As a parliamentary vote for Hungary’s next president approaches, governing party Fidesz has begun employing familiar tactics to discredit the opposition candidate. Fidesz delegation leader Lajos Kósa claimed Tuesday that László Majtényi, the presidential candidate running against incumbent János Áder (Fidesz), is “obviously George Soros’ candidate.”
“We gladly await George Soros. It would be much simpler if we speak with him about what his intentions are with Hungary than to ask for Majtényi’s mediation,” Kósa (pictured) commented, referring to the billionaire Hungarian-American financier who has become a detested figure among government forces and the suspected background bogeyman of any political or civil groups critical of the government.
Majtényi, who is a former ombudsman and current president of the Eötvös Károly public policy institute, a research institute and think-tank founded by Soros’ Open Society Foundation, will reportedly be supported by 43 MPs in the March 13 vote, three more votes than necessary to affirm his official candidacy. Every opposition party, except for far-right Jobbik which has chosen to abstain from the presidential vote, supports Majtényi’s candidacy, calling him “the kind of person that as president would not only represent the voters of a single party, but the whole country.”
An MP of the co-ruling Christian Democrats (KDNP), István Hollik, earlier criticized Majtényi for ties to Soros, claiming that Majtényi had received HUF 145 million (USD 493,000) from Soros via the Eötvös Károly institute. Hollik asked in a press conference “what László Majtényi has to do for George Soros” in exchange for the support he’d received, and whether he would represent Soros’ interests or political viewpoints.
Majtényi corrected Hollik’s estimate, saying that the Eötvös Károly institute had received HUF 57 million (USD 194,000), not 145 million, over six years from sources connected to Soros, but that Soros’ contributions to his presidential campaign “amount to zero forint, and that’s how much it’s going to stay.”
“I follow my own convictions, not the desires of someone else,” Majtényi said, “and I can document this quite well for the public in books, articles and resolutions since I’ve been a public figure for three decades.”
Majtényi also drew attention to the fact that numerous prominent Fidesz politicians have been earlier recipients of Soros’ financial support, including president of the Parliament László Kövér, government spokesman Zoltán Kovács and Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.