Fidesz-KDNP members of the Parliament’s Committee on Justice eventually voted down the proposal that many grew to dub as “Lex Szijjártó.” After the Foreign Minister’s controversial luxury yacht trip, independent MP Bernadett Szél sought to exclude those businessmen who give luxury gifts to government members from public bids.
According to the proposal initiated by independent MP Bernadett Szél (formerly the leader of green party LMP), businessmen giving luxury gifts to government members would be excluded from public bids for five years. In addition, such “gifts” (if their value surpasses a quarter of their parliamentary base salary) should be listed in asset declarations even if they were received as a ‘private person.’ In addition, according to Szél’s initiative, the law would apply to leaders of state firms as well.
The proposal was inspired by the Foreign Minister’s controversial holiday trip on government-ally billionaire László Szíjj’s luxury yacht in August, revealed by investigative site Átlátszó. Péter Szijjártó consistently rebuffed questions about the trip arguing them using “private” and “family matters,” emphasizing that his “compliance with the law is not a seasonal issue, I can assure everyone I respect the law both in my public and private life.” However, many still think he should offer an explanation as Szíjj regularly wins large-scale state tenders, while Szijjártó couldn’t afford the trip according to his asset declaration.
First it was Jobbik MP János Stummer to turn to the Committee of Immunity in order to launch an asset declaration procedure against the Minister. The Committee, however, swept it off the table saying that Stummer failed to specify what was missed in Szijjártó’s asset declaration.
In addition, charges have also been filed anonymously against Szijjártó; however, the General Prosecutor’s Office, led by former Fidesz member Péter Polt dismissed the denouncement.
Moreover, soon after Szél’s announcement, Fidesz-KDNP initiated another amendment, which made independent MPs’ jobs (such as that of Szabolcs Szabó and Ákos Hadházy, both loud critics of the government) more difficult, something that they clearly attributed to the initiation of ‘Lex Szijjártó’ and labeled as deprivation of their rights. According to an amendment voted in in October, independent MPs can only present proposals if a group leader provides written support for them.
According to Szél, it happened that both of her proposals (this one and the one on the general suspension of evictions) were discussed successively, but Fidesz voted down both. This means that
“they turned their backs on debtors in trouble, families threatened with the loss of their homes, but [they] carefully protected the oligarchs tapping into public money and the country’s richest people from being left without state tenders [worth] billions (…).”
featured image via Péter Szijjártó’s Facebook page