Divided spaces by urban-rural antagonism in Hungary

Freitag (22. September 2023), 11:00–12:30
SH 0.101
Mátyás Bódi (Eotvos Lorand Tudomanyegyetem)


The Hungarian right-wing government party - FIDESZ - is undebatably the most successful political organisation of modern Hungarian history. Since 2010, four consecutive elections have been won by Viktor Orbán led party, gaining a 2/3 supermajority in the Parliament. Using its mandate, they first reformed the electoral system to make it more beneficial for its own party, fundamentally changed the constitution and centralized the executive system as a whole. Beyond these internal political processes, on the international scene, the party also tries to form an “illiberal” coalition with far-right or radical right wing parties of Europe and build a EUrosceptic agenda.

Using a critical approach, I am willing to analyse and interpret the electorate of the Hungarian government and also understand the historical evaluation that fell into the domination of this ideological stream in Hungary. It is also widely proven that - as far as the electoral performance of different actors are concerned - the strongest social cleavage within Hungarian society is the urban-rural antagonism. The more inhabitants a given city has, the more the electoral performance of the governing right-wing party is declining. Budapest, the multicultural space of intellectual elites, is often opposed by the “pure Hungarian” countryside and the society of smaller, traditionalist towns.

The most contradicting phenomenon of today’s Hungarian society is that while the state as a provider is gradually pulling back from most of the social services, such as education, poor policy, health system, public transport, etc, implementing a neo-liberal agenda, the electorally most solid social group, supporting the government are members of the socially most deprived part of the country’s population. My goal is to present, since 2010, how FIDESZ could progressively acquire the trust of people, who are negatively affected by the rising income and wealth inequalities of the country.