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31 May 2015

Hungary's pro-White Jobbik aims to govern in 2018

Budapest (AFP) - The leader of Hungary's pro-White Jobbik said Saturday he was determined to distance the party from radical elements and move it to the centre in a bid to win general elections in 2018.

"We will win the election, take a deep breath and rebuild our country," Gabor Vona told the party's congress in Budapest.

Jobbik, once considered a fringe, racist party, has been successfully shunning its bad image and Vona has toned down the party's rhetoric, which once stigmatised Roma as criminals.

In 2012, one Jobbik politician said Hungary should draw up lists of Jews who pose a "national security risk".

Prime Minister Viktor Orban's ruling Fidesz party leads the opinion polls, but Jobbik has picked up disillusioned voters, securing its place as the EU member's second-largest party.

According to a Tarki poll last month, Fidesz has 23 percent support and Jobbik has 14 percent, with 40 percent of voters undecided.

"In 2018 people will have to choose between Fidesz and Jobbik," Vona said.

Orban has tried to halt Jobbik's rise by shifting to the right with a radical anti-immigration stance and a proposed debate on reintroducing the death penalty.