It is very possible, and we can only hope, that Előd Novák's name will soon disappear from Hungarian politics. However, for the time being he is squarely in the forefront of things. He is a peculiar looking twenty-nine-year-old who as far as I can ascertain has never held a job. According to rumors he comes from a well-to-do family and spends all of his time and energy on dubious political activities. Apparently he doesn't have too many friends, perhaps in part because of his annoying mannerisms. Based on the videos I looked at, I can understand his isolation. And here is an ostensible self-portrait that I found on a website that, judging from its title (http://kurucwanted.blogspot.com/) and contents, was created to unmask Novák and his friends. The charge is that they run one of the most notorious far-right websites, http://kuruc.info/. Those who can't read Hungarian will be able to "enjoy" this rag in English: http://kuruc.info/r/6/39660/.
Novák's role in kuruc.info has not been officially established. But on the basis of information I have picked up I'm almost certain of Novák's involvement. For a number of years Hungarian authorities have sought to shut down kuruc.info. And what's the problem? The Hungarian national security team and the police are convinced that because the site is on an American server the United States government has jurisdiction over the matter. I personally think this is nonsense. After all, the server might be in the United States but Novák and his friends are sitting and writing this garbage somewhere in Budapest. Let's assume that someone living in the United States writes a blog in which he calls for the assassination of the president. This person uses a server in another country. Does anyone thinks that the FBI wouldn't be at his door in no time?
Now try to imagine Novák as a member of parliament next year. After all, he is already Jobbik's representative on the National Electoral Committee. Jobbik fulfilled all the obligations necessary to take part in the European Parliamentary elections in June and as a result it was granted a seat on the committee. As a new member Novák had to be sworn in in the presence of either the speaker of the house or one of her deputies.
SZDSZ tried to block Novák's membership on the Electoral Committee on the grounds that he has been known to steal and publish private information about people whom he didn't like. After all, SZDSZ argued, he could do the same at the Electoral Committee that has plenty of personal information on hand. They failed. Katalin Szili, I think rightly, explained that she has no legal right to keep Jobbik's representative off the Electoral Committee, but at least she herself didn't administer the oath. As one MSZP member said: "She had enough sense." So it was Péter Harrach (Christian Democratic People's Party) who was merrily drinking champagne with Novák. By the way, pay special attention to Novák's outfit. It is called "bocskai" after István Bocskai (1557-1606), Prince of Transylvania, but it became fashionable only between the two world wars as a school uniform and in nationalistic middle-class circles. After the change of regime in right-wing circles the "bocskai" once again became fashionable, and I was not terribly surprised to see how many tailors specialize in making "bocskais" nowadays. There was another thing that was a bit peculiar at the swearing in ceremony. Novák doesn't believe in the Hungarian Constitution and therefore initially he wasn't too keen on taking the customary oath. He wanted to swear on the Holy Crown of St. Stephen because he believes in the Theory of the Holy Crown, a rather muddled notion that the physical crown is the embodiment of the Lands of St. Stephen. The Lands of St. Stephen in this interpretation represents pre-Trianon Hungary. At the end he took the ordinary oath and then descended to the first floor of the parliament building where he could take his own little oath in front the Crown of St. Stephen that Viktor Orbán had earlier managed to move from the National Museum. Also rather peculiar in the parliament of a republic. MSZP and SZDSZ complained that Péter Szegedi, head of the Electoral Committee, took part in the ceremony and also had a sip of champagne with him.
Előd Novák immediately swung into action as a new member of the Electoral Committee. His goal is to block the replacement of one MSZP politician by another MSZP politician in the Budapest legislature. The Budapest MSZP-SZDSZ coalition has only a one-person majority and because György Hunvald, the MSZP mayor of District VII and a member of the legislature, has been sitting in jail for at least two months on corruption charges, the opposition has prevented passage of the city's budget. Finally MSZP convinced Hunwald to give up his seat in the legislature and the MSZP big whigs in the city came up with a new name, a woman who from the 1970s on worked for the counter-intelligence unit of the Ministry of Interior. In no time Magyar Nemzet unearthed her past. This was not exactly a great discovery and until now it had been no impediment to her political career. She served as one of the Budapest's district's deputy mayors. But Novák immediately asked the Electoral Committee to bar her from taking her seat. The National Electoral Committee announced that there are no legal impediments to her taking office. Novák is not deterred. According to the latest news, he now is appealing to the Supreme Court. I very much doubt that he will succeed. After all, in Hungary there is no legislation to bar anyone from taking part in politics because of his or her past activities. Especially not twenty years before. But Novák is not easily deterred. Meanwhile Budapest still has no budget, although the deadline was March 15. I'm curious what else can we expect from Novák.