Within hours of George Soros accusing the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) of having been bought up by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán at a speech delivered in Davos, MSZP took to the airwaves to defend itself.
“If anyone should know how difficult it is to defend against baseless accusations, it is George Soros,” reads the statement released Friday morning. “The fact is that we withdrew 47 candidates and created the Alliance for Change to oust Fidesz. Therefore, MSZP has paid a serious price for a change in government. Of course, one can continue to make accusations, but that would be no different than accusations of the non-existent Soros Plan.”
Socialist MP Ágnes Kunhalmi also responded to Soros’ remarks at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland on her Facebook page: “Fidesz says that Soros has bought MSZP and the opposition parties, Soros says Fidesz bought [MSZP and the opposition parties]. This must mean we are doing something right. George Soros can do one thing, he can vote for [prime ministerial candidate] Gergely Karácsony. <3”
Does Orbán hold MSZP in the palm of his hand?
Soros is not the only one to accuse MSZP of doing Fidesz’s bidding. In fact, MSZP’s own party members have even accused a key faction within the party of just that. The following are just two cases from 2017.
Shortly before resigning her membership in MSZP in 2017, then-MSZP MP Márta Demeter accused her party of doing what Fidesz said. Refusing to return her mandate to the Socialist party, Demeter joined Politics Can Be Different (LMP) and went on to make a name for herself by helping to expose the government’s scandalous residency bond program.
Then there was also that time when MSZP’s first candidate for prime minister, László Botka, got a reality check from his party.
After his own party sabotaged his candidacy and forced Botka to step down in October 2017, both Botka and Socialist MEP and party Vice President István Újhelyi made references to a “political mafia” and “outside political powers” operating within their party. Botka’s ouster prompted Újhelyi to resign as party vice-president, although he retained his seat in the European Parliament.
The faction within MSZP made no secret of their displeasure with Botka after he announced plans to clean house. As early as July 2017, they were planning to hand his candidacy for prime minister over to Párbeszéd’s Gergely Karácsony.
During Botka’s short-lived candidacy, he accused the likes of MSZP MP Zsolt Molnár (who chairs the parliamentary national security committee) of being a traitor and Fidesz collaborator (there are signs that this may be the case). Botka vowed to rid the party of such elements. Shortly thereafter, individuals connected to Molnár played a pivotal role in undermining Botka’s candidacy. Péter Tarjányi, an advisor to Molnár (and owner of Zoom.hu, known for censoring content about the Orbán family businesses), ostensibly launched the Hungarian Progressive Movement for the purpose of replacing Botka. The movement proved to be a great success and was recently wound up.