Hungary: new rival a real threat for Orbán?

The Tisza party led by political newcomer Péter Magyar won 29.6 percent of the Hungarian vote in the EU elections. Less than three months after Magyar took over as its leader, Tisza, which until then was only a minor formation, has become the largest opposition party in the country. This meteoric rise is prompting speculation in Hungary's press about whether the party could become a serious rival for Viktor Orbán and his Fidesz.

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hvg (HU) /

Right-wing politics for left-wing voters

According to hvg, with the right strategy Tisza has plenty of potential:

“What we have seen so far from Péter Magyar is an astonishingly successful performance by a political influencer, and a huge political achievement. But what this can achieve in the limited time before the 2026 election will now be decided. ... The Tisza party finds itself in the paradoxical position of offering a politically right-wing product while most of its current voters are not right-wing. However, with a western-oriented, centrist policy it could secure their support and even lure voters away from Fidesz - provided that from now on it attacks only the government and not the already weakened opposition, and that its leader proves he is capable of teamwork.”

Magyar Hang (HU) /

Magyar needs more than grassroots democracy

Tisza's leader needs to start building a Fidesz-like party infrastructure, political analyst Attila Tibor Nagy writes in Magyar Hang:

“The Orbán regime cannot be defeated by a grassroots democratic party. That requires a party organisation that can react quickly. ... Fidesz's success was also guaranteed by a massive, disciplined party organisation and an army comprising thousands of activists. Technically, the Tisza party will have little choice but to imitate the internal workings of Fidesz in this respect. ... The counter-Fidesz is waiting to be formed - the opportunity was born on 9 June.”

Index (HU) /

An enigma so far

Tisza can't be described as a proper party at this stage, former liberal politician Gábor Fodor argues in Index:

“Tisza is a black hole, a 'non-existent planet': it exists, but it doesn't exist. It has become the largest opposition force, although we know nothing about it (its existence is a rather astonishing insight into Hungary and the overwhelming power of emotions), because the votes cast in its favour can be understood as votes against Fidesz (Viktor Orbán) and the left (Ferenc Gyurcsány). But whatever the case, its emergence has created a new situation in domestic politics and on the international stage.”