April 09, 2018
Orbán gets his supermajority
As we wrote on Friday the only question about the Hungarian general election held yesterday was not whether Victor Orbán's party Fidesz would win the election, but whether it would get a supermajority of two thirds needed to change the constitution. According to preliminary official results Fidesz won 133 of 199 seats, which is the bare minimum above two thirds. It did so on a high turnout, too. The government is celebrating the highest turnout since the fall of Communism. The result is a validation of Orbán's anti-immigrant, anti-EU, anti-liberal campaign, with antisemitic conspiracy theory overtones personified in attacks on George Soros' funded organisations.
Fidesz has now won three consecutive elections with a supermajority of over two thirds. The reason Orbán had no longer a supermajority in the outgoing parliament despite winning it in 2014 is that it had lost two MPs in the interim, who had become independents. Orbán will continue to be able to amend the constitution at will, and to shape Hungary into effectively a single-party political system. The far-right party Jobbik came second with 26 seats, gaining 3 seats from the previous election and switching places with the social democratic party MSZP, which won 20 seats losing 9. Despite improving their seats and ranking the leader of Jobbik, Gábor Vona, resigned last night on what he considered a poor result.
The slide of the social democratic party from its peak of power in 2006 is both a long-term trend in Hungary and a broader trend in the EU as a whole. Hungary is now one of a long list of countries where the two main parties are both on the right, because the collapsing social democrats have not been replaced by a party on the left but one on the right. Poland and the Netherlands are firmly in that list. Whether to include France and Italy depends on where one puts Macron's En Marche and the Five Star Movement, but asked about the right-wing economic policies of his government Édouard Philippe quipped "what did you expect?" Spain and Austria - and even Germany - seem to be moving in the same direction. In many of these cases - Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Hungary, Austria - the party replacing the social democrats could be classed as far-right. This doesn't look like a Europe where Orbán should feel particularly uncomfortable.