A month and a half after Hungary’s parliamentary elections, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán discussed the formation of his cabinet with future ministers on Wednesday. According to press reports, ministries will be restructured and new faces will also appear in the new cabinet. There will certainly be five new people in the government who were not ministers in the previous Orbán government.
This article was originally published on our sister-site, Ungarn Heute. Translated by Júlia Tar.
“Consultation about the new government,” read Viktor Orbán’s caption under a photo with the new ministers on his Facebook page.
The Prime Minister had already stated in a radio interview in early May that he was considering a new government structure. He told state-run Kossuth Radio on May 6 that “Christian Democratic national governments come together by trying to understand what challenges await us in the next four years.” Orbán mentioned the migration crisis, the pandemic, and war, among other issues.
So a dangerous world surrounds us now. These dangers are occurring together. It is necessary to form a government capable of protecting Hungary from these dangers.”
At the time of this interview, however, discussions with potential new members of the government were still underway. As the PM put it:
[…] now a new story begins, and this work is not employment, but vocation and service, and according to what challenges come, you then have to serve the homeland according to the answers you have to give to them. Therefore, I would like to transform the structure of the government in a significant way. We are setting ourselves up in a very different governmental or ministerial structure than voters have been able to get to know in the past.”
Orbán called these changes, both structural and personal, “profound” and set the end of May as a possible date for the formation of the new cabinet.
New names and new ministries
As we reported yesterday, Viktor Orbán shared a photo on his Facebook page suggesting that several new names will appear in the fifth Orbán government- among them, Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky. He was the ambassador of Hungary to the United Kingdom, his wife is the government spokeswoman Alexandra Szentkirályi (Szalay-Bobrovniczky). He is to take over the Defense Ministry, according to press reports. One returnee is considered to be former Chancellery Minister, ex-mayor of Hódmezővásárhely, János Lázár. He could head the Ministry of Regional Development, while the other minister, former Justice Minister Tibor Navracsics, is expected to be in charge of EU affairs.
Other new faces – probably in the economic sphere – include Márton Nagy, former vice president of the Hungarian Central Bank (MNB) who was an economic advisor to Orbán, and János Csák, former ambassador and chairman of the board of major state-owned companies.
In addition to healthcare, public education could be placed under the Ministry of the Interior, while local government functions would be assigned to the Prime Minister’s Office.
The Ministry of Human Affairs and Innovation (family policy, research, science, education, child welfare) is to be separate from the future Ministry of Industry and Technology.
Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó and Finance Minister Mihály Varga will remain in the government, while János Süli, who was in charge of the Paks project (expansion of Hungary’s nuclear power plant), and Andrea Mager, the minister without portfolio in charge of managing national assets, on the other hand, will not be part of the new government. According to the opposition ATV television channel, Süli’s tasks (Paks expansion) would probably be transferred to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, while the management of national assets will probably go to a successor to the Innovation Ministry, the newly created Industry Ministry, headed by László Palkovics.
Justice Minister Judit Varga, Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office Gergely Gulyás, Innovation Minister László Palkovics, Interior Minister Sándor Pintér, the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff Antal Rogán, and Agriculture Minister Istvány Nagy also remain in the new cabinet, as does Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén.
Viktor Orbán is expected to take his oath in Parliament on May 16, and then it will take about seven to eight days for him to introduce the members of the government to the members of Parliament at the next session of Parliament sometime between May 20 and May 30.
Featured image via Vivien Cher Benko/Prime Minister’s Press Office/MTI