Hungary: Two-tailed dog satirical party fails to enter parliament

“I don’t think voting for others is important,” Gergely Kovács, president of the Hungarian Two-Tailed Dog Party, a satirical political party founded in 2006, said during the April 3 general election.

With his general humor, Kovacs said he was sure his party would get 100% of the vote after conducting an “independent representative vote”. When asked by reporters what the election meant for Hungary, Kovacs replied that aggression on Earth by a Galactic-colonial power would be the biggest threat.

The Two-Tailed Dog Party, or MKKP, has been mocking the Hungarian political system since its inception in 2006, with its biting humor often in stark contrast to the more serious tone of other critics of Prime Minister Victor Urban.

Is it time to joke?

Fidez, Urban’s team, won a clear victory in the April 3 election: this is his fourth consecutive victory. The party has a two-thirds majority in parliament. The MKKP, which according to some polls could win some seats in parliament, got only 3.3% of the vote.

“I’m sorry, we wanted to cross the 5% threshold,” Kovacs told party supporters on election night, referring to the threshold required to enter Hungary’s parliament. The MKKP has come under fire after it decided not to join the six main opposition parties in December 2020 to form an anti-Urban coalition.

In the months leading up to the vote, critics of the current government have claimed that the MKP is splitting the anti-urban vote. On election day, Gordon Bajnai, a former prime minister, said a vote for the MKKP would be a vote for Urban.

The criticism was even sharper on election night, when the results of the vote were announced: United for Hungary, the opposition coalition, won more than a third of the vote and only 56 seats. In the 2018 elections, the coalition parties presented themselves individually and got more – 63 -.

MKKP vice-president Zsuzsanna Döme told a local news outlet that her party should not be blamed for the opposition’s poor performance. According to Dome, voters should be asked why they did not vote for the coalition candidates.

For the Kovács, a resounding defeat of the opposition legitimized his decision not to join the alliance. “We may forget Péter Márki-Zay as the hero of the Hungarian political scene – he mentioned the opposition candidate for prime minister – but perhaps others will learn a lesson.”

A brief history of the satirical party in Central Europe

The satirical parties in Central Europe have a rich history, although they tend to be transient. The famous Czech writer Jaroslav Hashek founded the first “moderate progress party within the law” in 1911, mocking the conservatism of the politicians of the then Austro-Hungarian Empire.

During the local election campaign in Prague, Hashek vowed to reintroduce slavery, nationalize doormen, and make drinking compulsory. Such political initiatives will not be repeated until the end of the twentieth century. In 1991, two years after the fall of communism, the Polish Bear Friends Party won 16 seats in parliament, the country’s first free election in decades.

The Beer Party, formed in 2014, won 1.8% of the vote in the 2020 Viennese state election One of the most successful satirical parties in the region was the German Die Party, or “The Party”, which won two seats. In the 2019 European elections.

“Satirical parties really want to come to Parliament”

Like Hashek’s party, the Hungarian MKKP is known for its ridiculous election promises: Hashek will get his supporters “a small pocket aquarium”, where the MKKP promised his party two sunsets a day.

But for Christoph Harvath, a PhD student at King’s College London who is conducting the MKKP ethnographic study, the party has serious intentions. “It’s more appropriate to consider them a party with serious political motives that uses humor as a political tool – Harbhajan says – they really want to get into parliament.”

The party’s slogan is “the only intelligent choice”: it takes a liberal stance on most issues. At the height of the 2015 immigration crisis, when the Hungarian government was advised to build fences to repatriate refugees and keep them away, the MKKP launched a billboard campaign announcing: “Come to Hungary by any means, we are already working in London!”

The party participated in the first election in 2018, when it was in seventh place with 99,410 votes, gaining 1.7%. He won 2.6% of the vote in European elections the following year. Dome, vice-president of the party, is deputy mayor of the central district of Budapest, Ferencavros. Several members sit on the local council.

Numerous public spaces across Hungary have been renovated and rearranged by MKKP. “The MKKP – says Harbhajan – has had more influence than many parties in parliament in the last 12 years.” He presented a rather detailed program for this year’s election, including public procurement reform, greater transparency, and the legalization of cannabis treatment and recreational use.

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