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Former Socialist-Liberal government spent 17 billion on advisers

December 8th, 2012

A conservative columnist suggests that the Socialist-Liberal coalition clearly channeled billions in public funds to friendly research firms.

In October, Heti Világgazdaság revealed that the Orbán government paid 1 billion Forints to the conservative think tank Századvég for several surveys and studies, and committed another 3 billion until 2014. The left liberal weekly has also acquired the figures for the 2006-2010 period. According to the registries of the Ministry of National Development, the former Socialist-Liberal governments led by Ferenc Gyurcsány and his successor, Gordon Bajnai, paid the total amount of 17 billion Forints for opinion polls, financial and economic analyses. Szonda Ipsos and Medián, the two leading pollster companies were contracted for 1,29 billion and 716 million Forints respectively, while the liberal Political Capital research and consulting company was paid 432 million Forints. The former Socialist government ordered services from credit rating agencies for 2,4 billion Forints. Magyar Nemzet reported that several of the those companies were led by former Socialist and Liberal personalities (including András Simor, now Chairman of the Central Bank, Csaba László, former MSZP Finance Minister and János Kóka, former SZDSZ party chairman, while Medián’s chief researcher at that time was Gergely Karácsony, currently an LMP MP. Political Capital in 2010 cooperated with MDF, a former patriotic right-wing party turned conservative-libertarian before the 2010 election.

The excessive amount of money paid for external expertise shows that the governments led by Gyurcsány and Bajnai were interested in outsourcing their tasks to friends, rather than making the public sector more efficient, Anna Szabó writes in Magyar Nemzet. The conservative columnist notes that many of those projects were cut into several pieces in order to avoid tendering, and so the companies led by close friends could be contracted without publicly announcing the assignments. By taking an in-depth look at the list of the involved contractors, one has the impression that the wide left-wing coalition dreamt of by the opposition parties hoping to replace Fidesz in 2014, was already successfully set up years ago, Szabó remarks sarcastically.

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