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26th January, 2023

Inquiry finds more foreign funding of opposition parties

The secret services and other bodies investigating foreign financial support given to the opposition election campaign last year have found that a further Ft 887 million was transferred via a Swiss foundation for this purpose.

The sum was transferred to Oraculum 2020, publisher of the website Ez a lenyeg, which actively campaigned for the opposition, HVG writes.

This is in addition to some Ft 3.2 billion sent directly to the Everybody’s Hungary Movement (MMM) led by Peter Marki-Zay, by the US-based Action for Democracy (AFD).

The latest summary by the National Information Centre (NIK) – the new super-secret service under Cabinet Office chief Antal Rogan – drawing on ongoing investigations by the National Bureau of Investigation and the Tax and Customs Office, shows that 58% of the money from AFD ended up with the MMM, a smaller part with the Edemocracy Workshop Association, and the rest with five companies.

Regarding the Swiss foundation, the NIK said “no information accessible from an open source can be found about the activity of the foundation”.

The composition of the about Ft 4 billion in foreign funds according to the Hungarian addresses is as follows

- Oraculum 2020 Ft 2 billion in ten transfers

- MMM: Ft 1.8 billion in eight transfers

- DatAdat Ft 148 million in one transfer

- Super Future Ft 59.1 billion in three transfers - Edemocracy Workshop Association Ft 18.1 billion in one transfer

- Gemius Hungary Ft 13.3 million in three transfers

- Laokoon Cinema Ft 4.2 million in one transfer.

The report states that “persons directly connected to the US Democratic Party” are behind the AFD.

The report, signed by NIK chief Zoltan Kovacs, concludes that “the support transferred to Hungary by the foreign political organisation during the Hungarian elections served to influence the Hungarian elections. This is a clear violation of Hungary’s sovereignty and raises suspicions of a violation of the relevant Hungarian legislation.”

Marki-Zay maintains that there is no scandal, as the MMM did not spend money on the opposition parties’ campaigns. (hvg.hu; rtl.hu; 444.hu; blikk.hu; origo.hu)
26th January, 2023

Teachers strike losing momentum

Participants in the teachers’ strike have experienced that fewer and fewer of their colleagues are taking part, RTL reports.

The striking teachers say many people have been emotionally drained, while others do not join the weeklong nationwide strike due to financial considerations or fear.

The organisers expect a major demonstration on January 31, the last day of the strike. (rtl.hu)
26th January, 2023

Fewer interested in teacher career

Half as many students applied for teacher training courses in 2022 as in 2016, according to a summary compiled by the website hrportal.hu.

There was a decline earlier, in 2004-08, when the number of potential teachers fell. However, after a low point, the number applying for teacher training rose dynamically until 2016.

However, only about half of applicants are admitted to teachers training colleges from year to year. In 2016 a total of 10,167 students of the more than 20,000 applicants were admitted.

In 2022, fewer than 6,500 students were admitted to colleges and universities.

Meanwhile, the Teachers’ Union says the shortage of educators in schools is more and more acute.

Union president Zsuzsa Szabo told InfoRadio that there are many settlements in Hungary where no special subjects can be taught due to the absence of specialist teachers.

Moreover, one in five teachers in primary schools have no teaching qualifications, according to the union. (hrportal.hu; infostart.hu)
26th January, 2023

Two parties initiate referendum on battery factory in Debrecen

The Momentum and Mi Hazank parties are separately initiating a local referendum on the electric vehicle battery factory to be built near Debrecen by Chinese company CATL.

Momentum local councillor Laszlo Mandi on Monday submitted the referendum question to the local election committee for validation.

Momentum says the proposed factory to be built would place an enormous strain on local water resources and would pollute the environment.

“Decisions about the future of more than 200,000 people may not be made behind closed doors,” Momentum declared.

Mi Hazank MP Istvan Apati told Telex that his party will not work with other opposition parties, but with the citizens of Debrecen.

He said more than 250 people had responded by Tuesday evening to the far-right party’s call for activists to collect signatures in Debrecen.

If the proposed referendum question is approved by the local election committee, organisers must collect signatures from at least 20% of citizens of voting age within 30 days. In Debrecen, this means more than 33,000 valid signatures.

LMP also initiated a local referendum about the battery factory on Monday, but the party’s officials did not collect the nomination sheets.

They told Telex that they had changed their mind, but others say the party leaders realised that they will not be able to collect the necessary signatures in support of the referendum. (telex.hu; telex.hu; blikk.hu; hang.hu; rtl.hu; mandiner.hu)
26th January, 2023

MP acts to dissolve Fidesz chapter

Jaszsag region Fidesz MP Janos Pocs announced yesterday that he will initiate the dissolution and reorganisation of the Fidesz chapter in Jaszbereny after the party’s representation on the town council was almost wiped out in a by-election on January 15.

The Jobbik mayoral candidate running as the candidate of the In Unison for Jaszbereny alliance won more than two-thirds of votes on turnout of 60%.

With the notable absence of the Democratic Coalition, most opposition parties joined the In Unison for Jaszbereny alliance. Candidates from Jobbik, the Socialist Party, Momentum and the Everybody’s Hungary Movement won seats on the local council as representatives of the alliance.

Opposition candidates won ten out of the ten directly elected seats on the city council, leaving Fidesz with four compensation seats on the 15-member body.

Pocs said he had made his decision by “taking the voters’ will into account”. (telex.hu; rtl.hu; magyarnarancs.hu; atv.hu; hvg.hu; 444.hu)
26th January, 2023

City to help renovate flats

Budapest city council unanimously decided to invite bids for renovating empty flats, to ensure long-term affordable accommodation for homeless people, in a Wednesday vote.

The city will provide Ft 50 million for the tender, with a maximum of Ft 5 million available per flat.

Fidesz representative Zsofia Hassay argued that the Ft 5 million sum is inadequate.

The city council passed a decree with a vast majority allocating Ft 232 billion to the city’s districts and Ft 273 billion to city hall.

The decree on the distribution of funds was passed with 26 affirmative votes, one dissension and three abstentions. (infostart.hu)

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