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Jobbik leader calls for cancellation of residency bonds programme

October 21st, 2016

A pro-government pundit accuses Jobbik of treason as party leader Gábor Vona makes Jobbik’s support of PM Orbán’s constitutional amendments conditional on scrapping the residence bond scheme. A conservative columnist, on the other hand, thinks that unless Fidesz complies, it will become evident that the governing party has a financial interest in selling Hungarian residence to foreigners.

On Tuesday, Jobbik leader Gábor Vona met Prime Minister Orbán to discuss the constitutional amendments tabled by the Prime Minister (see BudaPost October 15). After the meeting Gábor Vona said that his party would support the amendments, provided the government scrapped the residency bonds programme through which more than seven thousand investors and their family members have been offered residence in Hungary since 2013. Fidesz floor leader Lajos Kósa accused Mr Vona of ‘treason for making Jobbik’s support of the constitutional amendments conditional on cancelling the residency bond scheme. Mr Kósa noted that the government had already announced that it would revise the whole bond programme anyway.

Gábor Vona has scored an own goal, László Néző comments in Magyar Idők. The pro-government accuses Jobbik leader of trying to blackmail the Prime Minister. Néző recalls that in April, Mr Vona accused Fidesz of “treason” by claiming that the quota referendum served the governing party’s political interests instead of saving Hungary from illegal migrants. Néző believes Jobbik is now doing exactly what it accused Fidesz of. While Jobbik originally proposed a constitutional amendment to pre-empt migrant redistribution, now it is using the constitutional amendments to increase its own popularity. Néző notes that Fidesz needs the supporting votes of only a few Jobbik MPs to secure the two-thirds majority required pass the amendments. If the government does not fulfil the Jobbik leader’s demands, there might still be enough Jobbik MPs who vote yes, which would be a huge blow for the Jobbik leader, Néző suggests.

In Magyar Nemzet, Tamás Wiedemann takes up the defense of Jobbik and accuses the government of ‘committing treason’. While the government vilifies refugees, he argues, it sells residence rights to thousands of wealthy investors. The conservative columnist recalls that so far Hungary did not have to admit a single migrant through EU redistribution, while thousands gained residence through the bond scheme. Wiedemann suspects that the residence bond programme only serves the interests of offshore companies run by Fidesz allies, who earn billions of Forints through selling the bonds. Although he admits that the settlers pay hundreds of thousansds of Euros to buy the bonds, he writes that unless the government cancels the investment residence scheme, it is openly admitting corruption.

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