This time, he risked exclusion and he took the lead: the Fidesz party of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban slammed the door of the group of the European People’s Party (EPP, right) in the Parliament of Strasbourg on Wednesday 3 March. A reform of the statutes approved by a very large majority and intended to allow the exclusion of a complete delegation was the trigger for the departure of the twelve Hungarian elected representatives.
The vote, acquired by 148 votes in favor, 28 against and 4 abstentions, was a kind of test before the ousting of Fidesz. This was only supported by a few elected Slovenian, Croatian, Italian, Romanian from the Hungarian minority and by the Frenchwoman Nadine Morano. Even if they did not plead for the exclusion of Fidesz, the other Les Républicains MEPs did not follow their colleague. “This departure saddens us, a political family must be able to bring to life different sensibilities and internal debates without this turning into a tragedy”, however indicated Geoffroy Didier.
Manfred Weber, the German chairman of the group, also expressed his “Regrets” but said reject “Lessons and provocations” of a party moving away from the values of the EPP. “Manfred Weber does not want to lead the EPP group in accordance with conservative Christian values”, replied Judith Varga, the Hungarian Minister of Justice.
Divorce seemed inevitable for a long time, but the EPP will have made it last for years. In a final game of poker, Viktor Orban told Mr Weber on Sunday February 28 that he would leave the EPP group if the rules aimed at facilitating his exclusion were adopted. As the meeting barely started on Wednesday morning with the media in the hands of the Hungarian government, Origo and Magyar Nemzetannounced that Fidesz was carrying out its threat, without even waiting for the outcome of the ballot.
A tumultuous companionship
“The amendments adopted by the EPP group are clearly a hostile gesture adopted against Fidesz and our voters”, said Mr. Orban. So he announced his departure “Immediate”.
It is a tumultuous twenty-year companionship between the formation of the nationalist prime minister and the EPP which is coming to an end. Mr. Orban had decided to join the party in January 2001, after a first shift in his training. Coming from opposition to communism, Fidesz had first chosen the liberal camp in 1990, then had gradually shifted towards conservatism.
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