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Tag: Anna Donáth

Miklós Hajnal to Run for Chair of Momentum

Momentum’s Miklós Hajnal announced his candidacy for party president in a Facebook post on Friday, writes Népszava.

The opposition politician, who won an individual race in Budapest’s Hegyvidék district in the April 3 election, had previously rejected claims alleging that he was interested in the post.

But with current president Anna Donáth announcing her pregnancy four days ago and declaring that she would not be running again for the position, Hajnal wrote that “a radically new situation has arisen in Momentum.”

A week ago, I didn’t think I’d be writing a post like this, and I wasn’t prepared for this role. (…) Many now truly see Momentum as the only ray of hope. As a new parliamentary actor, we can show a new direction to the opposition side. I believe in my community, and believe that overthrowing Fidesz requires a strong and decisive Momentum in the opposition space.

-stated Hajnal in his announcement post. [Népszava]

Donáth Confirms Pregnancy, Won’t Run for Momentum Presidency Again

“The news is true: I am expecting a child, so I won’t be running again to be president of Momentum,” wrote Anna Donáth on Facebook on Monday.

Tabloid Blikk had already leaked the news a few days ago that the Momentum President had told her fellow party members that she was expecting her first child, but she had not made a public statement on the matter until now.

Donáth also wrote in her post:

A wonderful thing is happening in my life: I will be a mother. In addition, I have had to reevaluate many things in terms of my personal and political future. I realized that I would not be able to handle the daily presidential duties of Momentum, which is getting stronger and stronger and has a bright future ahead of it, while facing the task of motherhood with its exceptionally exciting, but numerous unknown challenges.

The politician added:

But I’m not worried about Momentum. This community is much more than a single politican or leader. I won’t disappear either. As a Momentum politician, I will continue to do my best to create a just, humane Hungary.

-wrote Anna Donáth, who closed her post by thanking everyone for their good wishes and a request for privacy in the future. [Magyar Hang]

Bősz Announces Pregnancy as She Becomes Budapest Deputy Mayor

“I carry my young son under my heart while I not only become a mother, but also a deputy mayor of the capital,” wrote Anett Bősz on Facebook.

The DK-affiliated politician was the democratic opposition’s nominee in the Budapest suburb of Érd in the April 3 election, but came up short against András Aradszki of Fidesz.

Although Bősz didn’t win a seat in Parliament, she ended up snagging the role of Budapest deputy mayor when current deputy mayor Erzsébet Gy Németh was chosen to take the parliamentary seat of Gergely Karácsony, who won a mandate from the joint party list but decided to keep his current job as Mayor of Budapest instead. [Azonnali]

Coincidentally, tabloid Blikk reported yesterday that Momentum President Anna Donáth was also pregnant, although the politician did not make a public statement about it.

The MEP decided to share the news privately with members of her party after the elections, although some of them began to suspect it before then, according to Index. [Index]

Opposition Politicians Want to Question Justice Minister Varga in European Parliament Over Pegasus

Representatives from Hungary’s political opposition in the European Parliament have initiated the process to request that Justice Minister Judit Varga appear before the committee investigating the use of Pegasus surveillance software in EU Member States.

Momentum MEP and party President Anna Donáth said at a plenary session of the European Parliament on Wednesday that Varga should be questioned by the committee in a public hearing that would be broadcast live, as “politicians, civilians, and investigative journalists were surveilled and eavesdropped with her knowledge and permission.”

At the same time, Donáth will also have the committee request and examine wiretapping warrants, “as it very much seems that a significant number of them were not needed at all – they simply eavesdropped on their political opponents so they could stay in power.”

As the vice-chair of the Pegasus committee in the European Parliament, DK’s Sándor Rónai will likewise request a hearing for Judit Varga and her state secretary Pál Völner. [Magyar Hang]

Rónai Chosen as Vice-Chair of Pegasus Committee in European Parliament

The European Parliament has set up a 38-member select committee to examine the use of Pegasus surveillance software in several EU countries, and whether such use violates EU law. DK’s Sándor Rónai will serve as the committee’s vice-chair, but Fidesz’s Balázs Hidvéghi is also on the body.

