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PM Orbán to continue centralizing local governments?

PM Orbán to continue centralizing local governments?

According to Hír TV, if Fidesz wins another 2/3rd majority in April, they will continue centralising the local governments. For example, there will be a mayor only in the county towns. Interestingly, Policy Solutions already wrote about this plan in its annual review of Hungarian politics published two weeks before. The international think-tank stated that following a victory in 2018, “it would not be surprising if Fidesz would take further steps towards the reduction of the role of local governments.” The opposition believes that the motivation behind this decision is solely political.

Eliminating the autonomy of local governments?

PS added then that Fidesz’s victory might result in further governmental expansion in the economy, the media, and local governments. It seems now that they might be right in case of local governments.

For example, Szabad Pécs wrote that if Fidesz gains super-majority again

there will not be mayors and local representatives any longer in places with less than 5,000 residents.

According to the plans, these towns and villages will only be able to elect a magistrate. Consequently, he/she will be able to represent their interests in the future district councils. According to the chairman of the Hungarian Association of Local Governments, such a plan has been on the plate of the government for long.

György Gémesi added that settlements with less than 2,000 residents do not have an own bureau. Besides, their administration is centralised through the informatics system. To make matters worse, Hungarian State Treasury is to centralise the management of the local governments’ accounts, too.

This is the reduction of the role of local governments and the elimination of their autonomy’

– stated Gémesi.

According to Jobbik, the causes of centralisation are not financial but political ones. Clearly, the influence of the political parties is weaker in smaller places. However, if the residents move to bigger areas, they become more controllable. The communist Kádár-regime knew and applied this rule. Now it seems that Fidesz is now starting to implement it again– stated MP Lórántné Hegedűs.

The system of Budapest needs reform

Interestingly, István Tarlós, mayor of Budapest does not know anything about any reforms concerning the system of the capital. However,

he thinks that a change would be important in Budapest.

He stated that everybody agrees that the system does not function well. However, nothing happens. ‘But I do not think that district or central leadership can be held responsible for the situation at present.’ It was created and finalised in 1994 – added Tarlós in a press conference on Monday.

The government does not lack ideas how the local government system in Budapest should be reformed. For example, the press wrote about an idea which suggested that mayors of the districts should elect the mayor of Budapest instead of the citizens. Furthermore, others recommended the elimination of the districts. Of course,

any government needs 2/3rd majority to change the system of local governments in Hungary.

Source: Hír TV, Szabad Pécs, Daily News Hungary

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