Péter Juhász: "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger"

September 23, 2016


Opposition party Together deputy chairman Péter Juhász says he can smile despite being the target of a character assassination campaign, while “Antal Rogán withers in Parliament.”  He says nothing can divert him from his road, and that he is indifferent what the government media says about him.  The key to winning the 2018 election is to create an election party in which credible opposition figures work together.

Interview with Együtt (Together) deputy chairman, Péter Juhász appearing in the September 15th edition of 168 Óra under the titleA swallow can a winter make.”

168 Óra: Aren’t you tired of this? Now your family is involved in politics, too.

Péter Juhász: That’s exactly why the attacks came, because my family life became unstable and I wasn’t balanced spiritually. That’s obviously what my opponents were basing their attacks on, (the idea) that they could knock me out because my life was already falling apart. But exactly the opposite happened: the attacks strengthened me. Never did so many people offer their support. Because what do the people see? Juhász attacks big corruption and stealing politicians, and they hurry to take him apart. Look at the comments on my Facebook page, it comes through to everyone that the crusade against me that is currently under way is a big scam.

Your fans comment on your page, not the people.

From this it goes across to the people that what Fidesz is smearing me with is all lies. I can take it though: the tao is my road, action without desire. I have no dreams of position, no ambitions.

Is part of the tao road also a luxury summer vacation in Nice? Didn’t you, who says you have no money, summer in some remote village but in what is maybe Europe’s most expensive tourist paradise?

But for free! If a friend invites me to stay in his house, then from there it’s not luxury.

But a summer vacation in Nice accepted from a rich friend doesn’t fit into the dispossessed politician image either.

Can I do anything about Gábor Bojár’s big house which isn’t in Hungary?

Why did you make a big show? Why wasn’t Balaton good enough?

Nobody knew that I went to Nice. They only got the news because they bugged my telephone. They follow me, they observe me, I noticed this on my computer as well. Then from a little grain of truth they build a huge lie, this is an old communication technique. It is true that I vacationed in one of Europe’s most beautiful areas. That it was luxury is not true in the least. Meanwhile they allege that Portik, who supposedly also has a house in the Riviera, financed it. The next step is that Portik is my friend. At that point Gábor Bojár came forward and made it known that it was his house I had gone to.

Photo: 168óra
Photo: 168óra

Another piece of news that got wings was that Portik financed you through the Igazmondó Alapitvány (Truthful Foundation) and that you supposedly received HUF 130 million.

There is no truth to any of this.  The foundation made a total of HUF 11 million in revenue. The HUF 130 million I collected as collateral so that, if it turned out that way, I would be able to buy a district government property to expose the abuses in the fifth district. 75 people threw together the whole amount, there was no movement of money.

You also received a multi-million forint car from a private donor for your personal use.

This is also a totally transparent matter.  I use it for my work. I pay for the gas and the highway tolls, and the foundation pays for its maintenance. All the rest is lies, which is why I’m suing the slanderers. Whoever says that Portik finances me is going to pay millions.

In such a tense situation, why did you undertake a press review for Tamás Portik?

Press review is a bad expression, that’s not what happened.

Whatever the right expression is, why does it help an opposition politician to collect articles for the contact of a criminal who has been sitting in jail for years?

Let’s start at the beginning. I called Portik as a witness because he told Átlátszó that he knew Antal Rogán. This came in handy for my suit against Rogán. It’s true that I took a big gamble, I had no idea what he was going to say at the hearing. However, he testified that he had given HUF 10 million to Rogán. We sat back, but Fidesz announced that it was suing Portik for false testimony, which gave him an interest in the proof. A week after the hearing, a woman called me.  It happens three times a day that someone I don’t know calls me. At first I didn’t know who she was.

Did you simply believe that she was a close acquaintance of Portik?

She said, ‘Mr. Juhász, before we talk about anything, here are my contact papers,’ then she also showed me her ID. She mentioned that she has a picture of Portik and Rogán together, which came in handy for me. Then she also said that she would be interested in everything that comes out about the hearing. I answered that we have a press review, I gladly copied the transcripts of the hearing for her, it’s nothing. It was a few A4 pages.

Almost every relevant article is on the woman’s Facebook page, she found those on her own.

The hearing transcripts, for example, she didn’t obtain on he own.

