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Ex PM under investigation

May 1st, 2011

Viktor Orbán has lost his marbles”, according to Zsolt Gréczy, an aid to former Socialist Premier Ferenc Gyurcsány. In his blog on Stop.hu he accuses the Prime Minister of having instructed the Chief Prosecutor to ask Parliament to suspend Mr Gyurcsány’s immunity.

The former Prime Minister is suspected of having abused of his power while in office, in order to promote the Sukoro casino project near Lake Velence, half an hour’s drive southwest of Budapest. According to Gréczy the project would have created thousands of jobs and yielded high tax revenues. But then it was scrapped, and the real reason for the criminal investigation is to be found “in Orbán’s steeply declining popularity,” according to Gréczy. “Hunger revolts are at hand, scores of schools will be shut down, prices are soaring, unemployment is hitting record levels…And we are back to the Nineteen Fifties, and australians online casinos the era of show trials.”

Blikk, Hungary’s best-selling tabloid daily carries interviews with two political analysts. Attila Juhász (a research fellow at the liberal Political Capital Institute) believes that whether the charges against Gyurcsány stand or not, the governing party Fidesz will find itself in an awkward position, either because Mr Orbán’s chief rival will be proven innocent, or because he will appear as a victim. Either way, Orban loses, Juhász concludes.

Orsolya Szomszéd, an expert at the conservative Nézőpont Institute, comments that right wing voters would feel deeply deceived if the current government does not even try to bring some leading politicians of the former administration to justice (for having run what they believe was a system of entrenched and widespread corruption).

The leading left wing daily Népszabadság suggests that the right wing majority would do better not to put Mr Gyurcsány on trial. “The prosecutor submitted his request just three weeks before the matter would have been dismissed under the statute of limitations. That in itself is no sufficient reason to reject it. But the affair will now be presented by Gyurcsány to the world as proof of the authoritarian nature of the current régime. And what is more important, the investigation is the result of a denunciation by Mr András Schiffer, leader of the green LMP party… This means the judiciary is under pressure to wage a political struggle. Or at least will be suspected of doing so.”

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