Opposition primaries, a picnic in Kötcse, racism in the stadium and extended casino concession

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Opposition primaries begin

Debates between opposition candidates have started and will continue over the next three weeks.

Fragmented Hungarian opposition, constituted mainly of parties DK, Jobbik, LMP, Momentum, MSZP and Dialogue have decided to run together in the 2022 parliamentary elections, in a bid to have more chance of ousting firebrand Prime Minister Viktor Orban, in power continuously since 2010.

The joint opposition prime ministerial candidate and individual deputies are elected by primary elections to find out the best suited challenger in each electoral constituency. The first round of the primaries will take place between September 18-26, 2021, and the second round between October 4-10.

The idea of holding primaries has been mulled for many years, but has become reality only this fall.

The recipe is based on the successful cooperation of the opposition parties in the 2019 local elections, where one single candidate, representing the united opposition, challenged the Fidesz candidate.  As a result, opposition flipped over Budapest and ten of the major cities around the country.

One of the most sensitive questions about the primaries is how sharp the fight should be between those who later will have to fight a much harder battle against those representing the parties in power. In the American primaries, contestants of the same party clash hard without any particular inhibitions.

In Hungary for the time being, a more cautious attitude is typical so that the primaries do little or no damage to the heterogeneous alliance.

Party leaders had previously agreed on three debates between the Prime Ministerial candidates.  Main figures are Budapest Mayor Gergely Karacsony, Klara Dobrev, from DK, Péter Jakabb from Jobbik and Péter Márki-Zay from MMM. Two debates will be held before and during the first round (September 18-26) and one for the candidates in the second round, before the second round (October 4-10).

Participants agreed to the following final schedule:

  • September 12, 2021 - ATV
  • September 24, 2021 - RTL Klub
  • October 4-10, 2021. between - RTL Klub

According to Zoltán Novák, research director of Méltányosság Központ, the uncertainties and mistakes brought by this new type of contest will be dwarfed compared to what the primaries will bring to the opposition. 

“The opposition is constantly thematizing public discourse, and this is the first time it has been able to override the communication offenses of government parties in the long run,” he said, adding that Fidesz has not yet figured out how to react to the phenomenon.

Orban outlines strategies at Fidesz elite meeting in Kötcse

"Even if the EU disintegrates, we will be among the last to hold the last beam and work to stop and reverse the disintegration,” Prime Minister said at the Kötcse picnic, a traditional meeting of the Fidesz elite.

Opening the political season, the Kötcse picnic was held on Saturday, for the twentieth time, where Viktor Orbán exposed his strategies and spoke about international and domestic topics.

A sudden shift regarding the EU was perhaps most reported by local media. The government has been campaigning against Brussels and the European Union for many years, debates surged recently because of the growing number of conflicts (Szájer affairs, rule of law, withholding of resources, homophobic law. Etc..), there has been a proliferation in allegations that there was life outside the EU.  In Kötcse, Orbán said:

“For Hungarians, the European Union has been the most livable framework in recent decades, even though challenges are enormous.”

About next year’s general election, Orbán had outlined a “very complex and intricate” strategy, which was summarized as follows: “we win, they lose. This is the war plan. ”

The election has been simplified, according to Fidesz, because in 2022, the only choice left will be between a return to Hungary before 2010 and a policy that has been successful in the last 10-11 years.

Hungarian football fan's racism stir conflict

The Hungarian national football team suffered a very swift, four-goal defeat from England on Thursday night.

The afterlife of the match lingered on much longer, as Friday morning, both international news agencies and major Western newspapers all emphasized in their reports that English players were the subjects of racist insults during the match.

The basic tone of the match was set by the kneeling of English players: the protest against racism and any kind of discrimination was greeted with an extremely loud whistle in the Ferenc Puskás arena.

More scandalous moments came in the second half when the English started kicking goals. The first goal was scored by Manchester City striker Raheem Sterling, who took off his shirt during the celebration to commemorate his friend, who died young from an infection of the coronavirus. But this gesture did not touch the camp of Hungarian ultras, who tossed a load of glasses at the English player with.

There is a good chance that the Hungarian national team will have to play several world matches qualifiers behind closed doors. The national team already has a 2 + 1 match UEFA penalty for incidents during the European Championships that occurred in Hungary.

Hungarian chief of diplomacy Péter Szijjártó recognized the fact that there had been racism at the event but asked not to generalize. 

Casino concession in Budapest gets extended until 2056

Long before their expiration in 2024, casino concessions in Budapest were prolonged until 2056 without a tender.

The company, which operates the most valuable domestic casinos, the Las Vegas brand, received concession rights until 2056. The owners are István Garancsi (60%) and Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky (40%), the husband of the government spokesman Alexandra Szentkirályi.

According to Telex, the five casinos operated by LVC Diamond Games Casino Operations Ltd. generate an annual profit of 10 billion forints.

In the past, casino operations became a priority of national economic interest, but it was also possible for the minister or central body responsible for state supervision of gambling to reallocate the concession at the half of the expiration date of the previously concluded concession contract.

The news portal recalled that the whole sector is essentially close to government: the circle that now has a concession will take five casinos in Budapest, Gábor Szima is the main owner of the casinos in Debrecen and Nyíregyháza; Zoltán Rákosfalvy's establishment are in Győr, Pécs and Miskolc; there is also an Austro-Hungarian mixed-ownership casino in Sopron, 51% owned by Casino Austria and 49% by István Garancsi.

The decision was made essentially in complete secrecy, and Telex's attention was drawn to it only by a letter from a reader, who spotted the announcement on the website of the National gambling watchdog.

According to opposition prime minister-candidate Gergely Karácsony, "the government of greed, selfishness, cynicism would fill the pockets of his oligarchs with the casino concession with 30 million forints a day (!) For 35 years. I warn you today: we will also take it back."

He called on István Garancsi and Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky not to plan with this revenue because the new government would take back this casino concession.

"This government is clearly afraid of losing, and while packing it would also pack up what is not his. Little by little, they literally took over the whole country..."

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Új kommentelési szabályok érvényesek 2019. december 2-től. Itt olvashatod el, hogy mik azok, és itt azt, hogy miért vezettük be őket.