Change in the Orbán regime is only possible in the event of its downfall, so ruling Fidesz either becomes successful with its current set of policies or it goes to the wall in the same way – political scientist Gábor Török told Hungarian daily Magyar Nemzet in an interview. Mr Török believes that the party's current generation – amongst whom, he mentioned Árpád Habony, Szilárd Németh, Andy Vajna and Cecília Rogán (!) as examples – will stick to the premier until he can distribute the prey amongst them. However, problems will arise if the regime wavers either during the time of the 2018 or the 2022 elections. But the biggest danger to the Prime Minister is that he might lose his personal charm.
There is no chance for a change that would see the ruling Fidesz party's strategies return to the earlier, values-based way of making politics (in which the concept of 'civic Hungary' was not merely a political product) – Mr Török opined. In his view, change is now only possible in the event of a downfall. "Let us compare András Wermer and Árpád Habony, for example. The former also knew a lot about the techniques of selling washing powder (maybe even more than the latter), but for him, the concept of 'civic Hungary' was not a product. In his case, personal commitment based upon principles was obvious. The same thing cannot be said about Árpád Habony. "According to the logic of Habony, there is no way back; what is more, the present way of making politics is very successful" – the analyst claimed, adding that the ruling "Fidesz either becomes successful like this for years to come or it goes to the wall in the same way".
In Török's opinion, it is possible that some may desert from the party; however, "Viktor Orbán built up a central political power structure from nothing that is completely unprecedented within a democratic political framework", and that "there is no way that either János Lázár or Antal Rogán could get in the way of it". And the regime will stay as it is today, even when Török believes that "it could be harmful for them that the ruling Fidesz party's societal image changed completely." Because whilst during the first Orbán government, the party was represented by politicians who were controversial, but were also respected by many, such as József Szájer, László Kövér or János Áder, by now, it is the names of Árpád Habony, Szilárd Németh, Andy Vajna or Cecília Rogán that are associated with Fidesz, and they convey a totally different image of the party" – Török argued.
In his opinion, the newcomers are indeed motivated by power and the privileges that come with it. "As long as Orbán can provide these to them – i.e., as long as he can win elections and distribute the prey amongst them –, they will back him. However, problems will arise if the regime wavers either during the time of the 2018 or the 2022 elections. But the biggest danger to Orbán is that he might lose his personal charm. It is not a coincidence that recently he has made it clear that he will continue to seek prime ministerial candidacy, and that he does not wish to retire from the top" – the political analyst stated, noting that the Orbán regime can only end in failure.
The analyst opined that at the time of the '98 electoral victory, the leadership of the ruling party did believe in the ideal of the 'civic Hungary', and that it was mainly the lesson learnt from the 2002 electoral defeat that made them change course. It is because of this that nowadays they are making politics in a much more cynical and realist way. "If there is something I would readily change in the political history of modern Hungary, it is the results of the 2002 general elections" – summed it up the analyst, because in his view, the ruling Fidesz party drew very bad conclusions from 2002, and it was also harmful to the then-Socialist Party that it could win with the kind of policies it had used back then.
At the end of the interview, Mr Török spoke about the ruling Fidesz party's loss in popularity. In his opinion, saying that there is no willingness to see a change in government may be true in the sense that it has no political manifestation. However, hostility is growing, that much is obvious. "Compared to 2010, the world has changed a lot, and even those who continue to favour Fidesz increasingly see such issues as problematic. Of course, they say that Fidesz did a lot more good to the country than those that had governed before, but nowadays not even them are uncritical anymore. Opinion polls are not able to show all forms of amortisation." – Gábor Török concluded.
Gábor Török, mno.hu