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The Wittner-case

October 29th, 2011

Népszava defends right wing MP Mária Wittner, a fighter in the ’56 revolution, who was verbally attacked by a left wing activist. 

Fidesz MP Mária Wittner was condemned to death for taking part in the revolution. Her sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment, and she was finally amnestied in 1970. Her latest, well-publicised initiative is a proposal to slash the old age pensions of former leading communist officials. Péter Dániel, (a lawyer and supporter of former PM Ferenc Gyurcsány, as well as a founding member of his new party) alleged on Facebook that Ms Wittner had desecrated the corpse of a soldier lynched in October 1956, and also accused her of having been “a cheap prostitute” in that period. Historians have confuted these allegations, and Ms Wittner has said she will sue Mr Dániel for slander.

The new Fidesz spokeswoman, Gabriella Selmeczi said the incident showed what Mr Gyurcsány’s new party really stood for, in connection with 1956. Péter Dániel gained a reputation as a somewhat eccentric activist when he defaced a copy of the Political Declaration on National Cooperation which was put up in public offices after Fidesz came to power in 2010. He also smeared one of the “Tables of the Constitution” set up in local council buildings for citizens who want to study the new Fundamental Law that will come into force on January the 1st 2012.

“Mária Wittner has never expressed a single thought which I would agree with,” – editor Péter Németh begins his column in Népszava. Furthermore, he believes that Mária Wittner is unfit for any political position and only became an MP because PM Viktor Orbán wanted to make a gesture to the far right. Németh, nevertheless, stands firmly by her side in this case.

“She does not play a major role in Parliament, and is only active when there is a need to overtake Jobbik,” – the editor of the left wing daily notes, admitting that Prime Minister Orbán is keen to keep her in check.

“But whatever Mária Wittner’s role in the present, there is no reason to abuse her past. Péter Dániel must acknowledge this, and he should apologise. Not to the political right, nor to Fidesz, but to that elderly woman,” – Péter Németh writes in Népszava.