Márton Gyöngyösi: We are willing to cooperate with anyone for the holy cause
We asked Márton Gyöngyösi, Jobbik’s executive vice president and parliamentary faction leader about the slavery act and the subsequent demonstrations, the opposition of the future, the EP elections but we also found out how a politician spends the Christmas holidays. Interview.
János Áder signed the slavery act into law and wished everyone a merry Christmas. So everything’s all right, isn’t it?
Rarely do we see such a cynical utterance, even by Fidesz standards. János Áder attended the plenary meeting where this bill was voted on and he knows exactly what the procedure was like: what happened was completely unconstitutional and even against the Parliament’s house rules, and it’s not in line with the interests of Hungarian workers, either. For a man so enthusiastic about the environment, the air, the water and many other nice ideals, he could keep the social issues and the fate of Hungarian workers at heart, too. He didn’t even take his time; he signed this outrageous law several days before his deadline was up. He might also have sent it back to the Parliament for further debate or could’ve asked for a review by the Constitutional Court. The whole System of National Cooperation, which János Áder is a part of, has no sense of reality, they’re unable or unwilling to realize that 82 per cent of all Hungarian people oppose this law. They’re insensitive, arrogant and cynical.
In that regard, Viktor Orbán may be the same, as he called the demonstrations “hysterical screaming” on Kossuth Radio.
This is what happens when somebody is blocked from reality by his own bootlickers and media. Viktor Orbán simply doesn’t sense the reality he lives in and he refuses to acknowledge that even two thirds of Fidesz voters are against the slavery act. I can feel sorry for the Prime Minister, his kingdom will soon come to an end because if you’re so detached from reality, you’re done for.
I’ve been told there is no reason to keep up the demonstrations after the law enters into force. How long can these protests go on?
Actually, now is the time when there’s a truly good reason to demonstrate. So far we’ve had to go on with the protests to make János Áder send the law back to the Parliament, now we need to put pressure on the government to amend or revoke the legislation. If we take to the streets with a strong enough force, there are ways to make it happen. It’s unprecedented and unheard of that thousands of people march in the streets of Budapest and many other county seats during the Advent period, at temperatures way below zero, allying with various parties and trade unions. It gives us hope.
2018 is almost over. We’ve talked a lot of the national elections but what kind of year did Jobbik have after 8 April?
We’ve been through a very turbulent year with a hectic election and unprecedented smear campaigns mostly aimed at Jobbik and its president. After Gábor Vona left, new leaders were elected and things got settled. I feel that the elections were followed by six months of apathy and disappointment from which the party recovered successfully. Those who couldn’t get over the defeat or digest the people’s party agenda left the party. Those of us who stayed started the building process. It’s great to see that the results begin to show in the polls, too. According to the latest surveys, Jobbik increased by 2 per cent even before the ongoing demonstrations. Having recovered from the disappointment and the uncertainty, the party is now growing. We are optimistic about 2019.
The slavery act was brought out of the Parliament and into the streets. The opposition parties appeared on stage together, is that what we should expect from now on?
After the elections, some people expected us to demonstrate our resistance by refusing to occupy our parliamentary seats. We said the Parliament was a key battleground but not at all the only one. Jobbik got the votes of 1.3 million people, the significance of this fact must be emphasized and fully understood. These citizens expect us to keep up the struggle and present an alternative to the government. That’s what we do. If you monitor our work in the Parliament, you can see that Jobbik’s faction is the largest as well as the most prepared in the opposition. However, the streets are at least as important battlegrounds in a “System of National Cooperation” where the opposition’s room is constantly shrinking. We must use all available means to achieve results in terms of the specific issues we choose in line with our values. Not only can we cooperate with other political parties and MPs but with NGOs and trade unions, too. Ever since 2010, we’ve always been focusing on the particular issue rather than the ideological beliefs of the person or the organization raising it. If there’s a holy and just cause, we’re willing to cooperate with anyone to help the people of Hungary. That’s what politics is about: the willingness to compromise. We make value-driven decisions to identify issues and then take steps for a wider cooperation where we could become a leading force. You can see that in terms of the slavery act, too.
The next test will be the EP elections. What changes do you expect in the international arena?
I expect major changes and transformations. You can already see the signs, and Europe’s political map will be completely rearranged after the elections. The post-World War II era, as we’ve known it, will come to an end. Ideological fault lines which have developed amongst the Christian Democrats, Social Democrats, Liberals or Greens are already blurring and they might completely disappear in the upcoming period, I think. Europe’s political landscape will be rearranged along completely different fault lines. What I can see is that the currently known party families will mostly break up. Jobbik lays great emphasis on finding an EP party family in line with our own values. This is particularly important at a time when we’re crossing over to the 21st century in the political-historical sense, too. Jobbik must find and define its own position there.
Can’t any of the existing party families come into the picture for you?
There’s a good reason why we are independent in the EP. These old fault lines created a situation where we could not have joined any of them with a particularly good heart and we wouldn’t have been welcome, either. Based on our own values, we might consider the group of Conservatives and Reformists or some sections of the People’s Party at the moment. The latter is a particularly large group, so I can only talk about certain segments there. Maybe these are the two groups showing the contours where I could imagine Jobbik at present but I believe we should be focusing on what is developing rather than what is passing.
How does a faction leader spend the Christmas holidays?
I hope I can soon begin attuning myself to Christmas. I’ve not been able to do so in the past weeks and days at all. It’s always been a challenge ever since I started my political career but this year has surpassed anything I could imagine in that regard. I’d like to spend quality time with my family and finally get a good sleep and rest. As a bonus, I can finally start reading the books I’ve piled up this year.
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