I still don’t understand why you accepted such an invitation.

It doesn’t matter what I do, they can attack me for anything.

Századvág strategy director Tamás Lánczi recalled on TV2 that in a leaked recording during the socialist government Tamás Portik offered to gather incriminating evidence on Fidesz politicians. I quote him, ‘Now we have the opposition politician who is in a relationship with him, who now does exactly what Portik at that time offered to do for the secret service leaders.’

Portik has been in jail for four years, at that time I wasn’t even in politics yet. I am not interested in what Tamás Lánczi says. Because he lies. I am going to report him too, because I am not connected to Portik. I saw him once in my life, at the hearing.

Lánczi also said, ‘Juhász is a confrontational politician, the pit-bull of the left, who collides with everyone. He has been able to fight with the authority of a cage fighter on the left. He makes embarrassing assertions, and now even left-wing parties are stepping away from him.’

Tamás Lánczi is serving the system against which decent people are struggling. He is a completely discredited figure who is taking part in character assassination as a political scientist. I really couldn’t care less that he parrots the politically ordered messages. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. This whole thing lifts me up. I will say it again: you can fabricate negative news from anything. There will be others. They’ve even sent whores to me.

Excuse me?

Somebody wrote things to me like, ‘I like you based on your statements.’ I’m telling you, there is no such woman who looks for a guy like that. But I don’t care about this either. I am doing my job, there is nothing that could push me from my path. I couldn’t care less what a politician says about me or wants to smear me with. Earlier I helped a countless number of civil organizations and private individuals appear in the press. I know how the media works. It motivates me that a year before the elections we should come forward with positive messages about what kind of alternative we can offer to the country. Until then we have to point out the weaknesses of the system.

In spite of the revelation of several corruption cases, Fidesz’s popularity has not waned, and Együtt’s has not grown.

Indeed there are changes. Now 80 percent of the population thinks that the government is corrupt. Fidesz doesn’t win with politicizing, but with force: they blackmail, they force people into positions, they discredit, they threaten, they buy who they can. They use the tools of the mafia.

Still, the people need them.

We still don’t know who they will vote for in 2018, the election time is not here yet. Rogán – after Gyurcsány – became the most rejected politician, which in large part is the result of my work. The system is such that they can’t let him go. And as long as he’s there, he demonstrates the workings of the system.

According to political scientist Richard Nagy Szentpéteri, numerous opposition politicians work for Fidesz.

It’s apparent who they’ve bought. László Botka even named them after the MSZP presidential elections. The point is that eventually there will come the final straw which breaks the camel’s back.

What role will the highly fragmented opposition play in the 2018 elections?

In 2015 I removed my name from the non-viable Unity Party (Összefogás) list. But there are credible politicians who are really working. Something person-based needs to be organized.


The opposition is fragmented, that’s why an election party needs to be created in which these credible figures – Gergely Karácsony, Benedek Jávor, Ákos Hadházy, Bernadett Szél, Erzsébet Pusztai – from the PM party, from Együtt, from LMP and from MOMA work together and hold the opposition parties together. This way a new pole can be created against the old elite. But the time for that has not come yet.

According to some, Ferenc Gyurcsány among them, Orbán is using the quota referendum and the campaign to prepare for elections. If we look at things this way, the opposition is too late.

Were we to begin earlier, we would give them time to bring down the good candidates. It’s enough if we show the alternative six months before the elections. Actually PM, Együtt and MOMA have launched a shared campaign on the quota issue, so there are already examples of cooperation.

According to press releases, Viktor Orbán at the Balatonfüred party meeting played down claims concerning cases of corruption in the party. He directed an American campaign slogan at the opposition, which says that if given the chance to choose between a tough guy and a fool, the people will elect the tough guy. You would be the pitiful fools.

Those tough guys, who are doing illegal things, are going to end up in jail. I know this seems naive today. But still, I, who became the victim of character assassination, am completely relaxed, I can smile. While Rogán, who ordered the character assassination, withers in Parliament.

One swallow does not a summer make.

It’s a beautiful saying, but the Hungarians always vote for one person. They dismissed the best left-wing mayors after Őszöd because of Gyurcsány. If one swallow could make a winter then, why couldn’t it make a summer? I am maybe not a swallow but a hawk. I tell you: I’m doing my job, that’s it.