The metamorphosis of the far right in Hungary: the case of Jobbik



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Tartu Ülikool


One of the most successful far-right parties in Hungary and among the Visegrad Four states, Jobbik, has moderated and transformed into centrist people's party. This thesis analyzes the incentives and effects of repositioning the far-right party on mainstream politics in Hungary. The metamorphosis of the Movement for a Better Hungary has entailed overriding changes, starting from the emergence of breakaway extreme-right groups to the rhetorical shifts of the ruling party. The study fosters an understanding of the strategy shift of the far-right and enhances the paucity of data regarding the outlined phenomenon by virtue of expert interviews with party members and employing primary data derived from the analysis of party electoral manifesto and declarations. To advance understanding of the far-right strategy shift, demand- and supply-side factors, and its reverberations, the thesis embraces various facets of the populist radical right party family, gauging populism, ethnonationalism, nativism, and copious determinants that have stipulated this shift. Apart from electoral opportunism, the Hungarian tradition of the far-right, socio-economic and extrinsic factors are analyzed. In the course of changing political and economic situation emanated by the Russo-Ukrainian war, moderation of fringe politics has entailed mainstreaming extremism and the more rigid rhetoric of Fidesz. The 2022 Hungarian National Assembly elections paved the way for these changes after unprecedented unanimity of the opposition when former far-right Jobbik cooperated with leftist and conservative parties.