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Right Wing Radicalism in Central Europe as a Challenge to Democracy

Open Panel

Abstract

Since the system change in the region in 1989/1990, beside democratic movements and parties, also extreme right groups and movements appeared that were supressed under the communist regime. In the beginning and for a good while such tendencies remained marginal and could not achieve much support in the constituency. Although some radically nationalist parties succeeded to get into the parliament with a margin, but more often they lost influence and fell out again, the major democratic parties on the moderate right and left dominated the political scene. However, after the accession to the EU and due to the deepening social and economic crises such parties got strength. In Hungary they were able even to catch the attention and the imagination of a younger generation. My paper analyses the social background and reasons of this emerging new righ wing radicalism in Hungary, represented by the Party of JOBBIK, which achieved quite impressive electoral successes in the election to the EU Parliament and the parliamentary election in Hungary last year. This development poses a great challenge to democracy especially because the governing right wing party coalition has to compete for electoral support with this radicals. At the same time the left spectrum of the political scene suffered serious defeat in the last election mainly because of the new economic crisis and bad government. It is very important question for the democratic future of the whole region, how to deal with this situation, what measures and policies should be undertaken to put a brake on this new radicalism. The paper discusses the issue in comparative manner. The author took part in European research endeavors initiated by the Bertelsmann Stiftung to analyse the parallel emerging right radicalism or extremism in Europe, and publish a 50 page country report on Hungary in english. Besides, he published sudies and essays also in German and Hungarian language describing the phenomenon and discussing the problem, how to cope with extremist tendencies to preserve human rights, rule of law and democracy in the future.