Nikola Gruevski fled from his country on Tuesday and asked for political asylum in Hungary. Macedonian 1TV reported that he spent his first night in the Budapest Corinthia Hotel and he was in PM Orbán’s home yesterday. Government officials did not confirm these claims.
“The PM went home on Tuesday and he met Róza and Flóra” (his daughters – JW) – commented icily 1TV’s report Bertalan Havasi, the Prime Minister’s press chief. Earlier yesterday minister of foreign affairs Peter Szijjarto said that he could neither confirm nor deny that Gruevski submitted a request for political asylum. It is quite telling that in order to evade controversial remarks regarding the issue, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
forbade government officials to say anything about it
However, later the Prime Minister’s Office acknowledged that Gruevski is in Hungary and sought political asylum – 24.hu reported. Furthermore, they added that, for security reasons, they allowed him to submit his request at the Headquarters of the Immigration and Asylum Office. They emphasised that the Hungarian government does not want to interfere with Macedonian domestic politics. However, allowing him an exceptional process might mean something like that in the eye of the Macedonian authorities. If the Hungarian authorities had stuck to the general process Gruevski would have had to apply for asylum in the detention centre where he arrived after crossing the Hungarian border.
Nobody knows how their former prime minister fled from the country in Macedonia. The local issue of Deutsche Welle claims that Gruevski must have crossed the border illegally, because the authorities took his passport before – 24.hu says. However, according to Magyar Narancs, he requested to get it back and he
submitted PM Viktor Orban’s invitation to the Macedonian authorities.
Furthermore, Deutsche Welle also suggests that it was probably Belgrade that helped him to travel through Serbia and arrive at the Hungarian border, since he is in an excellent relationship with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic. They also say that PM Orbán promised him political asylum last Spring, before the municipal elections. Not only him, but also Gergely Gulyás, current minister of the Prime Minister’s Office and Zsolt Németh, former foreign state secretary took part in Gruevski’s campaign. They all blamed Soros and praised Gruevski for protecting Europe, but this was still not enough for victory – nepszava.hu reported.
As we already reported, former Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski said on his Facebook site on Tuesday that he was staying in Budapest and had sought political asylum addressing the Hungarian authorities. Gruevski served as the PM of Macedonia between 2006 and 2016, but he was forced from office in 2016 over a
Moreover, since a Macedonian court found earlier this year that he had unlawfully influenced officials over the purchase of a luxury bulletproof Mercedes Benz, the former premier was due to begin a term in prison for corruption from 9 November but did not surrender himself. Police ordered his arrest on Monday, but they did not find him.
Biggest opposition party Jobbik has already demanded the immediate arrest and extradition of Gruevski. MP Ádám Mirkóczki said on Wednesday that the Macedonian politician is
believed to have entered Hungary by car.
He added that if the former Macedonian PM arrived in Hungary with the government’s help, there should be personal consequences. The liberal opposition Párbeszéd and Democratic Coalition (DK) also demanded extradition yesterday.
Macedonian PM Zoran Zaev has also called on Hungary to extradite Gruevski and added that
Hungary should not defend a criminal who caused damage to Macedonia’s citizens.
Balázs Hidvéghi, communications chief of ruling Fidesz, told on a yesterday press conference that Gruevski is “at the moment being persecuted and threatened by a leftist government backed by George Soros“.
Featured image: facebook.com/NGruevski
Source: nepszava.hu, 444.hu, MTI, 24.hu, Magyar Narancs, bbc.co.uk