Former SZDSZ (Alliance of Free Democrats) politician Miklós Persányi has been named the “Green Commissioner” for overseeing investments in the controversial Budapest Liget city park development project, reports news site Origo.hu.
Minister of Human Resources Zoltán Balog announced the appointment at the 150th anniversary of the Budapest City Zoo in August. The news has now been circulated in the official government gazette. Persányi, who currently serves as the Director of the City Zoo, also served as Minister of Environmental Protection under the Gyurcsány administration.
According to Balog, the government, with the consent of the mayor of Budapest, believes that the Budapest Liget project needs a commissioner to independently coordinate garden and landscape architecture investments.
“Miklós Persányi’s work and previous record ensure that this work will be performed at its highest level,” Balog said at the anniversary event. He added that one of the most important functions of a park is to act “as a sort of Noah’s Ark” to pass the wonders of nature on to future generations.
The “Noah’s Ark” of Budapest City Park has, according to critics, been sold downriver by the government, which has pushed through plans to create a museum district there. The construction involves the felling of many trees and the construction of five massive structures, including the Hungarian House of Music, the Hungarian Ethnography Museum (relocated from Szabadság square), and the Hungarian National Gallery, relocated from the Castle Palace. The developments are overwhelmingly rejected by Budapest residents, more than 80 percent of whom think no new structures should be built within the green space of the park.