Márton Gyöngyösi: “We will draw the conclusions"

In an interview for Alfahir and N1 TV, Márton Gyöngyösi shared his thoughts on the EP election results and the work ahead of him. Jobbik’s executive vice president also talked about the potential new leader of the party’s parliamentary faction. 

How did Jobbik decide which of the MEP candidates would eventually go to the European Parliament?

The board had a meeting and decided to delegate me to Brussels.

Are you happy about this decision?

I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, I was indeed preparing for the EP elections and to work in Brussels, too, but I am quite disappointed about the result. This is not what I expected. As the party’s executive vice president, I believe we have a lot to do in terms of drawing the appropriate conclusions and listening to the voice of our voters. It’s highly important for the party’s relevant bodies to discuss this issue and implement the necessary changes. This is very, very important for our future.

On the other hand, we need to take our share of the work in the European Parliament since it’s quite clear that European politics has gained a huge emphasis beside the domestic agenda in the past years. I believe the European parliamentary work will have a major significance in the upcoming years and it’s very important for our programme to be represented by the right people.

My goal is to work for the Hungarian people in the EP. I am convinced that we can offer a very good alternative to Viktor Orbán’s programme in many issues, including migration, the brain and hand drain as well as narrowing the east-west wage gap. That’s the kind of work I am preparing for.

Who do you wish to cooperate with?

The most important task for the next weeks is to assess the movement of the various party families and find out if we could join a group that is in accordance with Jobbik’s values because it would be a very important step in terms of voicing our interests. I think party families are very important, just like joining a parliamentary group, but the 21st century is more characterized by issues than anything else. Our election programme shows the issues we have identified and now it’s time for us to find allies for representing them.

Beside being the executive vice president, you’re also the head of Jobbik’s parliamentary faction. If you leave, the faction must elect a new leader. Do you have an idea who it might be?

I can’t tell you anything final about this but I have a concrete idea. We have already outlined the kind of character who could take over the faction for the upcoming months and years.

Of course, when I resign from the leadership of the faction, it’s important for me to know that the person who takes over the position is an integrative individual who can be accepted by the entire faction, is able to manage Hungary’s largest parliamentary opposition group and enforce Jobbik’s programme in spite of Fidesz’ efforts to the contrary. The next faction leader will be named in the upcoming weeks but it requires a decision from the MPs, of course.

When will you start your work in Brussels?

The new European Parliament will be formed on July 2, that’s when the work officially begins. Preparations take place in June.

After the elections, several people raised the issue of changes and renewal in Jobbik. How can you help such changes as a executive vice president if you work in Brussels?

On April 8, when I accepted the position of executive vice president to work beside Tamás Sneider, the idea was that I could primarily assist him and the board in terms of international relations and foreign affairs. It was a new position which we created after Gábor Vona’s resignation and the key task was to build foreign political relations.

The argument for my involvement in the EP was that Brussels was the place where this task could be most efficiently done. That’s what I agreed to do as executive vice president and that’s what serves the interest of the party, too. Of course, you can only do it in close connection with the domestic political arena because I believe your work as a MEP is worth just as much as it shows in your home country.

Jobbik is likely to undergo some changes after the EP election. What’s your message to the party members and activists who went through with the campaign or voted for the party?

Beside thanking them, we need to express our gratitude over and over to those who voted for Jobbik and worked hard within our community to help us achieve this result. The party is over its hardest period so far. Gábor Vona’s resignation, the party’s division, the series of SAO fines, character assassinations – all of these made the campaign astoundingly hard for us. To stand beside Jobbik either as a voter or an activist in times like this is an extremely heroic deed.

Regardless of that, the result is of course a disappointment for all of us and we need to contemplate what factors may have led to it. Comparing it to our ratings a year ago, we see that our voters either must have left us or remained indifferent to Jobbik’s programme. They were not mobilized and we must analyze the reasons for that and take the necessary measures accordingly.

We are ready to do so; we will draw the conclusions and the party’s relevant bodies will adopt a resolution as to how to identify responsibilities and implement these changes and then how to enter into the municipal elections that will shape Jobbik’s future. I believe making these decisions will be a major step in terms of the national elections in 2022 as well. However, the mandate that the general assembly gave to this board was to manage and consolidate the party and pull the members together until 2020. The first test was the EP election, which was obviously a disappointment but the most important trial will be the municipal election. One of the key tasks for the latter is to have a reinforced leadership to head the party before the campaign. As to how we should do so is what we will discuss in the general assembly meeting convened for Friday.