A row broke out in Parliament on Monday when Socialist MP Tamás Harangozó accused Prime Minister Viktor Orbán of no longer valuing freedom and seeking to retain power at any cost.
“You are now fighting a war with the so-called decadent free West… while there seems to be no dictatorship in the world where you wouldn’t go to build ties,” Harangozó said. He accused Orbán of a “strange and sick attraction to communist and post-communist dictatorships”.
Orbán responded: “I didn’t fight against the dictatorship in the eighties but against those who made the dictatorship. These were your fellow party members.” His party applauded him as he said it would not be “lectured to about democracy and freedom by the representative of a successor party to the communists”.
The Hungarian Socialist Party was established by the reform wing of the old communist party in 1989, when Harangozó was ten years old.
“[Orbán] has just confirmed, indeed stated, that the only problem with the system before 1990 was that it was not him sitting in [communist leader] János Kádár’s seat,” Harangozó was quoted as saying by news website index.hu.
The Socialist politician said Orbán has no moral authority to lecture him because his own party is riddled with former apparatchiks. “Take care of the communists and spies in your own government and party,” Harangozó told the prime minister.
Doubt cast as schools reassured on changes
The transfer of schools from local governments to state management will not affect the school year, education state secretary Rózsa Hoffmann told Parliament on Wednesday. Some 2,000, or half of the schools, are expected to be coordinated by the new Klebelsberg Institution Support Centre from 1 January 2013 once local governments have decided whether they will buy back the schools from state jurisdiction.
The transfer only affects assets and properties, to be managed by the Klebelsberg Institution. It will not lead to interventions in the professional independence of schools but will ensure that teachers are paid and schools do not go bankrupt, Hoffmann said.
The move has been condemned by opposition politicians. Green LMP MP Ágnes Osztolykán said the government is clearly nationalising schools, even though her party does not reject a major state role in education.
There are no funds or organisational structures ready to take over the schools and no spheres of responsibility have been drawn, Socialist MP Mónika Lamperth said.