobbik organisations ceased to exist. Apart from a few towns, Jobbik ceased to work there as a party.

In reflection on what you said, it seems that the leadership of Jobbik made a mistake. Do you see a chance to clear the situation?

When the conflict started with MEP Szegedi 18 months ago, Gabor Vona hesitated: „which hand of mine should I cut off?” Then he made the decision in April: sacrifice a few hundred party members and supporters for only one person, Csanad Szegedi.

It is impossible to clear the situation now but we may realise where people in the party are coming from. Clearing is relative: Jobbik is being cleared of true, honest patriots, only the corrupt, dubious to stay. Jobbik became one of the system’s political parties, just like the rest.

Thus ended the interview. In an upcoming article, Mathaba intends to take a look at the allegations of „anti-semitism” against Jobbik, surely a hard claim to make, given that Csanad Szegedi is Jewish, Krisztina Morvai is or was married to a Jew, and Gyongyosi with his years in the middle-east then working for Ernst and Young.

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