The Fidesz governing party has spent some HUF 3.1 billion (EUR 8.4 million) on billboard campaigns in March, while the opposition only HUF 390 million (EUR 1.1 million), corruption watchdogs K-Monitor and Transparency International, and leftist-liberal think tank Political Capital report. The pro-government side has even exceeded the spending limit set by law, if you add in the clearly pro-party ads of a pro-Fidesz, publicly-funded organization and the government’s advertisements which also share Fidesz-KDNP’s messages.
This difference in the financial means was manifested by the fact that while the opposition had the chance to advertise on 1,564 billboards, the ruling side’s messages appeared on roughly 12,171 posters. Out of this HUF 3 billion:
- Fidesz-KDNP spent HUF 1.43 billion
- Publicly-funded, pro-Fidesz Civil Cooperation Forum a.k.a. CÖF (the organizers of pro-Fidesz demo Peace March) spent some HUF 632.5 million
- The government itself spent HUF 1.35 billion.
As a matter of fact, the spendings on the Fidesz-KDNP side are some three times more than the spending limit set by law.
How is this possible? Due to the “shortcomings of the regulation,” according to the explanation of the NGOs. In addition to the public advertisements published by Fidesz, campaigns conducted by the Civil Cooperation Forum a.k.a. CÖF and the government’s “propaganda,” similarly campaigning for the ruling party, are included too.
And since a 2018 amendment to the Electoral Procedures Act, voted in by the Fidesz-KDNP majority, which separates the government’s “public information activities” from election campaigning, neither the government, nor did CÖF effectively violate the law. However, they explain that this phenomenon indicates that Fidesz has not given up on outsourcing some of its campaign activities.
Spending of small parties
The satirical, government-critical Two Tailed Dog Party (MKKP), has claimed only one billboard, investing some HUF 120,000 (EUR 324) for it. According to the message: “Zita is a woman, Robi is a man, the dog is a parrot” (it is probably mocking Fidesz’s controversial change to the Fundamental Law, that said that “The father is a man, the mother is a woman”).
Far-right Mi Hazánk has paid some HUF 78.5 million (EUR 212,000) for 380 billboards.
Porn tycoon György Gattyán’s Solution Movement (MeMo) claimed 203 billboards, costing HUF 64.5 million (EUR 174,000) in total.
featured image via Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI