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Government to meet with teacher unions on Nov. 3

Index reports that the Ministry of Human Resources is planning to meet with the Democratic Union of Teachers (PDSZ) and the Teachers’ Union (PSZ) on November 3 for talks to prevent a teachers’ strike. The government last met with representatives from the unions on October 13, but the talks ended without any concrete results.

The educators are calling for a wage increase as well as a lessening of their educational duties.

How well has Gergely Karácsony done after two years in office?

Telex takes a look at Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony’s performance in office two years after his election in 2019. The site claims that the mayor had a stong start in his first 100 days, and that by January 2021 he had completed six out of the 23 promises made during his campaign.

However, issues related to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, as well as the mayor’s unsuccessful campaign to be the joint democratic prime ministerial nominee, have led to 14 of his promises not being met yet. In particular, the article mentions that the mayor still has to work on reducing the price of rent in the capital, increasing transparency, creating a unified parking system, adjusting rent to a tenant’s income, and reducing noise pollution around Budapest airport.

Budapest may see new restrictions on visiting nursing homes, mask mandates

Budapest Deputy Mayor Ambrus Kiss told Népszava that, due to the worsening Coronavirus situation in Hungary, the Metropolitan Operational Body will make a decision today whether or not to restrict or prohibition visitation at city-run residential housing institutions, most commonly nursing homes.

The body will also investigate whether it should make mask wearing mandatory for staff who work at kindergartens in the capital, as a few districts of the city have already instituted.

Health expert: “political cowardice” to blame for Hungary not having a mask mandate

Health expert Zsombor Kunetz told RTL Híradó that due to increasing Covid-19 infections in Hungary, FFP2-type masks should be mandatory on public transportation and inside stores and shopping malls, and that “political cowardice” on the part of Budapest and government leaders is preventing it from being mandatory.

Kunetz believes that the current situation demands a new mask mandate from the Budapest city government. However, Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony believes that local governments do not have the power to enact a mask mandate on their own, and requested the authority to do so 10 days ago from the Hungarian government.

Despite this, the town of Kazincbarcika has decided to implement its own mask mandate, starting today. [via HVG]

Name of reporter who was pressured by Hungarian intelligence is revealed

In a 2016 article, news portal 444 wrote that a Hungarian intelligence agency put pressure on an investigative reporter to reveal his sources, but the name of the reporter, András Dezső, was unknown until now, writes Telex.

Dezső revealed in a recent interview with Partizán that employees of the Constitutional Protection Office approached him in 2015 and asked for his sources in connection with the US visa scandal that unfolded in 2014, suggesting that in doing so he could avoid having “a bigger problem.” Despite the apparent pressure put upon him, Dezső declined to cooperate and reveal his sources.

Márki-Zay publishes the damaging documents on himself that he claims came from Fidesz

Following up from his press conference earlier today, joint opposition leader Péter Márki-Zay published the “oppo research” on him that he received from the Democratic Coalition last week.

Although large portions of the 67-page document, much of which is blacked out, had already been made public through pro-government media reports, and even included his own Wikipedia page, Telex reports on two new allegations against the Hódmezővásárhely mayor.

The first of these was a claim that Márki-Zay’s wife, an obstetrician, was responsible for the death of a infant, which the document claims was an “unexploited” area to attack the opposition leader. However, pro-government news portal Origo lost a lawsuit in connection with this claim in April and had to pay HUF 2 million as a result.

The second major claim concerns Márki-Zay’s departure to work in Canada over 20 years ago. The document claims that Márki-Zay worked for a shadowy MLM-like company in Hungary that functioned as a “money factory,” but he had to flee to Canada after the company folded. The document gives few details on any of the specifics of the alleged wrongdoing.

Far-right French leader Le Pen arrives in Budapest

444 writes that Marine Le Pen, President of France’s far-right National Rally party, has arrived in Budapest for talks with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán tomorrow. Following the talks, Orbán and LePen are expected to hold a joint press conference.

Momentum’s new president to be decided in November

Following András Fekete-Győr’s resignation as president of Momentum earlier this month, the party has decided to choose a new leader only in November, writes Index. At the moment, Anna Orosz, Momentum’s nominee for parliament in Újbuda, is the only candidate who has declared interest in the post.

After coming in last place in the first round of the primary elections, Fekete-Győr requested a vote of confidence in his leadership from a party delegation. The delegation recommended a new person at the top post, leading to Fekete-Győr’s resignation. However, the party nevertheless placed him at the top of their party list for next year’s elections.

Babis thinks we should thank Orbán for the border fence

Outgoing Czech Premier Andrej Babis praised Viktor Orbán after the conclusion of last week’s European Council summit, and believes that the Hungarian Prime Minister “should be thanked for his fight against migration” after building a fence on the Hungarian border in 2015, reports Euractiv.

Babis claimed that Orbán “was the only one protecting the Schengen area” when he built the reinforced border fence. The Czech premier also praised EU members Croatia and Bulgaria for their efforts in protecting EU borders.

