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Weeklies on Szájer’s fall

December 7th, 2020

The scandal surrounding Fidesz MEP József Szájer barely reached the weeklies before they went to print, but one managed nevertheless to include a first comment into this week’s issue. Another reacted to the fate of the MEP caught at a male sex party in Brussels on its website.

In his Magyar Hang editorial, Szabolcs Szerető deems this case more serious than the debauchery scandal of the former mayor of Györ (See e.g. BudaPost, November 8, 2019). Mayor Zsolt Borkai was, in fact, easily replaceable, while Szájer is one of the few people who actively influenced Fidesz policies and was an equal partner to the Prime Minister. He left his signature on the past 30 years of Hungarian politics and was respected for the depth of his intellect and for his authority among European politicians. The Prime Minister, Szerető continues, has lost an important ally at this critical juncture, facing a tough controversy with the European Union. On the personal level, Szerető finds Szájer’s fall tragic, despite condemning as repellent his participation at a same-sex orgy in Brussels. The work of several decades has been cancelled in one single moment, he explains. The unseemly end of Szájer’s political career also casts a shadow on his legacy, including the Hungarian Constitution of which he was the main author, Szerető writes.

In an interview with Heti Világgazdaság, political analyst Péter Krekó thinks that the Szájer scandal offers the opposition an unexpected opportunity to frame Fidesz’s favourite theme of representing Christian values as sheer hypocrisy. Sex scandals, the liberal political scientist says, tend to spread like wildfire and the opposition’s only problem is how to keep the news alive. He suggests that they unite this case with that of Borkai into a single narrative. The government will try to represent the case as a misstep by an individual who is no longer even a member of Fidesz, he suspects, but although government-friendly outlets easily reach the government’s supporters, such stories spread irresistibly on the Internet and may do lasting damage. On the other hand, Krekó predicts that the government side will now seek comparable culprits among opposition politicians and therefore, with the 2022 elections approaching, Hungary is in for a harsh media war.

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