“What does the Russian-Ukrainian war mean for the Hungarian election campaign?” asked political analyst Gábor Török in a Facebook post following the outbreak of hostilities between the two nations. Common wisdom in such cases, he writes, holds that crisis situations not caused by the government usually favor those in power, because people are scared and look to their government for security and protection.
However, Török is not convinced that this is the case here. A war in a neighboring country can produce unexpected reactions and whip up emotions, “which is certainly not something the Hungarian government needs, when the status quo and the current domestic political situation seemed to favor them,” he writes.
The Hungarian Prime Minister was not prepared for this scenario. When he analyzed the situation with other party’s leaders in Balatonfüred a week ago, he did not, according to my sources, put war among the risks that he saw as realistic. But it happened anyway, and what is really dangerous for Fidesz from a domestic political point of view is how its own camp reacts. For the first time in a long time, a major issue may divide Fidesz’s voting base.
-wrote the political analyst.
Some pro-government opinion leaders have uncritically adopted the Russian position, he notes, but the news and images that come out of the war may even turn those who have been supportive of Viktor Orbán’s pro-Russia policy against Putin.
It may be key what the Prime Minister says, but no matter what he does he may not be able to meet expectations from either side. Obviously not in an international sense, but perhaps not even to his own camp: a peacock that dances on knives gets hurt easily. Luckily, the opposition continues to rush to his aid. In such situations, the opposition only needs to say one bad thing, and Péter Márki-Zay has already done so, when he talked about sending Hungarians and weapons to war a few days before it broke out.