Incumbent Politicians CAN Be Popular… Just Ask Viktor Orbán!

Hungarian politicians

In the western world today, the most popularly held political position is to have a negative opinion of the incumbent government. Particularly in western Europe, there are a number of stereotypes about sitting politicians that are widely believed – and not without substance one might add. We often describe our political class as corrupt, obsolete and even self-serving, and this is certainly not without foundation.

This is reflected in the opinion polls, if not at the ballot box. In the United Kingdom for instance, it is widely accepted that a sitting government will lose votes at by-elections and local council ballots, as these events tend to be a litmus test for people’s perceptions of that government. This is played out regularly in the national opinion polling too, with the main opposition party currently sat 8 percentage points ahead of the incumbent Conservatives. In France too, we have seen examples of this in recent months. For instance, as much as 60% of those who voted for Emmanuel Macron in the recent presidential election did so because he was the least bad option, as opposed to voting for his positive attributes. Polls suggest that as few as 1 in 5 French voters are actively supportive of the new head of state.

There are many examples of how governments simply fail to command popular support at any period of their time in office. In Sweden for instance, 72.9% of the electorate plan to vote for parties other than the incumbent Social Democrats, whilst in Norway the number of people who intend to vote against the current Labour government falls modestly to 68%.

Political parties in the west also seem to find it impossible not just to carry popular support throughout their term, but to gain a majority of the popular vote in the first place. This perhaps explains why many of our countries have such peculiar political systems, such as ‘first past the post’ in the UK (FPTP) whereby a party can win an overall majority in parliament by gaining just 35% of the popular vote. On the continent there is a mirror image of this democratic deficit; there are many cases in countries such as German and Austria where mainstream parties aware of their unpopularity simply enter into coalitions with the opposition, in order to present a facade of popular support.

However, if we look slightly east of the aforementioned states of Europe, we can find a refreshingly different story altogether. In Hungary, such stereotypes about the incumbent politicians do not appear to exist, and this is reflected in the opinion polling which regularly displays widespread support for the current party of government, Fidesz. Since the last national election in April 2014, Viktor Orbán’s party has led the way in every opinion poll without fail. Not once has any opposition party been able to boast even 50% of the sitting government’s popularity, putting Fidesz in a position that western politicians dare not even dream about.

In the legislative election of 2010 when Fidesz came to power, they not only won an overall majority of the popular vote, but also a two-third super-majority in the National Assembly. Seven years’ on, the party is more popular than ever before, polling just under 60% in recent weeks.

Of course, such popularity leads some to warn of dictatorship or an abstract concept of “fascism” due to the lack of opposition to the government. The majority of those who make such observations have a hidden political motive for doing so, with the most obvious being their opposition to the political position of the popular regime. It is a curious thing that those on the left lament a lack of opposition in the name of “democracy”, yet when in power they are the same who actually take steps to disenfranchise opposing political viewpoints entirely.

So what is the reason behind Viktor Orbán’s popularity, or his party’s consistent position of 55% or more in the national opinion polling? Are the opposing parties simply incompetent? Do Hungarians lack the desire for democratic balance? Is the incumbent government simply a proto-fascist entity, secretly dismantling the structures of opposition?

Or could the answer perhaps be more simplistic? It is most likely that this is in fact the case, as the current government of Hungary has taken the seemingly revolutionary position of actually doing the right thing by their people. Their record speaks for itself, with 25% more Hungarians in work than when Fidesz took power in 2010. They also took a remarkable step in the age of neo-liberal economics of spending 1,000bn Hungarian Forint on buying back vital industry that previous regimes had sold to the highest bidder. They did this with the view that some things, such as the necessities for the life and sustenance of the Hungarian people, are too important to be controlled by profiteers and greedy private shareholders.

One example of where this investment has been rewarded is in the fact that Hungarians enjoy the cheapest energy in all of Europe, thanks to their blossoming state-owned energy sector.

Furthermore, the current Hungarian government is taking groundbreaking steps on tackling the demographic crisis of European nations. Whilst the governments of western Europe make it too expensive for their native people to start a family, the Hungarian government has declared itself family-friendly and unashamedly supportive of the traditional family unit. These are not just empty words; Orbán’s government has literally spent billions of Euros on supporting the traditional family, via tax breaks for couples with young children, increased child support grants and various indirect financial incentives for larger families, amongst other things.

The Hungarian government is also taking steps to remove foreign influence from their society in all sectors, from banking to media to education. Whilst international media outlets mock and ridicule the people of western Europe, and whilst the international banking cartel traps these nations in a vicious cycle of debt and interest, the Hungarian state has taken steps to remove such influence and relinquish such dependency. Viktor Orbán himself during a recent trip to Romania declared that further steps will be taken against these globalist forces, indicating that policy making will continue along this course. This has been evident in the government’s recent campaign against Jewish billionaire George Soros, which puts to shame the record of western European politicians who simply hand over their money – and apparently their soul – to this satanic man.

What is also quite noticeable is the incumbent politicians’ ability to follow public mood, as opposed to attempting to lead it. This leads to displays of democracy that cannot even be imagined in the west, such as the national referendum on migrant allocations through which 98% of the people made it clear they did not agree with the EU’s attempt to force migrants on Hungary. The government did not simply ignore this demand as the governments of western Europe have repeatedly done, but rather they doubled down on their opposition to migrant quotas and more importantly, reaffirmed their desire to carry out the people’s will.

Who can deny with any honesty that this government is doing the very best it can by its own people? Who would seriously attempt to argue with any conviction that the opposition parties in Hungary have a better program for their country? It would take a great deal of intellectual laziness and malleable reasoning to even consider debating from such a position.

In actual fact, when these past achievements and future proposals are fully explored, the only question that remains is why support for Viktor Orbán and his Fidesz party isn’t higher?

 

William is a journalist based in the United Kingdom.