Another Cleft in the Monolith

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Prime Ministry chief János Lázár (source: index.hu).

During an interview on the pro-government television station HírTV on November 29, 2014, Fidesz National Assembly caucus Deputy Chairman Zoltán Pokorni criticized party officials for their “lordly conduct” and “living like a lord,” referring to the opulent lifestyles of several members of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s inner circle, notably Prime Ministry chief János Lázár, Minister of External Economy and Foreign Affairs Péter Szijjártó, Fidesz National Assembly caucus Chairman Antal Rogán and Prime Ministry State Secretary in Charge of Government Communication András Giró-Szász (see The Spectacular Fall).

In an interview with the Hungarian News Agency MTI published on December 14, National Assembly Speaker László Kövér voiced support for Pokorni’s criticism (source in Hungarian):

Zoltán Pokorni’s statement urging self-restraint and rejecting lordliness was not useless, because he made it clear to those who sympathize with the party though feel alarmed as a result of its loss in popularity that we have not completely lost our minds and the ground under our feet.

In an interview published in the weekly Figyelő on December 18, Lázár responded to Pokorni and Kövér (source in Hungarian):

I consider Zoltán Pokorni’s statement to be a stab in the back. An attack that a political veteran launched against those standing at the front of the battle lines. With this he delivered a blow to András Giró-Szász, Antal Rogán, Péter Szijjártó and me. . . . And this statement also shows that the political veterans have resolved to bring the generation in their thirties and forties to heel.

Lázár also issued the following warning in the interview:

A political veteran should think over carefully the degree to which he weakens us either out of personal offense or political considerations, because with this he is weakening himself, putting himself to death.

Speaking on HírTV on December 22, Kövér replied to Lázár (source in Hungarian): 

I could repeat this warning literally in the same way to the young fighters as well if I were to pull on this glove, if I saw that this was a worthwhile debate.

Kövér concluded:

For me loyalty is one of the most important political virtues and it might also be that we made mistakes. At this same time, neither Pokorni nor I were guided by harmful intent, we just gave voice to an opinion that exists within the party.

These indirect attacks and counterattacks are evidence that a schism has occurred within the Orbán administration between the older generation of officials such as Kövér and Pokorni and the younger generation such as Lázár, Szijjártó, Rogán and Giró-Szász. This represents another cleft in the Fidesz monolith, one that converges with that proceeding from the conflict between Prime Minister Orbán and party oligarch Lajos Simicska (see Cleft in the Monolith).

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National Assembly Speaker László Kövér.

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