MEP Anna Donáth of Momentum announced that:

The Hungarian government was the first to acknowledge that it abused the spyware designed for anti-terrorism.

Donáth also stated that “the Hungarian government used it against any opponent of the regime,” adding:

The government has done everything it could to hush up the matter. Fidesz boycottted a session of the Committee on National Security, avoiding having to give answers to questions.

-said Donáth about the spyware created by the Israeli NSO Group. Donáth also said that the Pegasus affair was “not a Hungarian, but a European issue,” and it shouldn’t be dealt with in EU member states as an internal matter. [Index]

Donáth is Most Popular Opposition Politician, But Orbán is Most Popular Overall

Viktor Orbán is by far Hungary’s most popular politician, while Momuntum President Anna Donáth gets top honors on the opposition side, just barely beating out Gergely Karácsony, reports Magyar Hang on a poll of 1,850 people conducted by the Iránytű Institute.

The think tank asked people on a scale of 1-5 how satisfied they were with certain figures in key political roles. Converted to a 100-point scale, the following politicians ended up with the following scores:

  • Viktor Orbán 58
  • Anna Donáth 29
  • Gergely Karácsony 28
  • Péter Jakab 25
  • László Toroczkai 25
  • Klára Dobrev 25
  • Péter Márki-Zay 24
  • Ferenc Gyurcsány 13

[Magyar Hang]

Donáth: European Parliament setting up select committee on Pegasus affair

picture of Anna Donáth

The European Parliament is setting up a select committee to investigate the Pegasus scandal, announced Anna Donáth (pictured) on Facebook. The Momentum MEP, together with two of her colleagues in the Brussels-based body, Róża Thun and Sophia in ‘t Veld, called for the formation of a panel that will question Viktor Orbán and hold responsible parties to account.

It is time for Europe to finally realize that we need to offer a defense for those who have been victimized, to defend the investigative journalists, students, lawyers, and opposition politicians who have had their private lives spied upon without justification.

-wrote Anna Donáth, adding that the Pegasus affair was about democracy.

On Twitter, the politician added that Pegasus will also be investigated domestically if the opposition wins Hungary’s April 3 parliamentary elections:

Investigative outlet Direkt36 exposed the scandal last summer, revealing that Pegasus spyware, developed by Israeli IT firm NSO Group, had been used to break into break into smartphones of Hungarian investigative journalists, politicians critical of the government, as well as wealthy media moguls and those around them. Among others, the phone number of the pilot keeping watch over Viktor Orbán’s flights was also found on the Pegasus list.

Data Protection Commissioner Attila Péterfalvi also launched an investigation into the matter, but determined that the software had been used legally by Hungarian authorities. Péterfalvi’s office investigated over a hundred specific cases to determine whether the use of Pegasus spyware was legal in Hungary, finding that every case was in order.

Only part of the Commissioner’s report on Pegasus is public. There is a continuously-expanding, confidential version of the report, which will be kept secret until December 31, 2050.

[Magyar Hang]

EU special committee on foreign intervention condemns Hungarian government for Pegasus and Fudan

picture of EU flags

A European Parliament committee has condemned the Hungarian government for the use of Pegasus spyware and for its plans to set up a campus of China’s Fudan University in Hungary, announced Momentum MEP Anna Donáth on social media. The EP’s special committee on foreign interference in all democratic processes in the EU, including disinformation (INGE) voted on Tuesday on the report condemning the government.

The newly-adopted report shows that the problem that we perceive every day in Hungarian public life has now risen to the European level: the Chinese and Russian governments are using the Hungarian government for their own geopolitical purposes and violating Hungary’s sovereignty.

-wrote the opposition politician.

She added that these Eastern dictatorships have used the Hungarian government to conduct disinformation campaigns, thereby destabilizing the region. Fudan University will likewise be another tool in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party, she stated.

Anna Donáth also recalled that she and her colleagues in the Renew Europe parliamentary group had called on the leaders of other parliamentary groups to support setting up a committee of inquiry on Pegasus, questioning Viktor Orbán in the European Parliament, and calling him to account for the use of the spyware. The Pegasus issue is about democracy, she believes.

