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Orbán Dismisses Corruption Claims

MTI-Hungary Today 2019.01.11.

Answering a journalist’s question concerning the level of corruption in Hungary, PM Viktor Orbán said there was no acceptable level of corruption and there was zero tolerance of it. He said “the fact that Hungary is performing better each year” belied the assertion that corruption in Hungary was above the European average. He said that the most stringent law on lawmakers’ asset declarations in Europe was in force in Hungary.

Asked about the new right-wing media foundation operating in Hungary, Orbán insisted that it was a “fact” that the dominant media in Hungary today was controlled by leftist, liberal, anti-government forces. He insisted that the biggest television station, the largest-circulation weekly, the largest internet platform and “perhaps even the largest national political newspaper”, is critical of the government and left-wing or liberal, he said. “There are more of you against me than with me,” he told the journalist.

Commenting on the opposition campaign at the headquarters of public media company MTVA in December, the prime minister said MPs did not stand above the law but they had the right to go to any public institution asking for information. “They do not have the right, however, to disrupt its operations and to decide what is read out and what is not.”

Orbán said everyone had the right to demonstrate and go on strike but breaking the law could not be permitted. He said no one should resort to violence and he added that he was worried that MPs would use physical force to disbar the speaker from accessing his podium.

Orbán said he was observing current protests and he understood that they disagreed with the government on many issues, but these had been debated and “no one should question the fact that in a democracy, the majority in parliament makes the decisions”.

Commenting on the move to the Buda Castle district of the cabinet office, the PM said that the housing of the executive in the building of the legislature in Hungary was a legacy of the Communist regime and “it’s good to finally rid ourselves of it”. The symbol of the thousand-year-old Hungarian statehood is in the Castle and the symbol of Hungarian democracy is Kossuth Square, he added.

In reply to another question that Europe’s political values were liberal in spirit, he said this era had come to an end and a whole range of issues had come to the fore and many people disagreed with the media’s representation of them. “Hopefully, power relations will change within the media, too,” he said.

featured image via MTI/Szilárd Koszticsák