picture of Viktor Orbán

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (pictured) announced in Parliament’s plenary session on Monday that from January, pensions would be raised to 5% instead of 3%, saying that a decree to this effect would soon be issued.

As reported yesterday, today is likely to the be last day before the general elections in the spring in which the opposition will have the opportunity to ask questions of the Prime Minister in Parliament.

Bence Tordai, a spokesman for Dialogue, attacked the government on its management of the coronavirus pandemic in a long list of errors he said had been made. He also mentioned the EU procedure against Hungary for its breach of obligations, that people are dying from high levels of air pollution, and that many elderly people have also frozen to death.

In response, Viktor Orbán rejected the “disgusting” attack on health care workers, and said that health care was not fragmented. He recalled that the opposition had even voted in favor of a law to restructure the sector.

Meanwhile, the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) drew attention to the high number of coronavirus deaths compared to other countries. MSZP’s Tamás Harangozó said that it was shocking for any party to learn that the National Hospital Directorate General had destroyed PCR tests. “Do you consider it normal for one million people to have their PCR tests destroyed instead of giving them away for free to at least the educational institutions or at least to the people who can legally conduct them?” he asked.

In reply, the Prime Minister said that PCR tests don’t do anything to help against Covid. Viktor Orbán said that only vaccination helps, and he encouraged everyone to get their shot. Orbán said that there is now enough of a supply for everyone to get vaccinated.

Jobbik inquired about teacher salaries from the Prime Minister. The party’s Balázs Ander asked Orbán, “What about the promised teacher pay raise?”

Viktor Orbán replied that teacher salaries were indeed low and lagged behind rival sectors. He indicated that a 10% increase in teacher salaries would be put into effect next year. Educators are right, and rightly demand a wage settlement, he said.

[Népszava]

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By Steven N.

Steven is the editor-in-chief of Hungarian Politics. He has been following the political scene in Hungary and the Central European region more or less since 1994.