The European Parliament plans to discuss the document in March.

[Magyar Hang]

Hadházy and Donáth report Orbán gov’t to European Commission over state subsidies to tech company 4iG

picture of 4iG talk

Momentum MEP Anna Donáth and independent MP Ákos Hadházy have written a letter to the European Commission reporting the Hungarian government over tech firm 4iG, arguing that the activities of the telecommunications company and government subsidies provided to it were in breach of EU law.

It is obviously a matter of national security whether the switch for the Hungarian internet ends up in the hands of a single person, namely the owner of 4iG. This is why we have written a letter to the European Commission to determine if the company’s operations pose a risk to national security, and if it is right for the state to let such critical infrastructure fall into the hands of a single private owner.

-wrote Ákos Hadházy on social media yesterday morning.

The independent Member of Parliament added:

The ultimate goal of tech firm 4iG, majority-owned by Gellért Jászai, is to take over state-owned broadcasting company Antenna Hungária and dominate the Hungarian communications market. If the deal comes together, it would mean that a confidant of Viktor Orbán controls a significant share of broadcasting, the backbone network of the state, satellite communications, and the fiber optic network.

In their joint letter, the two politicians listed three questions that they would like the Committee to respond to:

  • Are laws that designate companies of national strategic importance, thereby providing them a special status that exempts them from the normal laws of market competition, compatible with EU law?
  • Does 4iG’s cross-border financial activity comply with relevant EU legislation?
  • Can the 100 billion Ft. (US $318.7 million) in financial aid given by the Hungarian Development Bank and the 84.45 billion Ft. ($269.2 million) in financial subsidies provided to 4iG be classified as prohibited state aid?

4iG Nyrt. was spun off from the business empire Lőrinc Mészáros in 2019, with Gellért Jászai (pictured, center) taking over majority control of the company. The company acquired several strategically-important players in the market last year, including 75% of Hungaro Digitel Kft. from state company Antenna Hungária, as well as the cable TV and internet service provider Digi.

4iG’s expansion was largely due to bond issues from the Hungarian Development Bank and the Hungarian National Bank, meaning that in essence the state provided the funds for it, concludes


Donáth thinks opposition should pick up the pace with campaigning

picture of Anna Donáth

The president of Momentum once again has some strong words for the six-party opposition and the campaign strategy of the joint prime ministerial candidate.

In an interview with the periodical Jelen, Anna Donáth told host Rita Benyó that there is a lot of work going on in the background, even if from the outside it appears that the opposition has taken it easy following the fall primary elections. She also said that the joint opposition campaign should not imitate Fidesz’s propaganda machine, in reference to Péter Márki-Zay’s migrant counter campaign.

The Momentum MEP’s current thoughts echo her comments to Telex shortly after she was elected as the party’s president, when she said that the opposition had “thrown the past month out the window” and also thought it wrong to mirror Fidesz’s terminology and enemy imagery.

Momentum insists on “restoring the rule of law within the rule of law framework,” she said, adding:

There’s a lot that can be solved with a simple majority. We need to focus on what is possible and not talk about what isn’t. On top of that, we should be doing everything we can to get a two-thirds majority. We just have to start, we really should be campaigning.

The Momentum president also responded to László Kövér’s leaked speech in front of senior intelligence officers, in which he said that the opposition was the biggest threat to national security. According to Donáth, the governing parties realize that they may lose this election, and Kövér’s words evoke the period of the darkest dictatorships.

The full interview can be viewed here (in Hungarian):


Opposition campaign will not be built on inciting hatred, says Donáth

picture of Anna Donáth

The new president of Momentum does not want the opposition’s joint campaign to incite anger or hate, nor does she agree with Péter Márki-Zay’s migrant counter billboard, because “sometimes you have to draw a red line.” In an interview with Telex, Anna Donáth also mentioned that she does not plan to quit her current role as MEP but would lead the party half the time from Brussels, and that it is time to shake up the party, as well as the opposition’s campaign.

After assuming the post on Sunday, Anna Donáth’s new mandate as party president will only last until next summer. But because she has a “vision” of where to take Hungary and Momentum, she said that she had not yet ruled out the possibility of running for the position again.

