“I don’t think anyone else’s vote is important,” said Gergely Kovács, co-chairman of the Hungarian satirical party Two-Tails Dog, as he voted in the parliamentary elections.
In his own malicious tone, he emphasized that his party was sure of winning 100 percent. votes after “representative one-man elections”. When asked by the press what the elections meant for Hungary, he said that the greatest threat was the arrival of extraterrestrial forces on Earth.
The Two-Tails Dog Party (ICCP) was founded in 2006, and its harsh satire often stands in stark contrast to the frank statements of opponents of Prime Minister Viktor Orban who accuse him of authoritarian transformation of Hungarian politics since 2010.
Is it time for jokes?
Orban’s Fidesz party achieved a clear victory in the last parliamentary elections. It was their fourth consecutive election victory and, as before, Fidesz has a two-thirds majority in parliament.
The Two-Tails Dog Party, which according to some polls will win more seats in parliament, won just 3.3 percent of the vote. votes. “Sorry, we wanted 5 percent,” Kovács told his supporters on election night, referring to the percentage obstacle that had to be overcome to enter the Hungarian parliament.
A supporter who gathered outside the nightclub where the party was organizing its election party summed up the result: “Damn it bad.” an alliance to try to bring about a change of government.
Criticism for non-participation in the opposition alliance
In the months leading up to the elections, the satirical party was accused of breaking up the opposition’s electorate. On election day, former Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai said that the vote for the Two-Tails Dog party is the vote for Orban. The criticism became even more pronounced on election night, when the opposition alliance’s poor performance was revealed. It received just over a third of the votes and only 56 seats. For comparison, the combined parties won 63 seats in the 2018 elections when they ran individually.
Zsuzsanna Döme, co-chair of the Satire Party, told the local news channel that her party should not be asked about the poor performance of the opposition coalition. Instead, people should be asked why they didn’t vote for a united opposition, she said. For Kovács, the clear defeat of the opposition alliance confirmed the rightness of not engaging in cooperation between the six parties.
“We can forget about Péter Márka-Zay as a shaper of Hungarian politics,” he said, referring to the candidate of the opposition alliance. “But maybe others will learn something from it.”
Satirical events in Central Europe
The “Dog with Two Tails” game is not the first of its kind in Central Europe. Many of these currents were short-lived.
Czech writer Jaroslav Hašek founded the Party of Moderate Progress in Law in 1911, which ridiculed the conservatism of politics in the then Austro-Hungarian Empire.
In the local election campaign in Prague, Hašek promised to restore slavery, nationalize guardians and introduce mandatory alcoholism. Such political jokes did not reappear until decades later.
In 1991, the Polish Beer Party won 16 seats in parliament in the first free elections in the country in decades. Founded in 2014, the Austrian Beer Party received 1.8 percent of the vote in the 2020 national elections in Vienna.
One of the most successful satirical parties in Europe is Germany’s Die PARTEI, which won two seats in the 2019 European elections.
Like Hašek’s campaign in the early 1910s, the Hungarian ICC is known for its outrageous campaign promises. While Hašek has promised that everyone who votes for him will receive a “small pocket aquarium”, the ICCP promises two sunsets a day, among other things. election victory for all gives free beer for life.
Horvath: “Serious Political Goals”
Kristof Horvath, a PhD student at King’s College London who is writing a research paper on the Hungarian satirical party, believes the party is not a joke, but very serious. “It’s more accurate to think of it as a party with serious political goals, which is also fun and uses humor as a political tool,” said Horvath.
Their slogan is: “The only reasonable choice.” The Two-Tails Dog Party takes mostly a liberal, almost libertarian stance. At the height of the refugee wave in 2015, when the Hungarian government advocated pushing away refugees and building away from fences to keep them away , the satirical party put up posters saying: “Come to Hungary, we are already working in London!”
Her first real vote was in 2018 when she received 99,410 votes (1.7% of the total) and finished seventh. In the European elections the following year, it won 2.6 percent. votes.
Despite low results, he managed to place members in influential positions. Döme, the party’s co-chair, is the deputy mayor of the Ferencváros district of Budapest. Several members sit on city councils.
According to Horvath, countless public spaces in Hungary have been redesigned by the ICCP, and in practice, “the ICCP has done more than many parties in parliament in the last 12 years.”
In the run-up to the parliamentary elections, the ICC advertised an extensive program, which included, inter alia, public procurement reforms, greater transparency and the release of medical marijuana.
“It’s a pity we didn’t enter and marijuana will not be legal in Hungary from tomorrow,” Kovács told the press.