Monday, April 12, 2010

Hungary votes

Hungarians went to the polls in Parliamentary elections today, and decisively voted out their government. That's not surprising - just six months after they had been elected, the Socialist Prime Minister, Ferenc Gyurcsany, admitted to caucus that they had lied to win, and then proceeded to impose a neoLiberal austerity program. And from there, their fate was sealed. Despite Gyurcsany resigning in 2009, the opposition right-populist Fidesz has romped home with 53% of the vote.

The socialists got what they deserved - I have no pity for liars - but the real worry isn't Fidesz (who are somewhat to the left of the neoLiberal "socialists" economically), but their potential partner Jobbik. Jobbik describes itself as a "principled, conservative and radically patriotic Christian party". What they actually are is fascists, down to having a uniformed paramilitary who engage in thuggery. They are anti-Semitic, anti-gay, and (more importantly for Hungary) anti-Roma. And they just got 17% of the vote. While Fidesz has a majority by itself and doesn't need them for ordinary legislation, the two parties are close, and there's some suggestion Fidesz wants to tweak the constitution, which will give Jobbik some power. Which is a scary, scary prospect.

(The positive sign is that the Green LMP went from nothing to 7.5%. So there's some hope for Hungarian politics yet).

There is still a second round of voting to come - Hungary uses a frightfully complicated SM system with multiple rounds for the electorate vote - so the results aren't final yet. There are still well over a hundred seats to decide, including 60 "compensation seats" allocated by national-level proportional representation. But Fidesz already has enough to be the government. The question is whether they'll make it to two-thirds by themselves.