The last year of the decade was eventful in terms of Hungarian politics. Scandals broke out, there were two elections, and like any other year, it did not lack drama.
In a month-by-month retrospective article, Kafkadesk reflected on Hungary’s politics in 2019.
The year started with a few demonstrations against 2018’s “slave-law”, but they quickly lost momentum. Then there was the first round of the primary elections, in which over 30,000 people participated, and Gergely Karácsony (Párbeszéd) and Csaba Horváth (MSzP) went head-to-head.
Famous producer Andy Vajna died last January, aged 74. Many politicians and celebs mourned his death.
In the second month of the year, it was announced that Karácsony won against Horváth in the elections with 81 per cent of the votes. Karácsony was also accused by 444 of helping – or not being able to stop – the “parking-mafia” in his district.
Fidesz also announced their initiative to help families with a lot of children this month by giving them tax breaks.
Spring came, and so did a conflict between Fidesz and the European People’s Party because of the propaganda posters attacking Jean-Claude Juncker in Hungary. When the People’s Party’s president, Manfred Weber, came to talk with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, the posters were taken down and Fidesz was suspended from the party.
Róbert Puzsér was supported in the mayoral race by both LMP and Jobbik.
The European Parliamentary elections started in April, and people began preparing for the municipal elections as well, which would come in October.
The last month of spring was not uneventful either. The Parliamentary elections had some surprising results, some of which affected Hungary. For Fidesz, it was disappointing, while for Momentum and Democratic Coalition, celebrations were in order. Fidesz only managed to get 14 out of the 21 seats, while Democratic Coalition managed to send four of their people to Brussel, even though they were expecting only one, and Momentum won two seats.
After their poor performance, LMP stopped backing Puzsér in the municipal elections in June, and Jobbik followed their example. Momentum and Democratic Coalition both announced their plans to participate in the second round.
Puzsér announced his withdrawal from the primary and that he would appear on the ballots as an independent candidate in the coming fall.
The primary had a turnout of 70,000 people, with Karácsony winning by 49 per cent.
In July, Orbán made his annual appearance at a festival in Tusványos, Transylvania, and introduced his ideas of “Christian freedom” as well as its opposite, “liberal freedom”.
Judit Varga was made Minister of Justice this month as well.
August was the time to begin campaigning for the municipal elections.
László Köver, the speaker of the Hungarian Parliament, came under fire when he said a “good Hungarian” has four children.
By September, the campaigns of the candidates were well under way. Karácsony made promises, while Tarlós failed to get his messages across, and videos of him yelling at MP Bence Tordai with a megaphone also damaged his public image. In the meantime, Puzsér started attacking his opponents instead of focusing on his plans.
Before the elections could take place, a video was leaked of Zsolt Borkai (Fidesz), the mayor of Győr, as he was participating in an orgy, by a blog, ‘The Devil’s Advocate’. Fidesz’s poor reaction – or the lack of any kind of reaction – probably played a part in the results of the elections that came. Fidesz lost many seats in Budapest’s districts as well as mayoral ones, and so their rule of nine years started to decline.
Borkai resigned the following month, and a new election had to be arranged. The new national stadium was also revealed.
The last month of the year was not scandal-free either. After a notable director’s sexual harassment case broke out, new legislation was shortly introduced, which sparked protests as it would give control to the government and allow them to censor things.
A motion to give unemployed people only emergency healthcare services for free also passed, which led to outrage, as unemployed people already struggle enough financially.
Before the year could end, Vadhajtások felt they needed to leak Zsolt Gréczy’s (Democratic Coalition MP) nudes, and a woman also accused him of harassment, which all led to him resigning.