Photo: Daily News Hungary

Budapest (MTI) – Shoddy construction and nepotism are the main features of the state-backed project to restore the royal garden pavilions at the foot of Castle Hill in Budapest, according to opposition parties that slammed the project on Tuesday.

The neo-Renaissance Varkert Bazar, designed by iconic Hungarian architect Miklos Ybl in 1883, was closed off in 1984 and remained in an appalling state of repair until a project to restore them got under way in 2013.

Szabolcs Kerek-Braczy of the opposition Democratic Coalition (DK) said a new consortium commissioned to carry out post-restoration repair work involved a company, West Hungaria Bau (WHB), which took over a firm owned by the prime minister’s son in law.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban opened the pavilions as part of the general election campaign in the spring of 2014 before the restoration had been fully completed. Ever since, the complex has been dogged by poor workmanship, DK said.

The Swietelsky-WHB consortium that carried out the initial refurbishment project has again won a public procurement project worth 743 million forints (EUR 2.3m) to carry out the refinements.

The Dialogue for Hungary (PM) party said it was “outrageous” that the government had wasted billions of forints on “prestige investments” such as the Varkert Bazar upgrade. The party insisted that the pavilions would be patched up again and again as a way of ensuring a steady stream of lucrative contracts for companies close to Fidesz.


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