Powered by IR Society at NYU

IR Insider is a production of NYU's International Relations Society. Our goal is to explain and discuss issues in IR in an engaging and thought-provoking fashion. We are written by students, for students, about issues students care about. 

Could the Hungarian Opposition Unite Against Fidesz?

In recent months, opposition leaders have argued that a coordinated, common opposition could potentially replace Fidesz, the ruling political party in Hungary’s parliamentary government since 2010.

For the past two terms Fidesz has retained a two-thirds majority in parliament in a joint coalition with the Christian Democratic People’s Party. In an effort to oust Fidesz or at least to cutback on its two-thirds parliamentary majority, opposition parties may unite on a common front to combat Fidesz’s influence. 



This could result in cooperation among parties of starkly opposing political ideologies, such as the left-wing MSZP and DK and the radical, nationalist Jobbik.

In a recent poll conducted by Ténygyár és a ZRI Závecz Research in December of 2017, researchers found that a majority (60 percent of those surveyed) believed that cooperation of the left and right-wing parties, would help replace Fidesz. Meanwhile, 25 percent believed that cooperation among those parties would only weaken the chances of changing the government of Hungary. 



To better understand advantages of cooperation, it’s important to evaluate the 2014 election results. In the last election, out of the 106 electoral districts, the opposition only won 10, while Fidesz won 96 districts. However, out of the 96 districts, Fidesz only received more than 50 percent of the votes in 20 districts. Thus, in 76 of the districts the opposition lost by a narrow margin.

Of the 76 constituencies, 66 were rural districts, and overall, there were 39 districts where the candidate of the left-wing team received the second highest number of votes, while in 27 districts Jobbik finished second.

It is no coincidence that in the past two years Gábor Vona, leader of Jobbik, has positioned his party so that it is less repulsive for left-wing voters. Yet, Jobbik and the Left have opposing interests with distinct political ideologies. Even if parties choose to cooperate, it would simply mean a split between the two candidates in the rural constituencies. This would be possible if Jobbik candidates would back out in districts where the Left has greater political support and the Left would back out where Jobbik has a greater chance of winning.

According to most, even if these parties were to cooperate, it would only be useful in the (districts of the) countryside.