19 governing party politicians have been named county development commissioners by the Minister responsible for running the Office of the Prime Minister, János Lázár, who is also a Fidesz member of parliament. Of those, nine are sitting members of parliament who only last year were required to resign positions in county or local government in order to be seated in parliament.
The reason for the new law was to prevent Hungarian members of parliament from holding multiple positions in national, county and local government, which was deemed at the time to constitute a conflict of interest.
In their capacity as county commissioners the Fidesz MPs in question are to have responsibilities similar to that of a county assembly president such as coordinating new projects, and preparing and implementing methods of evaluation, Furthermore, they are to be paid for their efforts.
Blikk.hu reports that originally the county commissioners performed their functions without compensation, but that ten days after their appointment the relevant law was modified so as to allow them to earn up to HUF 748,000 a month, that is, what a typical deputy undersecretary earns.
According to the daily news portal, nine governing party MPs, including Péter Ágh, Jenő Manninger and Zsolt Nyitrai (pictured above) are to receive an additional HUF 224,000 monthly for their second government job.
The commissioner for Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg county, Sándor Lipők , who was not reelected to parliament in 2014, is to receive HUF 748,000 a month to perform work which previously Fidesz MPs were expected to perform without compensation.
The Office of the Prime Minister did not respond to blikk.hu’s inquiry as to the reason for the change of heart.
Pro-Fidesz political analyst Zoltán Kiszelly opined to blikk.hu that the reason for compensating the MPs for their work as county commissioners might be in order to prevent them from being corrupted over the course of performing their added duties.
(Zoltán apparently lives in an alternative universe–one where governing party politicians are not primarily in the business of lining their pockets with EU taxpayer money! In Hungary the ability to divert sizable public funds into party coffers is a basic criteria for entering parliament-ed.)