Nézőpont: Karácsony would have come closer to beating Orbán than Márki-Zay

Nézőpont, a pollster often seen as favorable toward ruling party Fidesz, published a public opinion poll claiming that Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony would have performed slightly better in a general election against Prime Minister Viktor Orbán than Péter Márki-Zay, the eventual winner of the oppostion’s primary election.

However, Nézőpont concluded that Orbán could win against either candidate, and that his victory in next year’s parliamentary elections is all but guaranteed. [Telex]

Márki-Zay: Fidesz gave damaging documents on me to DK

In a press conference in his hometown of Hódmezővásárhely, joint opposition prime minister candidate Péter Márki-Zay claims that ruling party Fidesz offered damaging information on him to the Democratic Coalition (DK) in order to boost their own candidate, Klára Dobrev, during the recently-concluded primary elections.

According to Márki-Zay, DK chose not to use the damaging materials against him and instead handed them over to him. Márki-Zay plans to release the documents to the media and publish a summary of them online.

According to the Hódmezővásárhely mayor, the existence of the documents proves “on the one hand that Fidesz attempted to intervene in the opposition’s primary election process, and on the other, in what ways they are spying on people.” Márki-Zay recalled that spy software was also found on his own laptop as well on the homepage of Hódmezővásárhely City Hall in 2018. [HVG]

Márki-Zay: opposition has to speak to 3 million voters

Speaking on Klubrádió’s “Reggeli gyors” radio program this morning, united democratic leader Péter Márki-Zay claimed that the task of the opposition is to “speak to 3 million voters,” but this will only be possible if they appeal to those who believe that there has not yet been a viable alternative party to the governing Fidesz party. Márki-Zay also thinks he can win over a significant portion of Fidesz voters as well.

Regarding comparisons with former President Donald Trump, Márki-Zay only acknowledged that both of them were able to prove their success through primary elections. [Klubrádió]

Analyst: Fidesz running an unfocused campaign

Political analyst Attila Tibor Nagy tells Népszava that unlike the successful campaigns of 2014 and 2018, ruling governmental party Fidesz this year is running an unfocused political campaign that lacks a large, overarching theme. Instead, the party is just repeating well-worn topics such as anti-LMBTQ propaganda, migration, EU disbursements, and rhetoric against former prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsány.

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s speech commemorating the Oct. 23 public holiday also reflected the lack of an overarching theme, and that content-wise there was hardly anything new in what the prime minister had to say, according to Nagy.

Deadline looming for extending bank mortgage moratorium

Hungarians have until October 31 to request an extension for a moratorium on mortgages that has been in effect since last year, but only debtors in “difficult financial circustances” such as pensioners and unemployed persons will be eligible for it.

If approved, those applying for an extension to the moratorium will be exempt from having to pay monthly installments on their mortgages until June 30, 2022. [24.hu]

András Fekete-Győr to lead Momentum’s party list

Momentum announced yesterday that party founder András Fekete-Győr will lead the party’s list for the parliamentary elections next year despite having resigned from leading the party this month after a poor showing in the first round of the primary elections.

The party notes that under Fekete-Győr’s leadership over the past five and a half years, Momentum has become one of the biggest opposition parties in Hungary, two Momentum party members have entered the European Parliament, and over 130 party members have been elected to local Hungarian governments. [444]

New documentary shows a different side of the riots of 2006

Hot on the heels of “Elk*rtuk,” the pro-government fictional adaptation of the unrest of 2006 that hit theaters this week, Átlászó presents an alternate view of the events of that year with the premier of the documentary “Victims 2006.”

Directed by Fruzsina Skrabski, the film covers the protests and disturbances of 2006 “from the perspective of civil and police victims” with never-before seen footage.

Civil Unity Forum collecting signatures against Márki-Zay

Now that Péter Márki-Zay has become the leading face of the democratic opposition after winning the primary election, the Civil Unity Forum (CÖF), which organized the so-called “Peace March” on the Oct. 23 public holiday, is now collecting signatures for a “Stop Gyurcsány, Stop Márki-Zay” campaign against him.

Independent MP Szabolc Szabó claims that ruling party Fidesz is financing the campaign from public money, considering that CÖF receives hundreds of millions of forints in aid from the government. [HVG]

Head of Hungarian Central Bank warns of possible breakup of the Eurozone

György Matolcsy, governor of the Hungarian National Bank (MNB), warns in a Facebook post that “the looming next financial crisis might contribute to the Eurozone breaking into two blocks.” Reacting to an article in the Financial Times from June that suggests a possible end of the Euro as legal tender in the countries that use it, Matolcsy claims that there have already been five major crises over the last 20 years in the Eurozone.

The central bank president predicts that “[i]n the 2020s we can expect multiple crisis”[sic] to occur that “will have the same results than the last five shocks.” [via 24.hu]

State television broadcaster has already shown Orbán’s Oct 23 speech five times

444 writes that public broadcaster M1, the government’s flagship television station, not only showed Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s speech for the October 23 public holiday live, but has since repeated it in full at least five times since then. According to the website, the speech focused more on the USA and Europe than Péter Márki-Zay, the opposition challenger in next year’s parliamentary elections.