In an unprecedentedly harsh attack on an incumbent member of the right-wing government, the leading pro-government daily urges the newly appointed Minister of National Development to step down, after evidence of past tax evasion and favouritism was revealed by the media.
Miklós Seszták was appointed Minister of National Development this summer and proceeded immediately to replace leading officials appointed under his predecessor, Zsuzsa Németh. She was depicted by pro-opposition media as a faithful ally of former Fidesz treasurer Lajos Simicska. In a previous, surprisingly critical editorial, Magyar Nemzet condemned the newly introduced tax on media advertisements as endangering press freedom /, and some media speculated that a feud was underway between the Prime Minister and Mr Simicska, who is believed to be the ultimate owner behind Magyar Nemzet. Népszabadság believes however that the controversy is being contained by both sides.
In his Magyar Nemzet editorial, deputy editor Péter Csermely deems it inadmissible for the government to have a man with a questionable moral background among its cabinet ministers. He quotes press reports about Mr Seszták having run an off-shore company and setting up scores of hollow companies as a lawyer in Kisvárda, eastern Hungary. The Minister is also suspected of favouritism in gaining access to EU funds. Csermely suggests that while all this may well be legal, “it appears nonetheless to witness massive abuse”. He argues that such behaviour was the rule under past Socialist governments, and that is precisely why the electorate opted for Fidesz in successive elections since 2010. In a hint at the Prime Ministers speech on Saturday (See BudaPost. July 29 and 30) Csermely says “yes” to the idea of a “labour-based society”, but “no” to one “based on acolytes”.