OVB fines Viktor Orbán $1,400 for campaigning among children

March 30, 2018

Viktor Orbán fined $1,400 for campaigning among children
Photo: Facebook/Orbán Viktor

The National Election Committee (OVB) has fined Prime Minister Viktor Orbán HUF 345,000 (USD 1,360) for unlawfully campaigning among children without the consent of their parents, reports index.hu.

On March 21 Orbán posted a video on his official Facebook page in which he is seen visiting a kindergarten with government commissioner Judit Czunyi-Bertalan in the Komárom-Esztergom county village of Dad. The village belongs to the electoral district where Czunyi-Bertalan is running as Fidesz’s candidate in the general election on April 8.

Throughout the 55-second heavily edited video, Orbán is seen introducing himself to and shaking hands with at least half a dozen kindergarteners. At one point, he calls the children to get together for a group photo but later corrects himself and says “alright, those of you who want to, can pose for a group photo.” All the children are herded together for a photo nevertheless. Standing in the middle with Czunyi-Bertalan, Orbán theatrically raises a shorter boy so that he would be seen in the photo. Then the video ends.

A day later, Orbán shared another video titled “Unexpected visit in Bakonysárkány”. Still campaigning for Czunyi-Bertalan, the prime minister paid a surprise visit to the local community hall where he shook hands with unknowing children dressed in glad rags. The same day, Momentum Movement announced that it would file a report with the OVB for “political pedophilia.” Együtt and three private persons also filed reports with the authority.

On Thursday, a photo (as seen on top) was published on Orbán’s Facebook page in which he is seen shaking hands with children dressed in hussar uniforms during his campaign visit at the Balaton-side resort of Fonyód.

The OVB argues that both Orbán and Czunyi-Bertalan violated the election and the public education laws that prohibit using children for campaign purposes without the consent of their parents. OVB announced that it would forward the case to the National Authority for Data Protection and Freedom of Information (NAIH). In addition to the fine, OVB’s resolution ordains Orbán to remove the video that was shot at the Dad kindergarten and prohibits him and Czunyi-Bertalan from further violation of the law.

Normally, such a distinct action against Fidesz politicians, let alone Orbán, would be unthinkable on the part of OVB. However, in accordance with the election law, each political party that manages to run a national list can delegate one member to the OVB oversight committee who can participate in its work until the inaugural session of the new National Assembly. The current resolution was passed by 13 yes and 7 no votes. This ratio matches that of the opposition and Fidesz members on the committee.