"While Fidesz' symbol is the orange, ours is the double cross"
Elected by Jobbik’s national congress on Saturday, the party’s new president Tamás Sneider answered our questions after a church service. He wants to put the party’s communication in order, he firmly stands for a people’s party Jobbik, he believes that Jobbik supporters are more socially sensitive than the Orbán government and categorically condemns the group of protesters insulting church leaders. Mr Sneider also told us about Jobbik’s position on migration, the reasons why he endorsed Márton Gyöngyösi as executive vice president and Gábor Vona’s future role in the party.
Over the past few weeks, the government’s media was using the public Facebook messages posted by Jobbik politicians as a source of ammunition. Will the party of order put its communication in order?
Yes. I consider it an important task to put an end to this. Articles to that effect have been published in recent weeks, too. I believe the board and the parliamentary faction will support me in that as well.
After the post-congress press conference, you stated that Jobbik was going to keep to the national people’s party line. What does the concept of a national people’s party mean?
It means a modern movement that respects, preserves as well as renews our traditions and national identity amongst all the changes. It means a movement which can reach out to the widest layers of our society because it can give firm responses to radical changes while forming a continuity amongst the changing social relations.
You also said you wanted a socially sensitive national people’s party. What would that look like in practice?
Our social sensitivity has been beyond doubt as our members and MPs were brought up and socialized in an environment where they either lived through hardships themselves or closely witnessed these difficult conditions. As a result, we are much more sensitive to such social situations on a personal level, too. We are the only party with a closely connected charity service, which is largely funded by the payments of our MPs and has been able to provide millions of Forints for those in need, and organized countless volunteer work projects as well.
The social gap has clearly been opening under the Orbán regime. We must take political action against this process because it is taking our nation into a demographic pitfall and digging trenches between the different groups of our society.
Lots of people no longer feel they are part of Hungary’s society because they feel rather left behind by the government. This just creates further schisms in our already torn and battered national identity.
In 2003, Jobbik’s founding charter stated that the party followed the Christian conservative values. Viktor Orbán announced after the elections that he wanted Christian democracy. What is your position on Christianity now?
Perhaps it’s enough for me to note that we are having this conversation right after a church service. While Fidesz’s symbol is the orange, ours is the double cross. While Fidesz neglects the ten commandments, we do our best to observe them day after day. I believe that the Christian faith is something you must feel and live yourself. For that to happen however, you need strong churches which, as institutions, are entitled to funding.
Beside faith, Christian ideology and principles form the foundation of European values. If it wasn’t for them, we would not be European.
Many people tend to forget it nowadays because they never really learn what Christianity means. I believe that an adequate and high-quality education could show the value of Christianity even to those socialized in an environment that has already forgotten these values. As a national people’s party, that’s what we need to promote.
On the day of forming the new Parliament, a group of anti-government protesters pushed around and spat on the leaders of the Reformed Church. What is Jobbik’s position on that?
I have firmly condemned this action and asked our supporters not to join any demonstrations where such anarchist mob is present. Oddly enough, I was wearing a traditional outfit somewhat similar to that of the clergy on that day, because I consider it important to own up to the symbols of our identity on such special occasions. It would have been a strange turn of events if some anti-government protesters had attacked me.
In your Facebook post, you wrote that the party’s line was not changing but you had to make up for the deficiencies and correct the errors immediately. What deficiencies and errors did you mean?
Primarily, there were organizational and communicational errors in the past few years. The opinions and complaints of the members and local organizations were not channelled properly. The leaders did not deal with the members enough, or even when they did, the quality was not always sufficient at all. While we must remain a party of order, we must develop more humane relationships. We need cooperative teams in every area. We have to make a conscious effort to do so.
Analysts and some Jobbik politicians agree that the migration issue has been decisive in terms of the elections. What attitude and emphasis can we expect from Jobbik with regard to the migration issue?
We have categorically stood for stopping migration. In fact, we constantly criticized the government for its impotence for months before the border fence was erected. We will continue following this path and we will not give up restoring the special border guard service.
In the meantime, we will help citizens realize that the government preaches water but drinks wine as it has already settled many immigrants in Hungary and it keeps importing the cheap Ukrainian labour force by the thousands while our children leave the country.
On your recommendation, the congress elected Márton Gyöngyösi as executive vice president. Why did you suggest him for this position?
First, because we have very similar views on Jobbik’s future and the organization of the work we will need to implement. We need professionalism here so that we could be more efficient. Both of us have experience in that regard. Second, Márton is a very assertive person who can be a very tough negotiator. Third, his excellent work in foreign policy predestines him to have such a high position.
What will happen to Gábor Vona now, will you consult him on a regular basis?
I am almost certain of that. Gábor has the ability to react very quickly in the political arena. He can make good decisions rapidly, he has an excellent sense of strategy and tactics. These important characteristics must continue to be employed in the service of our homeland.
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