Hungary’s parliament voted in a former skinhead Tuesday as its deputy speaker in the first session since an election last month saw the far-right Jobbik party make significant gains.
Tamas Sneider, a member of Jobbik and leader of a skinhead group in northern Hungary in the early 1990s, was approved as one of six deputy presidents in one of the first votes by the new parliament.
“As we all know about my past, I’d rather speak about (my plans for) the future,” Sneider, who was given a suspended sentence in 1992 for beating a member of Hungary’s largest ethnic minority the Roma, told a press conference after the vote.
Some 150 deputies of the 199-seat house voted in favour of Sneider’s appointment, including most of Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s ruling right-wing Fidesz party who hold 133 seats.
The new parliament was meeting for the first time since the April 6 election returned Fidesz to power for a second consecutive term in government with a two-thirds majority.
Jobbik, whose deputies have often made anti-Roma statements, won 21 percent of the vote — up from 17 percent in 2010.
It holds 23 seats in the new parliament.