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Viewing cable 10BUDAPEST34, OPPOSITION LEADER VIKTOR ORBAN CONFIDENT OF

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
10BUDAPEST34 2010-01-22 11:11 2011-01-04 19:07 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Budapest
Appears in these articles:
http://www.spiegel.de/
VZCZCXRO4975
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHUP #0034/01 0221103
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 221103Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY BUDAPEST
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4824
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BUDAPEST 000034

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/CE JAMIE MOORE.
NSC FOR JEFF HOVENIER.

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/21/2015
TAGS: PGOV HU
SUBJECT: OPPOSITION LEADER VIKTOR ORBAN CONFIDENT OF
UPCOMING ELECTORAL VICTORY IN INTRODUCING MEETING WITH AMBASSADOR

Classified By: Political Counselor Paul C. O'Friel
for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (C) SUMMARY. Opposition Fidesz party leader Viktor Orban
is clearly confident of his victory in April's upcoming
national elections in which he hopes to crush the Socialist
party. He is also confident that he can defeat any challenge
by Jobbik, telling the Ambassador in their January 19 meeting
that "The best defense against the extreme right is good
governance by the center-right." The Ambassador welcomed the
opportunity to work with Orban if his party wins the election
as expected. END SUMMARY.

Lower turnout favors the right
------------------------------

2. (C) The Ambassador's introductory meeting with opposition
party leader Viktor Orban found the Fidesz leader energetic
and confident of his success in next April's national
elections. Handicapping the political race, Orban said he
was hoping for a low turnout, which had traditionally favored
the right. Noting that he had won in 1998 with a 56 percent
turnout, and lost in 2002 and 2006 with a 68 percent and 72
percent turnout, respectively, Orban said, "The best for us
is no more than 62 percent, otherwise it starts sliding in
the other direction."

3. (C) Enthusiastically parsing the electorate, Orban
described the typical Fidesz voter as committed politically,
married, better-educated, employed, home-owning, not
dependent on state largess, and wanting more economic
freedom. The typical Socialist voter, according to Orban, is
largely apathetic politically, not as well-educated, from a
lower socio-economic class, and dependent on the state
whether for a pension or an unemployment check. The problem
the Socialist party leadership, whom Orban derisively called
"billionaire ex-Communist nomenklatura," faced was how to
mobilize and energize their base.

4. (C) Using the example of the Socialist party billboards
springing up around Budapest, Orban observed that the
Socialist party's logo was tucked away in a corner. Fidesz
candidate billboards, however, proudly boasted of their party
affiliation.

Going for the jugular
---------------------

5. (C) Displaying his go-for-the-jugular political
instincts, Orban vehemently seconded, "Yeah, we'll crush
them," when his senior foreign policy advisor, Janos
Martonyi, predicted that the Socialists would only get
between 15 and 25 percent of the vote and perhaps
disintegrate as a political party. The Socialists' demise,
Orban said, would be for "the good of the country," since the
party only reflected the interests of former Communist party
elite.

6. (C) Orban was dismissive of his competitors, saying that
none of them had any "political weight." "No one has heard
of (Socialist Party prime ministerial candidate) Attila
Mesterhazy," Orban said. He vowed he would not compromise
with the Socialists once he attained power. "We (Fidesz)
stand for values. My base would never support any deal with
the (ex)Communists."


Good governance best defense against extremism
--------------------------------------------- -

7. (C) Orban was equally dismissive of the far-right Jobbik
party, saying, "They don't have any programs; all they have
to sell is hate and intolerance. If you want a program, you
have to turn to us." Orban noted that throughout Europe only
the center-right was capable of taking on and defeating
extremist movements. "Look at Chirac and Le Pen in France,"
he said, adding, "The best defense against the extreme right
is good governance by the center-right." (Note: Martonyi
predicts that Jobbik will obtain 8-12 percent of the vote.
End Note.)

8. (C) Looking ahead to his anticipated victory, Orban said
what he hoped to do was inject a new sense of optimism and
security in Hungary. The challenge, however, was to govern
effectively. "It will be an exciting time," he promised.
The Ambassador welcomed the opportunity to work with Orban
once he had won the elections and formed a new government.

Budapest 00000034 002 of 002


She also highlighted the need for a welcoming business
environment.

9. (C) Deputy Chief of Mission, who also attended the
meeting, expressed appreciation for Fidesz's support for the
Bajnai government's decision to accept a Guantanamo detainee
and to increase the size of Hungary's Afghanistan contingent.
Martonyi said there was broad cross-party consensus on
Hungarian foreign policy objectives and that there would be
little change from one government to another. (Note: Orban
confirmed that he intended to name Janos Martonyi as his
Foreign Minister. End Note.)

10. (C) COMMENT. Orban, even though he leads by a wide
margin in every poll, is clearly obsessed with decisively
defeating the Socialists, his long-time nemesis. We expect
that, as one of Hungary's shrewdest politicians, this
bare-knuckled political brawler will leave nothing to chance
as he mobilizes his party faithful in the march to
long-awaited victory. Despite Orban's hope for a smaller
turnout on election day, lower voting numbers may also favor
a stronger showing by Jobbik, reducing Fidesz's chance for a
hoped for two-thirds parliamentary majority and increasing
the chances that the extreme right may enter Parliament.
Kounalakis