KDNP urges Budapest to strip Soros of his honorary citizenship

July 12, 2017

Soros receives his honorary citizenship from Budapest mayor Gábor Demszky on January 29, 2003. MTI Photo: Imre Földi

The youth faction of the Christian Democratic People’s Party (KDNP) has urged Budapest City Council to remove George Soros from the list of honorary citizens of Budapest, reports Index.hu.

The youth wing of Fidesz’s coalition partner released a statement on Tuesday in which – apart from bashing Soros, former mayor of Budapest Gábor Demszky (1990-2010) and left-wing opposition parties – they ask the General Assembly of the capital to “withdraw George Soros’s honorary citizenship or the resolution that awarded him the title at an extraordinary general assembly this summer as soon as possible.”

The statement concludes that “Hungary should be grateful to those who helped her, not to those who harm her.”

Index contacted the Office of the Mayor to find out whether the council supported KDNP’s recommendation, but the office declined to answer and directed journalists to the Fidesz members of the General Assembly. Reporters of Index contacted several Fidesz district mayors without any luck.

The Budapest General Assembly withdrew the honorary citizenship of nine individuals in 2011 on the recommendation of Mayor István Tarlós. According to the justification, those stripped of their honors “can be considered enemies of the Hungarian freedom fight and partially of Hungarian democracy or democracy in general.”

Should the general assembly decide to withdraw Soros’s honorary citizenship, the Hungarian-born billionaire philanthropist would be put on the same list with Joseph Stalin, Julius Jacob von Haynau, who conducted a ruthless retaliation after Hungary’s failed 1848-49 revolution and freedom fight, Count Josip Jelačić, who led a military campaign against Hungary in 1848, and Field Marshall Alfred Windisch-Grätz, who commanded the Austrian army against revolutionary Hungarian forces in the same conflict.

Interestingly, Tarlós was not eager to touch Soros’s honorary citizenship in 2011 despite the fact that it was well-known even then that Soros had held the title since 2002. The government spoke of Soros as a neutral actor back in 2011, and daily Népszabadság revealed a few months after the revocations that the nine historical figures had not in fact been official honorary citizens of Budapest, suggesting the whole procedure was merely a political spectacle.

Soros was awarded a honorary citizenship in 2002 by Budapest City Council with the support of the Socialist Party (MSZP) and the Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ) who had a majority in the council at the time. Fidesz councillors did not support Soros’s appointment.