National Policy in the Hungarian Parties’ Election Programs

A lot has been said about the Hungarian parliamentary elections that took place on 6th April 2014 and have been by a wide margin won by Fidesz. Let’s take a closer look on the election programs of some of the most important Hungarian political parties and their positions on the topic of national identity and minority policy. (Two parties, namely Fidesz and the Democratic Coalition, did not issue any election manifesto and therefore are not included in the text.)

Hungarian Socialist Party (Magyar Szocialista Párt, MSZP)

In its program, the biggest leftist Hungarian political party accused the Fidesz-KDNP government and its national policies of having caused an immeasurable damage to Hungary’s relations with its neighboring countries and the Hungarians living beyond the borders. According to the MSZP, the interference of Hungarian government to the internal affairs of the Hungarian minorities abroad had caused tension and hostility among them and endangered their political aspirations. The MSZP is therefore calling for a responsible national policy, framed by a concept of patriotism, which in MSZP’s interpretation means taking pride in one’s nation, homeland, but also respecting the peoples of neighboring countries, based on the principle of mutual responsibility. Among others, the MSZP proposes to restart a practice of joint cabinet meeting with neighboring countries and emphasizes the importance of the possibility of the abroad living Hungarians to use their mother language.MSZP also criticizes the government’s reluctance to categorically reject anti-Semitic and anti-Roma sentiments and thus making them sound more and more acceptable in the society and declare their willingness to fight against discrimination.

Together 2014 (Együtt 2014)

According to one of the parties constituting the election coalition called “Unity” it is necessary to focus on mutual communication with the Hungarian minorities abroad because it is the only possibility to honesty confront the past and the present and at the same time offer those people an attractive life vision. Together 2014 stands for the possibility of the Hungarians in neighboring countries to keep the double citizenship. They however emphasize that it is more important for those people to choose their own representatives in their election than to take part in the Hungarian election. As well as the above mentioned MSZP, Together 2014 is accusing Fidesz of misusing the issue of minorities to its own political purposes.

Jobbik

Jobbik is seen as one of the winners of the election, having gained over 20 % of the votes. Its program contains a special chapter called “Gypsy-Hungarian coexistence” in which the party names itself the first political subject to speak loudly about the situation of Roma minority in Hungary. Jobbik refuses all kinds of negative or positive discrimination in the Hungarian society. On the other hand, the party still uses the notion of “gypsy crime” which, according to Jobbik, is a criminological concept saying that there are specific kinds of crime that can only be observed in the Roma community. They want to fight against “ghettoization” of Roma communities.According to Jobbik, the Hungarian minorities should constitute a prominent topic of the Hungarian national interests. Hungarians living abroad should enjoy a right to self-determination and autonomy. Among the Hungarian political parties, Jobbik holds the strongest position on the issue, given its statements regarding the Slovak language law and the validity of the Beneš Decrees which are being questioned in the document.

Politics Can Be Different (Lehet Más a Politika, LMP)

LMP states that it is an important task of the Hungarian government and society to help preserve and support the identity of Hungarians living abroad and cultivate their national language and culture. The relations should work on the basis o mutual solidarity and respect. According to LMP, providing autonomy for Hungarian minorities would not weaken but strengthen the neighboring countries and contribute to the long-term stability of good neighborly relations.