Gergely Gulyas – Photo: MTI

Gulyas flags possible election interference from abroad

The prime minister's chief of staff has flagged the possibility of interference from abroad in Hungary's upcoming general election.

Gergely Gulyas added, however, that such an intervention would not change the outcome.

In the interview in the weekly Democrata, Gulyas noted the Hungarian government’s “opposition to the European mainstream” on key issues, and he warned of “an attack” from abroad rather than “recognition” of the government’s policies.

Referring to “the western European elite”, he insisted it wanted to take over “the helm of Hungary’s ship”.

The minister said this elite was “pro-immigration, pro-LGBTQ, and internationalist”. “We, a sovereign country, reject any foreign intervention.”

On the topic of Hungary’s referendum on child protection which will be held in parallel with the April 3 general election, Gulyas said Hungary itself, not “LGBTQ propagandists”, would be in charge of legislation on raising children.

Gulyas said the ruling parties’ campaign would make clear how much was at stake in the election, with the successes of the past decade pitted against the failures of the decade before that.

He spoke of plunging unemployment, massive wage rises, and the highest family benefits in Europe in proportion to budget spending. Meanwhile, the government cut taxes on labour, restored the 13-month pension and handed 1.1 million Hungarians from near abroad citizenship, he added.

On the subject of the united opposition, Gulyas said the left wing had set itself the aims of expunging the former Socialist prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsany from their orbit and isolating the one-time radical nationalist Jobbik party. Now, the left wing, he said, was under the leadership of Gyurcsany, who had Jobbik “in a brotherly embrace”.

Gulyas said it was unlikely a public debate would take place between the respective prime ministerial candidates, arguing that it was clear from the recent period that few believed Peter Marki-Zay, the united opposition’s candidate, was the real leader of the left wing. Any policy proposal would have to have Gyurcsany’s seal of approval to pass, he added.

On the topic of the pandemic, the minister said hopefully the fifth wave would soon be over but the health system was up to the task of handling the situation. He expressed thanks to health-care workers.

Addressing the opposition demand that VAT on food is reduced to 5 percent, noted the government had already reduced VAT on chicken and pork, fish, milk and eggs to five percent.

He said that unlike the left wing, the government promoted wage increases based on the strong performance of the economy, and he referred to economic growth last year of “7 percent, the first time since the [1990 change of political system]”.

Gulyas said teachers should get paid more but, he added, their recent strike had been “political” and organised by several trade union leaders who backed the opposition. He said the government planned a 30 percent wage increase for teachers over the next three years.

Referring to Katalin Novak, Fidesz’s nominee for President of the Republic, Gulyas noted she had been in charge of the country’s family support system and was best placed to express national unity at home and abroad.

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