In the meantime, “there’s no question we need to change the government in 2022,” she said, because “the primary elections and the success of Péter Márki-Zay show that people need a new impetus and new faces.” However, until the change of government occurs, “there is still a lot of work to be done and a lot of steps that have to be taken.”

Regarding the joint campaign of the opposition parties, Donáth said, “I really don’t want the joint campaign to be based on inciting anger and hatred.” On this point, the Momentum President also criticized the recent migrant counter billboard stunt put on by opposition prime minister-designate Péter Márki-Zay: “I think it is a mistake to wage war using Fidesz’s phrasing and enemy images instead of talking about real problems.”

“Momentum will not assist in providing the backbone of the campaign with an issue that it cannot identify with and that goes against what we have promised our voters so far.”

She also offered some pointed criticism of the recent behavior of some of her fellow opposition politicans. “Many of them have taken it easy after the primaries. The opposition has thrown the past month out the window,” stated Anna Donáth.


Anna Donáth chosen as new Momentum president

picture of Anna Donáth

Anna Donáth (pictured) has been chosen as the second Momentum president in the history of the party, reports Azonnali.

Two other candidates had also competed for the party’s top spot in addition to Donáth. Anna Orosz, the Deputy Mayor of Újbuda and a member of the party’s leadership, and Gábor Hollai, a representative in Budapest’s District XVI municipality, were also in the running for the position, which was chosen by the party’s selection committee.

Donáth, who currently represents the party in the European Parliament, won 57% of the committee’s vote. Her competitor Anna Orosz was second with 29%, with Hollai in the third place spot at 14%.

When she announced her candidacy, Donáth wrote, “I have been an active member of Momentum for the past five years, and this community has been the most defining part of my life for five years. As president, I am committed to shaking up and holding together the community of Momentum members and those advocating change, so that we can finally replace the government in 2022.”

On her future plans as party leader, Donáth stated that she would “represent a socially-sensitive worldview with a greater emphasis on tackling the challenges of the 21st century, such as climate change.”

She added that “in the coming decades, we need to reorganize society around communities so that we have a chance to fight the climate catastrophe and the astonishing rise in the rate of inequality.”

“Strong communities and strong community action are needed at both the municipal and European-wide level. That is what I mean by a progressive, green, socially sensitive policy, and that is what I will represent as the head of the Momentum,” wrote the party’s new president.

The Momentum presidency became vacant after András Fekete-Győr, who had led the party from the beginning in 2017, lost a vote of confidence from board members after he placed last in the primary election to be the prime ministerial candidate of the joint opposition. However, the party still chose Fekete-Győr to lead their party list at next year’s elections as well as the head of the Momentum caucus in Parliament.


Momentum might get more applicants for party chair

Following Anna Donáth’s announcement of her candidacy for the chair of Momentum, HVG details the application process for prospective candidates. Those seeking to lead the party will have be convincing in word and speech, submit formal application materials, outline their plans in person, and convince the selection committee of their suitability for the post.

Applicants will have until November 7 to submit their materials to the committee, with the election set to take place on November 21.

District XI Deputy Mayor Anna Orosz is currently the acting chair of the party, assuming the role when founder András Fekete-Győr lost a vote of confidence and resigned following his poor showing in the first round of the opposition’s primary election. Orosz is currently the only other declared candidate for the post of party chair.

Anna Donáth announces candidacy for Momentum chair

Azonnali reports that Anna Donáth, one of Momentum’s representatives in the European Parliament, has decided to run for the post of party chair, joining Anna Orosz, who had previously announced her candidacy.

Orosz, a Vice-Mayor of the District XI government, is currently acting party chair, a post which has been left empty since party founder András Fekete-Győr resigned following his last-place showing in the opposition’s primary elections last month.

In a post announcing her candidacy, Donáth came out in support of a green, environmentally-focused agenda, and stronger communities to fight the climate catastrophe. The Momentum EP also promotes an active and supportive government for the future, which is essential in the fight against climate change.

The party expects to choose its new leader in November. [Azonnali]