23 Jan 2018

Is Hungary a healthy democracy?

The Hungarian prosecutor's office is investigating a deal between the government and a power company previously co-owned by the prime minister's son-in-law.

Ivett Körösi
Ivett Körösi Nepszava, Hungary
Source: Nepszava
Is Hungary a healthy democracy? - NewsMavens
Hungarian parliament, Wikicommons

Why this story matters:

In a healthy democracy, a corruption scandal involving the son-in-law of the Prime Minister would most probably lead to the resignation of the leader of the government. Such serious allegations usually end a political career. We will see how things will evolve in Hungary. In a sense, the outcome of this issue will be a test.

It is a positive sign, that the prosecutor’s office started an investigation. For a long time, many Hungarians had the feeling that the system of checks and balances was not functioning anymore.

The past years have been hallmarked by the enrichment of family members of leading politicians.

In some cases, average citizens became successful businessmen and businesswomen literally overnight. NGOs and opposition politicians often rang the alarm bell, but authorities could not care less.

But this time they will not be able to ignore the European Union's findings. 

For more on the possible consequences of this issue, click on the article below. 

politics,corruption,illiberalism

Details from the story:

  • After a two-year probe, the EU's Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) found "serious irregularities" and a "conflict of interest" in public lighting contracts involving Elios Innovativ Zrt.
  • The company is linked to Istvan Tiborcz, the son-in-law of the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
  • Because Elios used EU funds, OLAF recommended withholding 43 million euros of EU funds from  the Hungarian government. 
  • OLAF is not authorized to prosecute Elios, so the Hungarian prosecutor's office has taken the case.
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