Viktor Orbán is losing his cool

Trump’s uncontrolled outbursts seem to be contagious. While in the past Viktor Orbán showed considerable restraint when giving interviews or answering opposition members of parliament, in the last couple of weeks he has given vent to his frustration and anger.

Friday, during his regular morning radio interview, he lashed out against the European Commission, repeating himself, calling the legal opinion released by the European Commission an object of derision, a document that one cannot discuss without laughing. If Hungary accepted this document, it would become the laughing stock of Europe. He went on and on. Then yesterday, he accused Ákos Hadházy (LMP), who has spent years fighting the endemic corruption of the Orbán regime, of corruption himself. Pressured by the European Commission and by Hadházy’s dogged pursuit of his government’s systemic corruption, Orbán no longer seems capable of exercising self-control.

I have been following Ákos Hadházy’s political career ever since he first appeared on the national scene. He reported on a local corruption case in Szekszárd, a small town, where he was a Fidesz member of the city council. Since then, Hadházy, now co-chair of LMP, has focused on uncovering corruption cases. Just the other day, he said in an interview that he had held more than 80 “corruption infos.” Once a week he stands in front of the cameras and reports on yet another horrendous case. Each of these cases involves millions if not billions of forints. Hadházy estimates that in the last seven years the “Fidesz clientele” stole about three trillion forints of the subsidies Hungary received from the European Union. In his assessment, all work performed is at least 30% overpriced.

Lately, Hadházy has been working on two cases, both involving healthcare. The first one was a program that was supposed to set up “mentor houses” for premature babies and their parents in Szeged, Kecskemét, and Gyula. A foundation was established for the purpose, called “I Arrived Early Foundation,” which received 1.2 billion forints from the European Union. Since it was such a large project, Hadházy asked for details. It turned out that less than half of the money was allocated to the program itself. The rest was designated for the maintenance of the foundation. Money was spent on most likely overpriced rentals, legal advice, laptops, telephones, several printers, and very high salaries for the “coordinators,” while the 40 mentors received only about 50,000 forints a month.

It turned out that two other very similar projects received about half the amount that “I Arrived Early Foundation” got, and they managed quite well. Mind you, they didn’t pay 50 million forints for “legal advice.” In fact, they got along just fine without it. While a methodology study cost the “I Arrived Early Foundation” 50 million, the other foundation managed to get one for 8 million.

Hadházy stirred up a hornet’s nest by investigating this particular foundation. János Lázár’s wife is one of the board members of the foundation, and Hadházy suspected that the unusually generous financial support given to the foundation was not entirely independent of Mrs. Lázár’s presence there. Soon after the “corruption info” in which Hadházy announced the foundation’s suspicious expenditures, he found himself in the crosshairs of Zoltán Balog’s ministry, which awarded the money to the foundation, and the Office of the Prime Minister, headed by János Lázár. Nándor Csepreghy, Lázár’s deputy, assisted by the government paper, Magyar Idők, led the attack. Magyar Idők published several articles accusing Hadházy of being a heartless man who compared these premature babies to newborn puppies. Hadházy, who is a vet in private life, did in fact compare the weights of some of these babies to newborn puppies, and he was quite accurate. A newborn puppy is about 500 grams, just like the smallest premature baby. Csepreghy, in defense of his boss, called Hadházy an “ignorant scoundrel.” Lázár at one point offered his wife’s retirement from the foundation, but as far as I know nothing of the sort happened. Naturally, the foundation explained away all of its expenses.

The second case was even more clear cut. The National Healthcare Services Center (Állami Egészségügyi Ellátó Központ/ÁEEK) issued a tender for several ventilators. General Electric and three Hungarian firms submitted bids. The Hungarian firms were actually just wholesalers, and their bids were a great deal higher than General Electric’s. The three Hungarian firms offered to sell the ventilators for a price between 1.7 and 1.9 billion forints as opposed to GE’s offer of 1 billion forints. ÁEEK tailored the tender in such a way that only one bidder could win the tender. Predictably, GE lost the bid, but the company decided not to take the decision lying down. The American firm turned to the Public Procurement Authority (Közbeszerzési Döntőbizottság), which ruled in GE’s favor. ÁEEK had to pay 50 million forints. Bence Rétvári, undersecretary in the ministry of human resources, subsequently denied that the procurement was rigged.

Ákos Hadházy addressing Viktor Orbán in Parliament / Source: ATV

The GE affair was the topic of Ákos Hadházy’s weekly corruption info. János Lázár seemed to agree with Hadházy that those who were involved in the case must be investigated. So, emboldened by Lázár’s reaction, Hadházy brought up the case in parliament yesterday when Viktor Orbán by house rules had to be present and was obliged to answer questions. Hadházy asked the prime minister who was right: János Lázár or Bence Rétvári. Orbán flew off the handle. He accused Hadházy of lobbying for GE. “A representative stands up in the Hungarian Parliament lobbying for a company. How much money did you receive for this? How dare you? How dare you lobby for a company in the Hungarian Parliament during an ongoing public procurement? Especially, on behalf of a foreign company. Now, I have been sitting here for many years, but I have not seen a case more corrupt than this, shame on you!” He also ordered an “investigation” of Hadházy right on the spot.

Hadházy doesn’t seem to be intimidated. He will sue Orbán for slander. Otherwise, he wrote a defiant note on his Facebook page in which he pointed out that Orbán, with his outburst, “kicked a three-meter self-goal” by calling attention to the fact that they want to steal billions from the “dying hospitals.” He said that Orbán’s claim of “an ongoing public procurement” is a lie since the Public Procurement Authority already closed the case. Otherwise, he is looking for the day when Orbán will have to apologize to him. Well, in his place I wouldn’t hold my breath.

October 10, 2017
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Ferenc
Guest

Watch Hadházy versus Orbán in parliament at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mi_4BnPyn_g
note: there are more vidoes of this up at youtube, but this one (by LMP) is the most complete

Ferenc
Guest

More about this case in Magyar Naranc titled “Hungary’s PM scored a smashing own goal in parliament”, actually the url says it even better “Hungary’s PM lost his mind and is even proud of that”.
http://magyarnarancs.hu/narancsblog/magyarorszag-miniszterelnokenek-elment-az-esze-es-meg-buszke-is-ra-106935
Another line: “There is no corruption here [in HU], just a lot of stupid people, who keep saying there is.”

wrfree
Guest

The comments show that there are some pretty upset Magyars with the ‘big O’. They are just but a small segment. Interesting if and when ‘everybody’ else also blows their top with the seemingly incessant revelations of corruption within the society.

Member

Won’t happen! The majority of Hungarians are not upset about corruption, they are upset when they don’t get a cut of it. I recently spoke to a 67-year-old cleaning lady who despises Fidesz, but is very proud of her friend’s (very sexy) daughter, who sells residency bonds to Turks and earns €2000 a month from an offshore company related to Rogan.
When I asked her how she could hate Fidesz, but support its criminals, she got really angry with me.
Most Hungarians have no sense of civic duty. They are only going to get upset about corruption when it directly screws them. They will not care about tax dollars being squandered. It’s not direct enough.

Guest

There’s an old Hungarian saying:
It’s only corruption when I’m not in it!
Sad but true for many people – corruption is a way of life.

wrfree
Guest

Looks as if citizens can balance themselves so far on the flying trapeze where they can without apparent difficulty take on and mull at least two completely incompatible ideas in their congealed brains. It seems at bottom ….a ‘no brainer’.

Beats me how long that can go on for without creating more and more a disabled and dysfunctional society which affects all types of relationships from the personal to the institutional. This would have to keep the sociologists and psychologists up all nights considering the consequences involved especially when it comes to the meaning of trust in that society.

For without trust imbuing relationships nothing meaningful nor good can occur out of that stance. It’s simply a prescription to continue a rapaciousness that eats away at the moral core of the society and engendering that sinking feeling of falling into an abyss.

Guest

Tomorrow I’ll take our friend again to that run down hospital in the woods …
Every time I wonder how the brave people working there (nurses, doctors, even the cleaners and repairmen – who have a lot to do …) manage every day – they don’t look happy.
As I’ve often said: Hungary is fifty years behind – and the country moves backwards in time like in a dystopian science fiction story!
Next week I’ll be in Germany for my pills and a checkup maybe – you can’t compare the two health systems, Hungary’s looks like an underdeveloped country …

wrfree
Guest

Re: ‘fifty years behind’

And the idyllic and wonderful olden Kadar days. VO as Kadar. Creating his own idylls of the past ‘bacsi’. Only difference. He doesn’t speak softly and he always carries a big stick. 😎

LwiiH
Guest

I don’t get this point of procedure, how can Hadhazy sue Orban for slander for something spoken in a house of parliament. Outside of the house, I get it but inside, liberal free speech *must* be tolerated or it can be used as a weapon to silence political critics. The procedural points have been used as a weapon by Fidesz where the speaker issues fines like a wicked school master issues licks to the hands of those that disobey… this system is so fundamentally broken, it’s a joke.

Istvan
Guest

Hadhazy’s slander litigation is delusional, it represents just frustration with the total control Fidesz now has and it’s obvious corruption. It is also understandable, if he is smart he will emigrate before he is imprisoned on some concocted charges. Putin would just have him killed, if he irritated him as much as Orban appears to be by his corruption attacks on Fidesz.

N.B L
Guest

When you have someone such as Ákos Hadházy in politics : a light remains that saves Hungary from being plunged into pitch darkness.

Member

Actually, we already saw a pretty hysterical Orbán a couple of weeks ago when a reporter asked him about the Őcsény incident (https://youtu.be/_lVZ90df7Y0) . The reason for his “restraint” is rather that he seldom exposes himself to interviews or questions from “outsiders”.

Ferenc
Guest

OT
Amnesty International’s Secretary General Salil Shetty addresses students at the Central European University in Hungary on 11 October 2017
Transcript of speech at https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2017/10/human-rights-and-the-new-patriotism-in-hungary/
Hope he’ll be interviewed by Hungarian media, and invited to parliament by opposition parties…

Ferenc
Guest

a quote: “The women, men and children caged on Hungary’s borders are some of the victims of the very worst horrors the 21st century has seen.”

Ferenc
Guest

Shetty: “When I visit Africa, Asia, South-America, to talk with leaders there, I get replies like, why we teach them, when we are not able to handle the situation with Hungary.”
In interview with 444 Shetty speaks a.o.about Lex NGO, Ahmed H, Ocseny & OV, and ‘the fence’.
https://444.hu/2017/10/12/elmegyek-afrikaba-es-azt-hallom-hogy-miert-oket-oktatjuk-mikor-a-magyarorszagi-helyzettel-sem-tudunk-mit-kezdeni

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