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Hungarian report Hungarian report
by Euro Reporter
2010-06-23 08:25:40
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MSZP could drop candidate

In February the Budapest the Socialists appeared to have already chosen their Budapest mayoral candidate for the local government elections in autumn: Csaba Horváth was then the party’s choice to lead the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) out of crisis in the capital and defeat Fidesz warhorse István Tarlós. Last week, however, the MSZP was thinking out loud about dropping Horváth in favour of a joint candidate with other parties and organisations.

Horváth understands himself to be the only possible MSZP candidate for the post of Budapest mayor, but if there is consensus about another candidate then he will not stand in the way, he told news website fn.hu last Thursday. Horváth already has experience as deputy mayor on the city council although in retrospect his performance was not judged particularly highly by mayor Gábor Demszky (SZDSZ). Horváth was elected leader of the Budapest branch of the MSZP last Friday.

The sidelining of Horváth is likely to be connected to the MSZP’s fears of another Fidesz election victory. “We feel broad-based cooperation is necessary against the future Fidesz candidate,” MSZP councillor Pál Steiner said. He confirmed that the MSZP would approach the Politics Can be Different (LMP) party, which managed to win as many as 18 per cent of votes in some Budapest constituencies in the recent general election.

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“Hetero pride” march to go ahead


An anti-gay activist has succeeded in obtaining police permission to hold a “hetero pride march” on Andrássy út, the same avenue used for a gay pride parade in recent years.

Csaba Koletar told the right-wing daily Magyar Nemzet last week of the rationale behind his planned demonstration. “The aim of the event is to show that not only same-sex, but mixed relations are also worthy of recognition. At the same time, we would like to protest against the open practice and popularisation of homosexuality in Hungary,” Koletar said. The organiser’s first application for permission to hold his march had been turned down by the police on the grounds that it was too early to say whether the event would cause an unacceptable level of disruption to traffic.

The event will take place two months after Budapest Gay Pride Day, which kicks off a week-long gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender film and cultural festival in the capital from 4 to 11 July. Participants in recent Budapest gay pride parades, which have been held in the capital regularly since 1997, have found themselves at the centre of vocal and sometimes violent opposition. Last year’s event took place behind high metal fences and massed ranks of police secured streets around the event after participants in earlier marches had been showered with eggs, vegetables and beer cans.

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Unacceptable

Outcry as government man nominated as State Audit Office chief; independent corruption watchdog slams Fidesz for “politicising” independent institutions. A member of the governing centre-right party Fidesz, László Domokos, is to be the new head of the State Audit Office (ÁSZ), the party’s caucus leader János Lázár announced last Monday. The main opposition Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) promptly criticised Fidesz for selecting a party man rather than an independent professional.  Lázár subsequently named the formerly Socialist mayor of Székesfehérvár Tihamér Warvasovszky as deputy head of the nominally independent state body. The term of the last president of ÁSZ, Árpád Kovács, expired on 9 December and an agreement could not be reached between the parties as to his successor.
Track record questioned

A political row erupted when the small opposition green party Politics Can Be Different (LMP), questioned Domokos’s financial probity. The party accused Domokos of wasting millions of forints of taxpayers’ money through “creative accounting”. The LMP said Domokos, as head of Békés County Council, had been involved bond issues in which the ÁSZ found irregularities. The small green party described the planned appointment of Domokos as “cynical”.

Domokos was also criticised for reportedly collecting over the years some HUF 15 million (EUR 53,816) in living expenses despite owning several properties in Budapest and the provinces. The nationalist Jobbik politician László Nyikos – a former deputy chairman of the ÁSZ – expressed doubts over Domokos’s professional qualifications and language skills. Fidesz issued a statement last Wednesday saying that as Domokos’s registered address is not in his eastern Békés County constituency that he has represented since 1998, he is entitled by law to the accommodation allowance. The party stressed that Domokos had used the subsidy properly.

The international corruption watchdog Transparency International also weighed in last Wednesday, declaring that it was “unacceptable” for an MP from the governing party to head the office charged with monitoring the legitimacy of state revenues, expenditures and the use of state assets.


        
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