Monday, April 12, 2010

Xenophobia on the Rise in Hungary

The results from Hungary's elections are in. And according to the Deutsche Welle, the outlook for minority groups does not look good. In the first round, the round that determines who will lead the government, the conservative party, Fidesz, won 53% of the vote. But even more concerning is the success of Jobbik, a far-right anti-Semitic, anti-Roma party that won 17% of the vote.

According to Nora Szoeke, an Eastern European political consultant, the outcome is not surprising. "In Hungary the extreme right is more embedded within the society," she said. "It's not just an extreme fringe group that supports Jobbik … it's any voter who has been disappointed by the government and politics up to now."

The article offers good insight into the reasons behind the right’s success—they essentially chalk it up to Hungary’s growing disenchantment with the Social Democratic coalition and accompanying corruption and mismanagement--but what I want to know more. How are the election results being interpreted by the Hungarian Jewish and Roma communities? What has the response been? Are they concerned? Taking it in stride? Are they speaking out? Are other groups speaking out on their behalf?

In the midst of all the clear-eyed analysis it’s important to remember how these political movements affect the people on the ground. I hope their voices won’t be forgotten in the next news cycle.

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