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New Gov’t Structure Won’t Include Independent Ministries for Health or Education

The structure and personnel in Viktor Orbán’s new government will include a total of six ministers and four ministries that deal with the economy, but no independent ministry for health care or education. At the moment, it appears that the responsibility for these two areas will be transferred to the Ministry of the Interior.

Out of the 14 ministers in the fifth Orbán government, nine are being retained from the previous government. This include Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó, Justice Minister Judit Varga (the only woman in the Cabinet), Agriculture Minister István Nagy, and Finance Minister Mihály Varga.

Zsolt Semjén will remain Deputy Prime Minister, as well as Minister without portfolio for National Policy, Nationality Policy, Church Policy and Church Diplomacy. László Palkovics will continue as a member of the government, but will lead a slightly-different portfolio in the new Ministry of Technology and Industry.

Gergely Gulyás will stay on as Minister in charge of the Prime Minister’s Office, while Antal Rogán will remain in his role as head of the Prime Minister’s Cabinet Office, which will take over supervision of the civilian intelligence services. Until now, this area fell under the Ministry of the Interior, which will continue to be headed by Sándor Pintér.

Newcomers to the government are Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovinczky as Defense Minister, János Csák at the head of the newly-created Cultural and Innovation Ministry, and Márton Nagy, who will be in charge of economic development.

There will also be two returnees in the cabinet: János Lázár, who will be the Minister of Construction and Investment, and Tibor Navracsics, who will be responsible for regional development and the use of EU funds.

Since there will be a total of 14 ministers but only 11 ministries in the recently-submitted bill setting up the government, it appears very likely that Márton Nagy and Tibor Navracsics will only be ministers without portfolios, just as Zsolt Semjén will still not have his own independent ministry.

Analyst Not Surprised at Lack of Ministries for Health Care and Education

Andrea Virág, strategic director at the Republikon Institute, said that the fact that nearly a third of the ministries will be economically-related fits into Viktor Orbán’s narrative that the biggest challenges in the next few years will be in the economic realm, such as runaway inflation, the energy crisis, and the effects of the war.

By putting attention on the economy, Orbán wants to show voters that he is prioritizing these pocketbook issues, she said.

Virág was not surprised that neither education nor health care received independent ministries in the new government, as these areas have never been among the government’s priorities. Not even the Covid pandemic could convince Viktor Orbán to make health care a higher priority, she added. [Népszava]

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