Gov’t tightens party financing regulations after ordering investigation of Jobbik

October 9, 2017

The government has tightened the regulations on party financing after investigation against Jobbik was ordered
Photo: MTI/Péter Komka

The government issued a decree that tightens the punishment of parties found guilty of unlawful administration of finances on the same day that the prosecutor’s office ordered an investigation of far-right Jobbik at the request of the State Audit Office, index.hu reports.

According to the decree signed by Minister of National Economy Mihály Varga (pictured), those parties that spend their resources for unlawful purposes (for example, setting up illegal political advertising) can be punished with reductions in the central budget’s financial support of the party. Consequently, should Jobbik be found guilty by the prosecutor’s office, the party could be stripped of millions of forints of central budget funds.

Meanwhile, Politics Can Be Different (LMP) vowed to provide legal aid to Jobbik with the help of the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU). According to the party’s statement: “The Fidesz prosecutor’s office has already proved countless times that it initiates proceedings on political orders. It is LMP’s position that representative democracy suffered yet another low-blow from Viktor Orbán’s government today. Viktor Orbán uses the commissars of the prosecutor’s office for a campaign against a political party and representative democracy. LMP finds it unacceptable that prosecution procedures are launched on political orders.”

The prosecutor’s office ordered an investigation against Jobbik last week after the radical-right party allegedly failed to cooperate with the auditors of the State Audit Office who reportedly sought to look into its advertising spending. Both the criminal investigation and this latest decree show that the ruling Fidesz-KDNP coalition considers Jobbik the biggest threat to its potential electoral victory in 2018, and is also a strong message to the former Fidesz treasurer, oligarch Lajos Simicska, who is allegedly supporting Jobbik’s election campaign.