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Leading Socialists reject Őszöd leak charge

May 25th, 2013

A leading left wing commentator does not dismiss the story that former Prime Minister Gyurcsány’s 2006 “lie speech” was leaked by three leading MSZP politicians, but thinks that regardless of who it was, the speech itself has left an unhealing wound on Hungary’s left wing. A right-wing columnist suggests the story is untrue and the tip-off must have come from Mr Gyurcsány.

In June 2006, a month after being re-elected as Prime Minister, Ferenc Gyurcsány told his fellow Socialist MPs that he had overspent in order to win  re-election and misinformed the country about the truly parlous state of public finances: “we were lying day and night”. The taped speech surfaced in September that year on National Public Radio, and set in motion a process that culminated in the crushing defeat for the Left in 2010. (See BudaPost, September 19, 2011.) On Thursday this week, in the cover story in Heti Válasz, Bálint Szabó, a man who often acts as the master of ceremonies at Mr Gyurcsány’s public rallies, claimed that three leading Socialist politicians discussed (and possibly handed over) the tape in his presence, in the flat of Eduardo Rózsa-Flores, a strange adventurer who had friends on the extreme right and on the left alike. (He fought in the violent break-up of Yugoslavia on the Croatian side, played a role in funding the far right Jobbik party, then was killed by Bolivian shock troops after allegedly plotting to assassinate president Evo Morales.) The story was partly corroborated by Ferenc Gyurcsány, who said he could not decide if it was true or false. The “suspects”, former cabinet ministers Imre Szekeres and Ferenc Baja, as well as former House Speaker Katalin Szili (who has since left the Socialist Party) have flatly denied having ever met Rózsa-Flores.

In Népszabadság, senior commentator Ervin Tamás thinks it cannot be accidental that Heti Válasz chose to print an interview with Szabó at a time when the tobacco scandal is still in the news. He respects Heti Válasz nonetheless, for publishing the story, once it had a possible witness who was willing to speak. He also notes that Mr Gyurcsány’s party ominously stated that the discovery of the leakers is “nearing the finishing line”. Őszöd, the venue of the ill-famed speech, he says, “is a monument to complete irresponsibility,” and should have been cleared up long ago with a thorough examination and a series of expulsions (from the Socialist Party). By now, however, any attempt at ’finding a normal resolution’ is an illusion – it is a burning wound, and is bound to remain one, he concludes.

In Magyar Hírlap, László Szentesi Zöldi describes the affair as Mr Gyurcsány’s attempt to derail the MSZP and show ’that he is still a factor’. He recalls that in a recent statement Mr Gyurcsány announced that he had information concerning the leak and would bring it to light as soon as he had solid proof. He believes the interview with Heti Válasz fits well with Gyurcsány’s strategy. Szentesi Zöldi does not buy the story that three important politicians would have gone to see such an obscure figure as Rózsa Flores who must have been under constant surveillance by the secret services. He also points to the political inconsistencies  of the story, namely that Rózsa-Flores had friends on all sides of the political spectrum, but explains his relation with the witness as something “stronger than any political differences”, hinting at some form of sentimental ties between the two men. The author goes so far as to raise the question of whether Rózsa-Flores’s death had anything to do with this secret and concludes on a cryptic note, namely that that there are more portentous secrets here but they will come to light “in the not too distant future”.

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