Opposition parties had a dilemma. Should they defend the pariah Jobbik on principle – or stay ideologically pure. The question answered itself painfully quickly.
It all started with these billboards. After Orbán fell out with his pre-2014 top oligarch, Lajos Simicska, Simicska started financing Jobbik, the second biggest party after Fidesz. Simicska’s billboard spots countrywide started featuring these billboards, reading:
“You work. They steal.”
And a bit more obviously:
It didn’t go down well with Fidesz strongmen. After a few twists and turns, Jobbik received a state audit, which can only ever mean one thing in this country: guilty. The question is only how much is the fine and what is the excuse.
The excuse was campaign financing: The party bought the advertising space at a discounted price from Orbán’s former top oligarch, who is now his sworn enemy. Fidesz wasn’t having any of that. At first, government officials were dispatched from their offices to scrub off the offending billboards. The Fidesz-Jobbik gang fight was then settled by the swift intervention of the state auditor.
The next day the verdict came: for unlawful campaign financing, the party should pay a 2 million euro fine.
2 million euros. 3 months before elections.
The fine was payable in 15 days, bankrupting the party three months before the elections. The other opposition parties were facing a dilemma: They should prtoest against Jobbik’s fine on principle, it is against even the pretense of a democracy that we have here. On the other hand, they were acting like ideological virgins whose purity was their main selling point – and many of their voters actually believed that tale. Should they defend democratic values and demand fair elections or should they put their ideological self-abuse first and let one enemy kill the other by unlawful means?
The question answered itself painfully quickly. Other parties got fined as well in quick succession. But not before they embarrassed themselves once again, publicly bickering over whether to protest, making statements trashing one another.
Jobbik is not even a threat to Orbán. Among the voting age population only the undecided come even close to Fidesz’ support. Jobbik is second with a mere 9%.
But it was revenge. Also, paranoia must be maintained – even within party ranks – and there will always be a biggest contender and a designated enemy.
Orbán will end up pushing Jobbik into martyrdom, and thus only the martyred nazis will stand against the oppressive nazis, maybe even from outside parliament. Because as a friend once put it, “the problem with Fidesz is that the most bloodthirsty Jobbik voters already support Fidesz”.
As so many times in history, the Alien will be fighting against the Predator and you will really only ask yourself how fast you can run.
Fidesz, in the meantime is merrily campaigning as the “government of Hungary”. State auditor has no capacity for that.