A Glance at the 2019 Elections and the Political Landscape in Hungary

 2019 is likely to be an interesting one in Hungarian politics, as there will be two elections: the European Parliament elections in May and local government elections in October. The latter are usually more important with a higher turnout in Hungary, since there are many positions to be filled such as mayors and city council members. European elections traditionally have a low turnout, 29% in the latest 2014 vote, and political parties have mainly campaigned with messages on domestic issues. However, 2019 might bring a change to this trend and result in a higher turnout because since the last EP election the main focus in Hungarian public life has revolved around the EU and European affairs such as migration, and the Stop Brussels campaign launched by the government in 2017 linked to a national consultation to involve Hungarian citizens in a dialogue about EU policies.

Low turnout for European Parliament elections has been favourable for smaller parties in the past, so the fact that opinion polls predict a higher turnout this time has already alarmed the fragmented Hungarian opposition. There are many small parties that wouldn’t even be able to reach the 5% threshold, therefore the possibility of a joint list for the opposition has already emerged. The fear of opposition parties is that many of them would be unable to reach the threshold and they would win fewer seats while losing up to 10% of votes cast.

In December 2018 the opposition parties from all parts of the political spectrum started to protest together, on the streets, in the Parliament and even by their members of Parliament trying to occupy the headquarters of the public broadcasting station. The opposition parties in Parliament:  MSZP (the Hungarian Socialist Party), Jobbik, DK (Democratic Coalition), LMP (Politics Can Be Different) and PM (Dialogue for Hungary) are cooperating with small extra-parliamentary parties such as Momentum and MKKP (Two-Tailed Dog Party).

The discussion about a possible joint list of opposition parties for the EP elections is still far from clear and the views of the different parties can change from one day to another, with incoherent statements even from members of the same party (in this case, Jobbik’s three politicians had very different opinions). While speaking at a demonstration on 5th January 2019, the chairman of the Hungarian Socialist Party Bertalan Tóth in the heat of the moment called upon opposition parties to unite and run together against the governing Fidesz-KDNP alliance. After some hesitant and even negative reactions from other parties, he has revoked his former statement and in an interview on  8th January 2019 he has stated that he wouldn’t like to force the idea of a joint list on others, but upheld that it would be the best possible solution.

The issue of migration has been the main topic in Hungarian political life since 2015 and this trend will continue during the EP campaign. Viktor Orbán has successfully monopolized the issue, branding himself as the only politician defending his country from the massive influx of migrants. At the end of August 2018 he formed a pan-European anti-migrant alliance with Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini. Viktor Orban said “ There are two sides at the moment in Europe. One is led by Macron, who is supporting migration. The other one is supported by countries who want to protect their borders”.



Other (3 MEPs)

Jobbik will target their previous result of 3 seats but are only likely to win 1. Among…

S&D (4 MEPs)

MSZP is running together with PM on a joint list called the Pro-European Alliance

EPP (12 MEPs)

The top spot on the Fidesz list has gone to László Trócsányi, who is currently minister…


In 2014 the joint party list of Együtt-PM-LMP won two seats but it is uncertain whether…

#Hungary's PM Viktor #Orban was greeted by #Israeli ambassador Yossi Amrani in Tel Aviv. The #Israel-#V4 summit was cancelled after #Poland refused to attend, there will be bilateral talks only. (Photo: MTI) @IsraelinHungary

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