Hungarian bank Orban on anti-LGBT campaign in tough reelection bid

NGOs fly giant rainbow balloons at Hungarian parliament to protest anti-LGBT law in Budapest
A security officer stands guard near a giant rainbow backpack set up by members of Amnesty International and Hatter, an LGBT rights NGO, in the Hungarian parliament to protest the law anti-LGBT in Budapest, Hungary, July 8, 2021. REUTERS / Marton Monus /Files

December 13, 2021

By Krisztina Than

KECSKEMET, Hungary (Reuters) – Prime Minister Viktor Orban bills himself as a defender of traditional Hungarian values ​​against “LGBT ideology” for the 2022 elections which his party may be vulnerable to for the first time. vulnerable to a newly unified opposition.

Political identity, especially his hardline anti-imitation, and anarchy between Orban’s centre-right and liberal-left opponents have proven instrumental in helping the populist Fidesz party. His conservative race won an absolute majority in the 2018 election.

But with the border fence making migrants a secondary issue and many Hungarians now preoccupied with bread-related problems, including soaring inflation caused by the pandemic, the opposition regrouped and only ran ahead of Fidesz in some polls.

To win again next year, the key for Orban will be to get all Fidesz loyalists gathered in smaller towns and villages back to the ballot box, with a referendum about “LGBT propaganda” may take place on the same day as a fill-in is added.

However, with inflation at a 14-year high of 7.4%, Orban will also need some undecided voters which he targets with massive tax cuts for families, a pension increase large, 20% minimum wage increase and fuel price cap.

Andras Biro-Nagy, director of the think tank Policy Solutions, said: “The role of the anti-LGBT campaign could primarily be to provide another powerful reason for Fidesz supporters to vote for this government. strengthen government confidence”.

However, alluding to price spikes amid the pandemic still pervasive, he added: “This campaign has its limits and I think in the coming months Fidesz will not be successful in raising it. This topic becomes the most important topic that occupies everyone’s mind.”

The anti-LGBT campaign, which the European Union executive considers discriminatory, escalated in June when the Fidesz-dominated parliament passed a law banning the use of materials deemed to promote homosexuality and gender change at school, citing the need to protect children.

Government blue billboards then sprung up across the country asking, “Are you afraid your child might be exposed to sexual propaganda?”

Orban, nailing his electoral colors with issues of gender and sexuality, told a Fidesz congress last month: “We will not give up our right to defend our borders… We insist that marriage in Hungary is between man and woman, father is man and mother is woman… and they should leave our children alone. ”

During a one-sided nationalist salute at Fidesz’s grassroots grassroots, Orban’s chief executive, Gergely Gulyas, told the website on Monday that LGBT rights groups “have huge influence.” in Brussels”. Gulyas accused the European Commission of blackmailing Budapest over the release of EU economic recovery funds because of its June school law.

The Commission’s approval of a recovery fund for Hungary and Poland has stalled because the EU has said it believes the ruling parties in both countries are undermining the independence of the courts, media and institutions. non-government.


Government promotional campaigns have been carried out in print and online media, radio, television and billboards.

It came out in a government survey in which, according to officials, 97 percent of the 1.423 million people who answered questions on issues ranging from tax cuts to immigration welcomed the law restricting “propaganda” sex” aimed at students.

Orban, first elected in 2010, used such “national consultation” surveys to strengthen the populist grip on Hungary’s political agenda and keep His electoral base sticks.

In the eastern Budapest town of Kecskemet, the anti-LGBT campaign and promised referendum resonated with traditionally minded residents, while alarming the local LGBT community.

“This is a really good thing… because, really, do we have to educate our children to be homosexual?” Jozsef Farkas, 69, said he would vote for Fidesz again.

In the referendum, Hungarians will be asked whether they support the holding of seminars on sexual orientation in schools without parental consent and whether they believe that the Should sex reassignment procedures be “promoted” in children?

They will also be asked whether media content that may affect sexual orientation should be shown to children without restriction.


Eszter Fejes, 36, an LGBT activist in Kecskemet, said she was faced with close-up campaigning when she came across a blue government poster next to the entrance to her apartment complex. day.

“Obviously I’m starting to think… about what my family is doing about this, or me or the whole thing?” she speaks.

“But I am more angry from the community point of view: LGBT people in general are going down an invisible slide when it comes to public attention… People who are more vulnerable than me are in a difficult situation.”

Fejes said she knows of gay people who don’t show up in Kecskemet but rather live a double life, spending time in Budapest, where it’s easier to remain anonymous.

During Fidesz’s decade of domination, Orban appealed to conservative Hungarians who believed their country was in a struggle to defend its Christian identity – from Muslim immigrants to so-called ” gender and LGBT ideology” is said to have been supported by the Central European nation by Brussels.

But a recent Policy Solutions survey found that the high cost of living was the number one voter problem – for 47 percent of Hungarians – followed by low wages and inadequate public health care.

Even for Fidesz supporters, LGBT “propaganda” ranks 10th among the issues that worry them the most, with migration higher among the top concerns with 17 %.

Fidesz ran for re-election in 2014 with 45% of the party list votes and again achieved a two-thirds majority in 2018.

Now, however, it confronts a united opposition coalition under the direction of Peter Marki-Zay, a practicing Catholic, father of seven and political outsider who vows to repeal the law. anti-LGBT has been condemned by human rights groups and Brussels.

($1 = 324.7200 forints)

(Reporting by Krisztina Than; Editing by Mark Heinrich) Hungarian bank Orban on anti-LGBT campaign in tough reelection bid


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