Hungarian opposition to convoke National Security Committee over Orbán

March 9, 2015

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Former governing Fidesz party economic director Lajos Simicska gave an interview to conservative on-line portal Mandiner on Sunday, March 8, claiming that, while serving as a line soldier in the Hungarian army together with future Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (pictured), the latter admitted to being forced to write a report on him, but that they would agree on what to write.

The following day most opposition leaders called for the Parliamentary National Security Committee to be convoked.  Radical right-wing Jobbik even submitted a draft resolution calling for the release of all documents in Russia’s possession pertaining to individuals employed by the Hungarian state security organs before 1989.  Orbán, who addressed Hungarian ambassadors in Budapest Monday morning, told reporters Simicska is only trying to get even.  Orbán’s refusal to dignify the accusation with a response leads many to conclude that there are genuine grounds for concern.

Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) deputy chairman Zoltán Lukács summarized Simicska’s statement as follows: “A former fellow soldier of the head of government claims that Orbán served department III/III of the communist central committee while serving as a line soldier.”  According to Lukács, Simicska implied that, even though Orbán denied signing a declaration after they tried to recruit him as an agent, it is conceivable that he signed.  According to  Lukács, Simicska’s most serious allegation is that these documents are in the possesion of the Russian authorities.  He says it raises the quesiton of whether the Prime Minister can be blackmailed.   He said Viktor Orbán must initiate a lawsuit again Simicska, and that failing to do so, it is possible “he has something to fear from what has come to light this minute.”

Zsolt Molnár, Socialist chairman of the Parliamentary National Security Committee, asked that Orbán appear before the next committee meeting to answer questions about “the possible national security risk relating to his person appearing in the press.” 

Democratic Coalition (DK) also called for the National Security Committee to meet.  Party spokesperson Ágnes Vadai said the head of government “needs to be honest for once” because there are grounds to suspect that “the most anti-communist politician of the past 25 years was an informer before the system change.”   She said that if the accusion turns out to be true “then it means nobody has ever taken advantage of the Hungarian people in such a manner”.  Verde believes Simicska’s allegations “support and explain” the government’s “eastern opening” foreign policy, why Fidesz never agreed to release the secret agent files, and why it classified the Paks contracts for 30 years.

Jobbik says that in the event Orbán cannot refute Simicska’s accusation, then he must resign.  Party spokesman Ádám Mirkóczki said his party also agrees to convoke a meeting of the National Security Committee.  He said there are grounds for believing that  Orbán may have said “yes” to the offer made by the III/4 department.  “The big question is whether he worked for the III/3 department and informed on others.”  Jobbik submitted a draft declaration calling for all national security documents from before the 1989 system change sent to Russia to be released, and for the documents to be made available to everyone.

Politics Can Be Different (LMP) shares MSZP’s point of view, according to which Orbán must personally respond to  Simicska’s allegations.  Co-chair András Schiffer believes the Fidesz-KDNP majority should support LMP’s proposal to release the national security files at Tuesday’s Parliamentary Justice Committee meeting. He also called on the government to arrange for Russia to make the KGB files on Hungary for the period 1944-1991 available.

Dialogue for Hungary (PM) called for the release of sound recordings made by the state security authorities.  Budapest District 3 assemblyman Richárd Barabás announced that PM co-chair Timea Szabó planned to submit a draft bill.  PM would post the information on the website of the Constitution Protection Office.  Barabás believes that in a democracy elected officials must not be suspected of such activities, and that it is in the fundamental interest of the head of government to clarify the matter.

Opposition party Together said it would again submit its proposal to settle the state security past that it submitted in May, and that it expects the governent parties to put it on the agenda for debate.  Independent MP Szabolcs Szabó (Together) says the proposal would clarify who qualified as a member of the state security, and it would prevent those participating in the state security apparatus from winning lawsuits in the event someone accused them of being an agent.  Their proposal is to collect all the files into a library and to make them public except for those essential to national security.  “We need to create openness, and whoever was an agent has an obligation to leave public life,” said Szabó.

Viktor Orbán himself also answered the allegations against him.  After delivering an address to Hungarian ambassadors summoned to Budapest so that they could be briefed on Hungary’s new, active foreign policy, Orbán told a journalist it was “unfortunate” that “somebody would stoop so low out of spite” and that he saw no point in “making such a circus in Hungarian politics” or in debating such matters beyond clarifying the facts.

Reporters from online news portal asked government party members about the matter in the halls of parliament today.  Some said Simicska’s attack was base.  Deputy party chairman Lajos Kósa even said “Lajos Simicska is not credible in any respect.”

Simicska’s media empire was instrumental to Fidesz’s victories in general, European Parliament, and municipal elections held in 2014, publicly vilifying opposition politicians and government critics and faithfully toeing the government line on everything from Paks to the distribution of state lands and local tobacco retailing monopolies to prominent Fidesz supporters to mandatory shop closures on Sundays.