Budapest (MTI) – Ruling Fidesz and the Lungo Drom Roma interest association have renewed their long-standing electoral agreement prior to next year’s elections.
After signing the agreement on Friday, House Speaker László Kövér said that Lungo Drom was the first in a row of allies Fidesz was going to prolong its electoral agreements with. Later on, the party will conclude similar agreements with the co-ruling Christian Democrats (KDNP), Fidesz’ youth arm Fidelitas, the conservative National Forum, the Employers’ and Entrepreneurs’ Party and the Smallholders.
Lungo Drom head Flórián Farkas said that the Roma minority in Hungary has the best chance to continue integrating into society if the body continues to cooperate with Fidesz as they have been doing for 15 years.
The agreement was slammed by the opposition Socialist and LMP parties earlier on Friday. László Teleki of the Socialists said that “it is common knowledge that Farkas has appropriated and spent over 1 billion forints funds intended for Roma integration”. LMP co-leader Bernadett Szél said that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán should not “assist in sending to parliament criminals who should rather be put behind bars.”
Both politicians referred to multiple investigations launched by the human resources ministry in early 2016 into the integration programme dubbed “Bridge into the labour market”, citing lack of transparency and connections between Lungo Drom leaders and the recipients of funding.
The scrutiny came after the Roma Self-Government came under suspicion of graft late in 2015, when Farkas was accused by members of the body of channelling funding to private purposes. Hungary’s Roma are “on the verge of tearing themselves apart,” according to a description of a senior Roma official at the time. Farkas denied the accusations.