Old Leftist Politicians Back after Opposition Win in Budapest
Ábrahám Vass 2019.11.11.
While Gergely Karácsony and Budapest’s new opposition leadership brought in a number of new-comers and fresh faces, many of the old MSZP-SZDSZ -era also managed to come back close to power in Budapest, and are on the receiving end of important and well-paying positions in City Hall and public-owned companies.
As government-critical Index showed, the Socialists (MSZP), Democratic Coalition (DK), and Momentum are those who are on the winning side with most positions proportionally. While Momentum rather trusts fresh-comers, the former two, while cooperating a lot between each other for the posts, tend to bring back old faces and politicians, among them a number of controversial ones of the times preceding 2010.
5th district’s mayoral candidate Kata Tüttő has been appointed one of Gergely Karácsony’s deputies. She was criticized a lot because of her former partner, billionaire Tamás Leisztinger, who was allegedly involved in suspicious downtown property transactions.
Zsófia Havas, the niece of former Socialist PM Gyula Horn, who was famed for controversial statements regarding 1956, has also been appointed to the Human Resources and Foreign Affairs Committee.
A top name returning from the MSZP-SZDSZ -era is definitely Tibor Draskovics, who served as Minister of Finance between 2004 and 2005, and as Minister of Justice and Law Enforcement between 2008 and 2009. His appointment to the president of the governing body of the Center for Budapest Transport (BKK) also surprised many because he remained low-key over the previous years.
MSZP’s Gergő Czeglédy has also made it to BKK’s Supervisory Board. Independent MP Ákos Hadházy once claimed that thanks to his cooperation with NER (Fidesz’s System of National Cooperation) businessmen, he gained worthy state orders. His government relations were also confirmed by investigative site Direkt36.
Tamás Katona, MSZP’s former party director and former state secretary at the finance ministry in a time when Hungary’s budget deficit and state debt was up in the air, has been appointed to the supervisory board of the Budapest Transport Company (BKV).
János Atkári has been appointed to the presidency of Budapest Sewage Works (FCSM). He was deputy mayor, chief of staff, and press officer of former Budapest mayor of SZDSZ Gábor Demszky’s. Interestingly, from 2010 until 2012 he was also a chief adviser to then-mayor István Tarlós.
DK’s Zoltán Szabó, a former state secretary, mayor of 7th district’s and MSZP MP between 1994 and 2010 has also made it to FCSM’s supervisory board.
Imre Lakos was also an important figure of the Demszky-era, a former president of SZDSZ’s Budapest branch and former deputy mayor of the 11th district (Újbuda), has been appointed the Budapest City Operations Holding’s (BVH) presidency. Earlier, he was accused of abuse of office but was eventually acquitted.
One of the government spokespersons of the Socialist-liberal era, J. Zoltán Gál also made it to the BVH’s presidency. Recently, he led Karácsony’s electoral campaign and had served beforehand as the Gyurcsány government’s chief of staff and state secretary.
Csaba Tordai’s appearance is an interesting one too. A constitutional lawyer, he served as a state secretary both in the Gyurcsány and Bajnai cabinet. He is one of the founders of investigative site Átlátszó, which he will now leave and sell his share. He will be part of the Budapest Property Management Company’s governing board.
Likewise to István Kolber, who started off his career in the communist party before the system change and who was the development minister of Gyurcsány’s cabinet.
In the featured photo: the new leadership of Budapest. From left to right: Erzsébet Németh Gy, Kata Tüttő, Ambrus Kiss, Mayor Gergely Karácsony, deputy notary Mónika Bárdon Benda, Dávid Dorosz, and Gábor Kerpel-Fronius. Photo by Zoltán Balogh/MTI