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Márki-Zay Publishes Campaign Spending and Family Asset Declarations in Wake of Accusations

Hungary Today 2022.02.04.

The opposition alliance’s PM candidate, Péter Márki-Zay, published his campaign spending along with his and his family’s asset declarations in response to the pro-Fidesz media’s accusations about his spending on social media. Up until November, he received some HUF 58.8 million in donations and spent roughly HUF 50 million on social media. It stays well below some of pro-Fidesz influencers’ similar spending.

Between the beginning of 2020 and November 2021, he had received around HUF 58.8 million (EUR 166,500) in donations, of which HUF 49.8 million was spent on the campaign.

The incumbent mayor of Hódmezővásárhely explained that these accounts primarily cover two rounds of the primaries, but additionally includes damage fees and legal costs.

Over this period, he received some HUF 18.3 million (EUR 51,800) in cash donations, ranging from HUF 1,000 to 500,000. These are listed as “anonymous letter donations” in his chart.

In addition, he also published his family’s asset declaration (he has seven children in total), even those of the two daughters of his, who already live separately with their own families.

Pro-Fidesz media: Facebook spending unaccounted for in asset declaration

He published this data after pro-government weekly Mandiner questioned the funding of his campaign on social media, in the wake of the publication of Márki-Zay’s asset declaration on Monday.

The site highlighted that the politician (with his name, according to Facebook’s ad space) spent some HUF 49.9 million on Facebook until now, while his asset declaration shows he would jot have been financially able to do so, and his campaign spending was not available on his site at the time.

The issue has been brought up at the PMO head’s press briefing too. Fidesz’s Gergely Gulyás claimed that Márki-Zay made a mistake, as according to his legal knowledge, he should have accounted for his social media spending in his asset declaration.

Márki-Zay: My political movement MMM financed the ads

According to Márki-Zay’s explanation, although he listed his own name as the ads’ financier, it was not him who financed it but was paid primarily from the funding of his Everybody’s Hungary Movement (MMM), through donations.

Now, in his accompanying message and in response to criticism, Márki-Zay wrote: “It is time for Hungary to be led by fair, honest, and sincere people.

In Fidesz’s system, it is accepted that the country’s prime minister lies, alleging he is penniless, denying that he owns the former archduke castle in Hatvanpuszta and rather signing it over to some else’s name; flying to football matches on private jets; his son-in-law becomes a billionaire bank owner in a few years; and his gas-fitter is amassing more wealth in four years out of nothing than the British royal family has collected in centuries.”

He explains that hopefully “this example of transparency will be contagious and that we will establish a new political culture in our country.” He also expressed his thanks for the donations, without which “he could not have won two elections in Hódmezővásárhely,” and asks for further donations.

Fidesz’s Megafon still in other league when it comes to social media spending

To put the amount of Márki-Zay’s campaign spending into context, this HUF 50 million is still a lot less than just one of the protegees of Megafon, a “center” officially set to spread “conservative” messages on social media, but in reality only spreading ruling Fidesz’s messages in varying contexts. Only Philip Rákay, who recently received a record amount for his Petőfi-themed movie despite his lack of experience in artistic productions, spent over HUF 82 million (EUR 232,000) on social media, which is much more than Márki-Zay’s spending.

Hungarian NGOs, Opposition Parties Call for Reform of Asset Declaration Regulation
Hungarian NGOs, Opposition Parties Call for Reform of Asset Declaration Regulation

The loophole of simply rewriting the document gives complete legal security to politicians.Continue reading

In fact, Megafon (whose funding comes from unknown sources- according to them, from donations) as a whole has invested some HUF 600 million (EUR 1.7 million) in total until mid-January, just to social media campaigns. And this doesn’t include the Fidesz politicians’ spending on social media, regularly topping the comparisons, while Fidesz’s official Facebook page has spent some HUF 328 million (EUR 929,000) on Facebook alone from April, 2019.

featured photo via Péter Márki-Zay’s Facebook page

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