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Further ruminations on Simicska

February 11th, 2015

A pro-government analyst suspects that media mogul Lajos Simicska, a former friend and close ally of PM Orbán may have orchestrated the recent campaign against government politicians. Left-wing columnists wonder if Mr Simicska should now be seen as a reborn democrat, or an oligarch defending his financial interests.

The Right needs unity in order to stay in power, suggests Gábor G. Fodor, director of the pro-government Századvég think tank. The conservative political scientist welcomes the decision of the top editors of Simicska’s pro-government media empire to step down after Simicska declared war on PM Orbán (see BudaPost February 7. On Monday, Lajos Simicska denied the accusations that he had asked his editors to launch a campaign against the Prime Minister or Fidesz. He said that he had only asked his staff to be unbiased in their reports. Gábor D. Horváth, the new editor-in-chief of Magyar Nemzet added that he was not asked to change Magyar Nemzet’s political stance.) Fodor suggests that the Right could defeat the Left in two consecutive Parliamentary elections because it could retain its unity. If rifts occur on the Right, it may lead to a similar internal struggle to the one which has poisoned the Left, Fodor speculates. He concludes by hinting (without mentioning concrete cases) that Simicska may well have orchestrated the recent media campaigns against government politicians in order to fight the government’s media tax.

In Népszava, Róbert Friss contends that Simicska’s harsh criticism of the Fidesz government is not motivated by the pursuit of financial interests alone, but also indicates that Lajos Simicska has retained some of the democratic idealism that marked Fidesz at the time of the 1989 regime change. Although Simicska was not a democratic hero in the past decade, he has now realized that Mr Orbán wants to stifle any criticism, Friss maintains. He adds that the Prime Minister has now been deserted by those former democratic allies and friends who had other aims than using power to get rich.

Simicska is the same corrupt Fidesz-oligarch that he was last Thursday, András Jámbor comments in Kettős Mérce. The left-wing blogger believes that Simicska’s Friday performance confirms the suspicions that Fidesz has been led by oligarchs. Simicska’s attack on the Prime Minister is nothing more than a battle between oligarchs, Jámbor thinks. Simicska’s media empire helped Fidesz to win the 2014 elections, he adds, and Simicska was one of the biggest benefactors of government tenders between 2010 and 2014. Thus he should not be seen as a hero of democratic values, Jámbor concludes.

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