The Socialist party is going to steer clear of any cooperation with ruling Fidesz, because the party aims to topple Fidesz in the 2018 general election, the Socialists’ press chief told a press briefing in Budapest on Tuesday.
The party will therefore refrain from submitting a proposal on Friday’s out-of-schedule parliamentary session, dedicated to the regulation of political billboard ads outside of the campaign period. A Socialist proposal “might have benefited Fidesz” and the Socialists want to avoid all forms of cooperation, even that of Fidesz supporting one of the Socialists’ proposals, Nyakó said.
This is a departure from the party’s standpoint on Monday, when five parliamentary parties held talks of the Socialists’ proposal on the bill. The “billboard bill”, a piece of legislation aiming to ban political advertising on billboards outside of campaign periods, was sent back to parliament by President Áder for reconsideration earlier this week.
Nyakó said that the change of approach was due to Socialist Prime Minister candidate László Botka “introducing a new political era in the party”.
“No cooperation with Fidesz is accepted and anyone who goes against this would be excluded from the Socialist Party”, he said.
At a press briefing on the Friday parliamentary session, Fidesz group leader Lajos Kósa said that the current system “facilitates black campaign financing”. He cited the example of green opposition party LMP’s billboard costs being higher than Jobbik’s as an example of the current legislation being inadequate. LMP rented 150 billboards “from companies associated with [erstwhile Fidesz associate media mogul] Lajos Simicska” for 12 million forints (EUR 39,000), Kósa said, while Jobbik payed 24 million for 3,600 billboards. “This is open corruption”, he said.
Jobbik group leader János Volner told a press conference that Fidesz and the Socialists “have already agreed” on voting the billboard bill into law. The “backchannel agreements” are already in place, with Fidesz “holding the Socialists in check” with economic pressure and criminal proceedings, he said.
Deputy Fidesz leader Gergely Gulyás slammed the Socialists’ proposal as unconstitutional and unacceptable, citing parts of it as “restricting the freedom of opinion” in suggesting that campaign players should register and that government or foreign-funded organisations should be banned from contributing to the campaign. Gulyás said that Botka was blocking the proposal because “he eyes black money to finance the Socialist campaign or he is also on Simicska’s payroll”.