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Radical nationalists strengthened since 2006

The strengthening of radical nationalist Jobbik began on the heels of the prime minister's 2006 leaked "lies speech" and the opposition's subsequent failed attempts at toppling the government, political analysts said at a conference on Thursday.

Ervin Csizmadia, the head of a political analyst centre, said the breakthrough for Jobbik came not at last summer's European elections but already in 2006, when a speech broke by then prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsány telling his party members that they had lied about the state of public finances.

András Körösényi, a university professor, said that Jobbik leaders and supporters at the time interpreted main opposition Fidesz's failed responses as caving in and abandoning the goal of toppling the government. Another reason for Jobbik's strengthening is ethnic tension, mainly the topic of "gypsy crime" entering the political arena, he said.

However, Körösényi added, Jobbik could become a "falling star", loosing popularity fast after winning seats in the next parliament. The main stake of April's elections is whether the decade-long bipolar political system becomes three-sided. Jobbik could also push Fidesz towards the centre, he said.

István Hegedűs, chairman of the Hungarian Europe Society, said it was more likely that Fidesz and Jobbik would contend for the right-wing vote. On the subject of Gyurcsány's possible return to politics, Hegedűs said that would be "catastrophic", as it would bring back the age-old rivalry between him and Fidesz leader Viktor Orbán, which was the cause of an unprecedented level of division in Hungary. (MTI)