Conservative, Anti-Mass Migration Parties See Surge in Popular Support in Poland, Hungary

Ruling parties in Hungary and Poland are seeing a surge in public backing following their sustained rejection of internationalist bodies’ pro-mass migration policies, signalling citizens prefer governments that stand by conservative values and protect their nations’ borders.

Popularity for the conservative Fidesz party, led by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, grew by 4 percentage points to 40 per cent in a single month across the total population, representing the party’s highest support since 2011, reports Hungarian political magazine HVG.

With ‘decided voters’ (committed to casting ballots), the party polls at 61 per cent – figures that bode well for the prime minister ahead of elections in Spring 2018.

The Medián survey also revealed that apart from the strong support for the conservative party, Fidesz is polling in figures nearly four times greater than the second largest party Jobbik.

Fellow Visegrád nation Poland has also recently had a strong showing in opinion polls for its conservative government.

This week, pollster Estymator revealed the Law and Justice Party (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość, PiS), led by Prime Minister Beata Szydło, is backed by 42.8 per cent of voters – nearly double the support of the next most popular party, the liberal, pro-European Union opposition Civic Platform (Platforma Obywatelska, PO).

These results are significant in the context of the wider political landscape in Central Europe, where, following the election of anti-mass migration populist Andrej Babiš in the Czech Republic, former Communist Central Europe is turning right, and ‘Eurosceptic’.

The Visegrád nations – Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia – have been vocal and stalwart opponents of the EU’s forced relocation of third-world migrants, of which more than one million entered the continent following German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s unilateral open invitation in 2015.

Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland are facing legal challenges from the EU for their refusal to accept migrants, and it would appear that the governments’ defiance of the supranational body has not negatively affected voter appeal.

Poland’s official position on mass illegal migration shifted following an election two years ago.  At the EU summit on the migrant crisis in September 2015, its previous coalition government led by Civic Platform, the party of President of the European Council Donald Tusk, agreed to accept 4,500-5,000 asylum seekers.

However, the following month the conservative Law and Justice Party swept the parliamentary election and became the first party in the post-1989 era to win a mandate to govern the country unilaterally. Law and Justice proceeded to reject the previous government’s migrant position, the move overwhelmingly backed by the Polish people.

Though not broadly in favour of leaving the EU – in fact, the Visegrád supports the bloc’s expansionism into the Balkans – they are wary of the EU’s political and cultural overreach, with Italian author and journalist Alessandra Nucci observing that Hungary’s memory of “intrusive central planning of Moscow” leads the former Soviet satellite state to “recognis[e] similar methods by the central planners in Brussels”.

Poland has been attempting to sweep out remnants of its Communist past by working to pass a bill giving parliament greater powers to dismiss activist judges. The government contends that the measures are necessary to reform a Communist-era model, which still harbours many judges from that time.

However, the UN accused the proposed measures of being “an attack on the courts” with the EU threatening to trigger the Article 7 sanction, which would suspend Poland’s EU voting rights, if the laws were enacted.

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