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Convicted Leader of Hungarian Progressives Refuses to Resign

Dániel Deme 2024.02.15.
MP András Fekete-Győr (on top) during an earlier demonstration

The astonishing lack of accountability that characterizes Hungary’s radical left-wing student movement Momentum was revealed yesterday during a demonstration held near the prime minister’s resident in Budapest. Among the speakers was Momentum’s leader, András Fekete-Győr, who was convicted of violence against a public official by a court just this week on Monday.

The far-left activist, Fekete-Győr, was sentenced to a year on probation for throwing a smoke grenade at police officers during a violent demonstration in 2018. Despite the serious sentencing, the Momentum party leader refuses to resign his parliamentary mandate, nor is he willing to take a back-seat in his own party. People associated with him argue that the convicted progressive politician intends to appeal his sentence, and that is why he is keeping his parliamentary mandate.

The irony is that it was Fekete-Győr and his colleagues from Momentum who stood behind most of the demonstrations against President Katalin Novák in connection with the controversial amnesty she granted last year to a person involved in a child abuse case. They have demanded President Novak’s, and former Justice Minister, Judit Varga’s resignation in the name of political accountability. Last weekend, both politicians resigned, yet it would appear that the Hungarian liberals have different standards as far as government politicians are concerned on the one hand, and themselves on the other.

Fekete-Győr’s refusal to take responsibility for being convicted of a violent crime is all the more disturbing, as he seems to be equally tone-deaf to the basic principles guiding a democratic political culture: on Wednesday he was seen leading a Momentum demonstration in front of the prime minister’s residence at Buda Castle and giving a speech to a small group of his followers. In his address he said, “let us talk about child protection straight and openly. It is a systemic problem in Hungary today. We are organizing street demonstrations across the country to raise awareness of this issue.”

Apart from the fact that he is clearly exploiting the amnesty-scandal for his own political goals, the Momentum politician’s hypocrisy of pinning child-protection on his party’s banner is astonishing.

Momentum MPs have to date, opposed every single child protection measure that the government introduced in the last few years, including the amendments to the Child Protection act introduced last year.

Furthermore, Momentum’s MEPs in Brussels have publicly criticized the government’s child protection measure and have joined forces with the European left in voting for withholding European funds from Hungary in relation to measures introduced against child abuse and LGBTQ propaganda in schools.

Constitutional lawyer and pro-government publicist Zoltán Lomnici Jr. told the Hungarian daily Magyar Nemzet that Fekete-Győr had become morally unworthy to participate in public affairs. The lawyer said that a person who commits violence against a public official is punishable by imprisonment for two to eight years. In Lomnici’s view, in the light of the extreme left-wing attacks in Hungary, it is particularly important that such acts, which are dangerous to society and directed against public officials, do not go unpunished. Lomnici also drew attention to the fact that under the Act on the National Assembly, a member of parliament who has been convicted of a criminal offense during his term of office must declare a conflict of interest, and consequently cease to hold office. In the latter case, the mandate of the member shall be terminated with immediate effect.

Since the resignation of president Novák over the weekend, the scandalous behavior of the Hungarian radical left was not only limited to the Momentum leader. Numerous public and media personalities have been criticized for making offensive and duplicitous statements against parties involved in the amnesty-scandal.

Chief among them was András Arató, editor and publicist at Klub Radio, who called President Novák and Former Justice minister Varga “whores.”

Although he was later forced to apologize and his article was removed from the Radio’s website, women’s rights organizations have condemned the far-left journalist for his offensive and scandalous remarks. Klub Radio, known for the extreme Hungarophobic views of some of its hosts and guests, has been in the center of Brussels’ punitive measures against Hungary for years after being taken off-air by the media regulator for breaking programming rules. It is still available online.

President's Resignation: Hungarian Democracy is Resilient
President's Resignation: Hungarian Democracy is Resilient

Hungary's child protection efforts point beyond any single person and will continue unabated.Continue reading

Featured photo: Facebook András Fekete-Győr

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