Hungarian Fidesz MEP József Szájer resigned from his EP mandate last weekend. Two days later, it turned out that the politician attended an illegal sex party in Brussels, with drugs involved. Yesterday, Szájer apologized for irresponsibly taking part in an illegal event during lockdown. Since then, opposition political parties and politicians spoke on the matter on social media, condemning Fidesz for propagating Christian-conservative values with scandals in the background. Fidesz has only briefly commented on the Szájer case, but some of their politicians already shared some words with the press on the matter. UPDATE: József Szájer quit Fidesz.
József Szájer, Fidesz MEP and founding member of the party, resigned from his EP mandate on November 29th, saying that participating in the daily political struggle had been “an increasing mental strain” on him for some time. However, two days later it turned out that prior to his resignation, he had attended a sex party in Brussels that had been disbanded by the police due to restrictions imposed by the epidemic. Drugs were also found at the party. On Tuesday, Szájer admitted in a statement that he was present at the “house party” but claimed he had not used drugs.
Opposition parties: Complete moral bankruptcy of Fidesz
Hungarian parties and politicians also reacted to the Szájer scandal on social media. The Democratic Coalition (DK) wrote on its official Facebook page about the case, saying “first Borkai, now Szájer. Fidesz seems to be like that: they go to group sex orgies with drugs involved, while their wives and children are waiting for them at home.” The leader of the party, former PM Ferenc Gyurcsány, shared Fidesz’s post from November 29th on his Facebook page, in which the ruling party thanked József Szájer for his work, after resigning from his EP mandate. According to Fidesz’s Sunday post, “Szájer played a crucial role in enabling Hungarian civil conservatism and Christian democracy to take its rightful place in European politics.” Gyurcsány emphasized that “the crucial role is right.” DK has called on ruling Fidesz to expel Szájer from the party’s ranks with immediate effect.
Jobbik also shared the same Fidesz post, captioning it with the hashtags “orgy, drugs, prostitutes.” Jobbik MEP Márton Gyöngyösi wrote that “it was revealed of another Fidesz member in a disgraceful way that he does not consider obligatory the Christian-conservative morals mentioned by his party all the time.” Jobbik called for the regular mandatory drug testing of all MPs and also announced that a group of the party’s lawmakers were drafting a bill that also contains provisions on penalties to be levied for refusing testing or for an instance of a positive drug test and its MPs will be the first to subject themselves to a drug test. Jobbik called on Fidesz-KDNP lawmakers to back the bill in a vote.
The Momentum Movement said that “the scandal of József Szájer is the complete moral bankruptcy of Fidesz!” The party finds it unacceptable that “when the number of victims of the coronavirus increases more and more every day and severe restrictions are needed across Europe to protect human lives, a politician thinks he is above the law (…).
They added that “this is not the first time that Fidesz’s hypocrisy has been revealed: cocaine abuse in a party that wants to solve the drug problem with draconian rigor. Yacht trips with prostitutes in a party that talks about the sanctity of the family and the superiority of the Christian life. Participation in an illegal orgy under strict restrictions as a representative of a party that has done nothing for months to prepare the country for the second wave of the virus. These examples show that Fidesz has nothing to do with the Christian-conservative value system, they just wrap systemic theft of public funds and unbridled concentration of power in it.”
The Socialists (MSZP) reacted to the scandal with only a few names: “The real family policy of Fidesz: Zsolt Borkai, Gábor Kaleta, József Szájer,” the party said in a statement. Their MEP, István Ujhelyi, wrote on Facebook that “The essence of the system is lying.”
The LMP also issued a statement after the news came out. Erzsébet Schmuck, co-chair of the LMP wrote that “the Szájer scandal points out that it would be time for Fidesz to clarify how well an MEP fleeing through the eaves during the epidemic fits into the false image of themselves? How important is the Christian family model they have so often voiced, to follow the rules, to accept LGBTQ people to them? Fidesz is also forcing its own people to live in lies. It must end!”
