Two-Thirds Minus Two: the Jobbik Breakthrough

Jobbik President Gábor Vona (left) and victorious party- candidate Lajos Rig shake hands (photo: MTI).

Jobbik President Gábor Vona (left) congratulates victorious party-candidate Lajos Rig (photo: MTI).

On April 12, 2015, radical-nationalist Jobbik party candidate Lajos Rig narrowly defeated his FideszChristian Democratic People’s Party (KDNP) rival in a National Assembly by-election in Veszprém County.

Rig thus became the first Jobbik candidate ever to win a National Assembly election. The other 23 representatives in the current Jobbik caucus and all party representatives in the previous parliamentary cycle gained their seats in the National Assembly via party lists (see National Assembly Election System).

Fidesz-KDNP candidates have lost both by-elections held since 2014 National Assembly elections (see Two-Thirds Minus One). The governing alliance has thereby forfeited the second consecutive two-thirds supermajority it commanded in Hungary’s parliament.

Jobbik candidate Rig received 35.3 percent of the votes cast in the April 12 by-election, while Fidesz-KDNP candidate Zoltán Fenyvesi received 34.4 percent of the votes and Hungarian Socialist Party-Democratic Coalition candidate Ferenc Pad received 26.3 percent of the votes (source in Hungarian).

In the April 2014 regular election, the Fidesz-KDNP candidate won 43.1 percent of the votes cast, while the united democratic-opposition candidate won 27.3 percent of the votes and the Jobbik candidate won 23.5 percent of the votes (source in Hungarian).

Jobbik candidate Rig received 10,354 of 29,358 votes cast in the April 2015 by-election, while Jobbik candidate Zoltán Dobó received 10,110 of 43,042 votes cast in the regular election one year earlier. Voter participation was 41.6 percent in the by-election, down from 59.9 percent in the regular election.

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The data indicates that a large number of constituents who voted for the Fidesz-KDNP candidate in the 2014 regular election either voted for the Jobbik candidate in the 2015 by-election or did not participate.

The data also corroborates the results of recent party-preference polls that have shown an increase in support for Jobbik to near that of Fidesz-KDNP (source A and B in Hungarian). 

Speaking during a plenary session of the National Assembly on April 13, Jobbik President Gábor Vona said that “Voters pushed the first brick out of the decaying edifice of the System Change” in the previous day’s by-election, which he characterized as a “genuine voting-booth revolution” (source in Hungarian).

The Jobbik candidate’s victory in the by-election confirms that the party has become able to replicate at the national level the success it has already achieved at the local level (see 24 Bastions) and could be on the the way to becoming a major—perhaps even dominant—player in Hungary’s next National Assembly elections scheduled to take place in 2018. 

For more information regarding Jobbik’s ideology, base of support and activities see: Interview: Jobbik President Gábor Vona; Taking the Ball; The Jobbik May Day Celebration; Ides of March; The First Little Pinprick; Follow the Evil Twin; Uniform Disorder; and The New Hungarian Guard/For a Better Future Hungarian Self-Defense

Last updated: April 13, 2015.