Three deputy leaders of the radical nationalist Jobbik who are considered to belong to the more radical wing of the extremist party will not be re-elected at the summer convention.

Giving the reasons why, party spokesman Ádám Mirkóczki said the current board has accomplished its mission of stabilising voter support and turning Jobbik into a leading opposition force. In the next phase, Jobbik should prepare for governing after the 2018 general elections, and party leader Gábor Vona wanted to have “other characters”, including mayors, among his deputies.
The move does not signal any “split” between radicals and moderates within Jobbik, the spokesman said, adding that the party will continue to rely on the work of the three outgoing deputy leaders, Előd Novák, István Apáti and István Szávay.
Another deputy leader, Tamás Sneider, said the party should give priority to preparations for governing rather than keeping individual interests in view. Sneider was responding after Novák told online news portal index.hu that he was “shocked” and surprised by Vona’s decision.
Szávay said on Facebook he might consider seeking re-election if he “feels” he has enough support from members. He said he considers himself neither a radical nor a hardliner nor someone who would stand in Jobbik’s way to become a governing party.
Apáti told television news channel Hir TV he would seek re-election because he “feels” a strong backing by party members.
According to press reports, lawmaker Enikő Hegedűs has decided to run for deputy leader, despite Vona’s request to abandon such a plan.
Novák later confirmed that he intends to run for another term as deputy leader and has asked Vona to reconsider. Novák said it was wrong to try to settle disputes with “force” instead of arguments, adding that Vona’s planned veto of the three deputies’ runs for re-election was dividing Jobbik.
He said he had been “stabbed in the back” after never questioning Vona’s authority as party leader and never disobeying him. Novak added, however, that he did speak out whenever he disagreed with Vona.
“Obviously I have accepted that he [Vona] can appoint his advisors … or the people he holds town hall meetings with … but I don’t think he should be allowed to shape the party to his own image or remove those who have opposing views,” Novák said.
He said he respected Vona’s desire to work with other people, but added that exercising a veto against three people was a circumvention of the party’s competition rules. Novák said that as a protest against Vona’s decision, several of the party’s founding organisations were preparing to nominate only the three and Enikő Hegedűs as deputy leaders.
Novák said the issue was not solely about the four of them but also “the future of national radicalism”. He said the four were not planning to leave the party and they did not know of anyone planning to run against Vona for party leader.

Előd Novák
Előd Novák

Asked about the validity of press reports that deputy group leader Dóra Dúró, Novák’s wife, was considering resigning all her posts in exchange for Vona allowing Novák to run for re-election, he said Dúró had indeed thought about it but she trusts it will not be necessary and the matter will eventually be resolved.
Despite the relentlessness of the three booted deputies Vona later confirmed that his decision was final. He said he did not insist on keeping his own post but maintained the view that Jobbik can only win in 2018 if it is united and goes in one direction, which cannot be said about the party in its current form. He wanted to work in an inspiring atmosphere.
Vona said he would continue to work for Jobbik even if the party congress in June does not keep him in place. The party leader added that he knows of no challengers but he is open to competition.
Vona said he would use his authority as party leader to block the three men. He said the party rules enable him to exercise a filter role and pick the persons from among the candidates whom the congress would vote about. In line with Jobbik’s statutes, deputy leaders must get at least 10 percent support from members and the party leader at least 20 percent.
Vona said he will expect the three departing deputy leaders to remain involved in targeted policy issues. But there were more suitable persons for the posts, including mayors who had already won municipal elections and governed a community. “I want to involve in the board the ability of winning and governing,” he said.
The ruling Fidesz could only be replaced by Jobbik. To attain this aim, Jobbik should canvas uncertain voters and even those who currently supported other parties.

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