EU Adviser to the Dialogue (Párbeszéd), Benedek Jávor, wrote on Facebook that for a second he overthought the Szájer case: “for a moment, I assumed that there was a political strategy, a vision, conflicting values and ideas in Fidesz about the future of Hungary and the EU, and the conflicts that stretched along them. But it turned out that there are only drugs, gangbang parties, boys-girls, yachts, Ibiza, and dirty money. The so-called Christian national policy, with migrants, Soros, the struggle for freedom, and everything else, is nothing more than the financing of these. The veto of the EU budget only seeks to remove obstacles to the smooth flow of EU taxpayers’ money into the pockets of pimps and dealers.”
Előd Novák, vice-president of the far-right Mi Hazánk Movement (whose wife, Dóra Dúró, made headlines a few weeks ago after ripping up a children’s tale book for, according to her belief, containing “homosexual propaganda”) wrote on his Facebook page that “it has been proven once again that Fidesz is in fact a pseudo-Christian, pseudo-national party, showing itself as a right-wing party not for the welfare of the Hungarian people but for its own power.”
Gábor Vona, Jobbik’s former president and Prime Minister candidate in 2018 and the victim of the pro-government media’s false homosexual charges, was more modest with his comments than any of the opposition parties. Vona, who left the world of politics after their “defeat” in the 2018 general elections, wrote to his 500,000 followers on Facebook that now it would be tempting for him to “take revenge” for the lies against him, but it is not his style. He wrote he is almost sure that one of the European country’s secret servicies “hunted down” Szájer due to the Orbán government vetoing the EU budget and rescue package. Vona believes that this scandal will affect the “freedom fight” of Hungary and Poland against the EU. He also adds that in line with the opposition parties’ way of thinking, this recent case seriously conflicts with those conservative values and family policy Fidesz propagates, especially since Szájer was the author of the new constitution.
Fidesz: ‘Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.’
Fidesz’s EP group has only briefly commented on the scandal. In their statement, they wrote that “József Szájer made the right decision when he resigned as a Member of the European Parliament. He made the only right decision. We acknowledge his decision, just as we acknowledge that he has apologized to his family, his political community, and to the voters.”
Reporters from Hungarian news portal Telex went to the office of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán early on Wednesday morning to ask the members of the government who arrived at the usual morning government meeting what they had to say about the József Szájer scandal. They were only able to speak to two members of the government before the building was cordoned off.
Justice Minister Judit Varga replied, probably referring to the resignation of the politician that József Szájer made the only right decision in this situation. Varga did not comment on the question whether the case will weaken the position of the Hungarian government in the rule of law debate in Brussels. However, a few minutes later, the minister posted on her Facebook page from the building, saying “we can’t lose sight of the goal even if they try to distract us: we represent the interests of the Hungarian people in Brussels, if necessary, even against Brussels!”
Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén, president of the co-ruling Christian Democrats (KDNP), only stated to reporters: “Why should I say anything about this?”
Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó spoke about the matter at a press conference earlier. He said he did not know more about the scandal of József Szájer than what could be read in the press. When the politician resigned, Szijjártó was not yet aware that the sex party disbanded by the police might have been behind the decision. Therefore, he said he would not even speculate as to whether the scandal could have an effect on the debate on the EU budget and the rule of law condition.
Balázs Hidvéghi, another MEP of the Fidesz-KDNP, spoke about the scandal on Kossuth Radio on Wednesday morning. He said he “heard the news with shock and sadness,” then added that he appreciates and respects the political activity of József Szájer, because he thinks he has done an outstanding job, which his opponents also acknowledge. The Fidesz politician said “He’s a fallible man. ‘Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.’”
József Szájer, who on Sunday suddenly announced his resignation as a member of the European Parliament, on Wednesday quit the Fidesz party, pro-government Magyar Nemzet reported. Reacting to this, PM Viktor Orbán said that “After what happened, he made the only right decision.”
featured photo: Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI