Domestic Politics

Opposition Socialists Accuse Ruling Fidesz Of Nationwide Billboard Cheating During 2010 Elections

According to the opposition Socialist party (MSZP), the ruling Fidesz party paid well below the market rate for outdoor advertising during the 2010 general election campaign.

Fidesz bought space on 4,700 billboards nationwide and spent 98 million forints (EUR 318,000) when the real cost should have been 1 billion forints calculated at current rates, Socialist press chief István Nyakó told a press conference on Wednesday.

Moreover, the ruling party claimed in official documentation that it had paid just 36 million forints, Nyakó said. Fidesz paid media magnate Lajos Simicska a much lower price than radical nationalist Jobbik paid for billboards in its recent anti-government campaign, he added. Simicska at the time had a key role in the Fidesz party and now supports Jobbik. Fidesz has accused Jobbik of colluding with Simicska and buying ad space at a reduced price. Jobbik has denied the charge.

Fidesz in response said that the Socialists “must be in great despair” if they are still occupied with scrutinising the outcome of the 2010 elections. If the party is serious about making campaign financing more transparent, it should “come clean” and explain how much money it had acquired through the alleged 3 billion forint tax fraud committed by one of its municipal representatives and lawyer, Csaba Czeglédy, through Budapest’s fourth metro construction project and funds received from US billionaire George Soros, Fidesz said in a statement.

Two weeks ago, lawmakers of the ruling Fidesz-KDNP alliance passed a rather controversial bill in Hungarian Parliament to tighten regulations on political billboard advertising in Hungary. In Hungarian media, the bill is widely seen as an attempt to set back Jobbik’s anti-government election campaign.

via hungarymatters.hu and MTI; featured photo: András Bánkuti (hvg.hu)