Figyelő: Balog and Fazekas may not make it to 2018

March 3, 2016


Hungarian weekly Figyelő  reports that Minister of Human Resources Zoltán Balog and Minister of Rural Development Sándor Fazekas are treading on thin ice. A informed source told Figyelő that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is not satisfied with their results and they might not survive to the end of this government’s term in 2018.

The Figyelő source claims that Orbán “informally” asked Balog last year to clean up the mess with Hungary’s disastrous public education system and to make sure that all the teachers are getting paid in time. The mess was never cleaned up and, according to Figyelő, the system’s financial woes also caused few uncomfortable minutes for Minister of National Economy Mihály Varga during closed governmental meetings.

The situation with Fazekas is a little different, reports Figyelő. Its source says he is also subject to criticism but he has a longstanding and strong relationship with Orbán and played a significant role in helping build Fidesz’s base in the countryside when the party was in opposition. Thus casting Fazekas to the wind would be a more difficult task for Orbán.

Both ministries are up to their necks in corruption scandals and huge mismanagement problems — any of which would have warranted firing the ministers long ago.

In Balog’s case, the national education and healthcare systems are literally on the verge of collapse. Sacking him would at least allow the prime minister to pin the blame on a minister and not the overly centralized and poorly financed system. In the case of Fazekas, it is a miracle he is still a minister. The Ministry of Rural Development has its fair share of scandals, any of which should have been enough to warrant the immediate resignation of the minister in charge.