Ημ/νια δημοσίευσης: Παρασκευή, 06 Απριλίου 2018

Hungary: Fears for immigration strengthens Orbán

Despite Brussels’ disgust to the Hungary’s Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán is gaining popularity in the latest polls before the country's parliamentary elections which will be held on 8 April. Mr. Orbán has succeeded in gaining the confidence of his compatriots, warning them of an uncertain future where cultures are colliding. Greater support for Mr. Orbán’s government coalition comes from his stance on immigration. He has proposed to make the borders stronger not with a wall, but with a razor fence along the borders of Hungary. It is no coincidence that his supporters regard him as a great visionary leader, who is a defender of Christian Hungary.1

According to the most recent poll conducted by Iránytű on 24 March, the FIDESZ coalition with the Christian Democratic Citizens' Party (KDNP) accounted for 49% of the vote, followed by the nationalist Movement for a Better Hungary (JOBBIK ) with 18%, the MSZP with 13%, the green party the Policy can be Different (LMP) with 7% and the social-democratic party Democratic Alliance (DK) with 7%. Finally, the liberal Momentum Movement (MM) canvasses 3% .2

The ruling coalition benefits from the upward economic conditions and the divided opposition, which partly explains its popularity. Hungary's domestic product grew by 4% last year and unemployment fell to just 3.8%. Also, the coalition is particularly popular with higher-income voters after the introduction of a flat tax.1

Nevertheless, Viktor Orbán has faced corruption issues and has collided with the EU for his efforts to build what he calls “illiberal democracy.” The latest report, published just last Monday, claims that the FBI is investigating a money laundering project linked to the Orbán’s government that pulled out of the country about 3 to 4 billion euros. According to the Magyar Nemzet newspaper, the FBI suspects that money has been stolen EU funds and has been allegedly laundered using Hungarian state-owned banks and bank accounts in the Arab world.3 The scandal includes many Hungarian companies, Elios, which belongs to Orbán’s son-in-law, IstvanTibocz, who made enormous profits by installing subpar lighting in population centers across the country.4 Finally, this scandal may affect somewhat the high percentages of the ruling coalition.

Vasileios Axelos