Notable Quotes: Prime Minister Viktor Orbán

Fidesz Revolution

“It is not simply a matter of the sixth free election in Hungary. A much more important thing happened on this day in Hungary. Today a revolution took place in the voting booths.” 

—April 25, 2010, speaking after the Fidesz-Christian Democratic People’s Party alliance secured a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly following the 2010 general election (source in Hungarian).

“In 2010 Hungary pulled itself together and carried out a revolution.” 

—March 28, 2014, during an interview with the pro-government journalist Zsolt Bayer, referring to the 2010 National Assembly election that brought the second Orbán government to power (source in Hungarian at 4:29). 

“Over the past four years a revolution truly has taken place in this country. This revolution has taken place not on the streets and squares, but in the soul. It was fought not with swords and blood, but with the heart and faith.” 

May 10, 2014, after taking his oath of office as prime minister (source in English).

Duration of Power

“To tell the truth, I have always seen the 20 years between 2010 and 2030 as a unified era.”

May 10, 2018, after taking his oath of office as prime minister (source in Hungarian).

Restitution

“We are gentle and cheerful people, though we are neither blind nor are we pushovers. After the [2018 National Assembly] election we are naturally going to seek restitution—moral, political and legal restitution.” 

March 15, 2018, speaking at commemoration of the outbreak of the 1848 Hungarian Revolution (source in Hungarian).

Minority Government

“I have never led a minority government and I never will . . . It is not good for democracy. We need a majority government. If I do not have a majority, then someone else must form a government. If no one else is capable of doing so, we will go to new elections. There will not be a minority government, which in my view would be terrible for Hungary.” 

May 3, 2013, during interview with the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth (source in English).

Becoming President 

“The chance that I will be president of the republic are under zero.”

May 26, 2015 (source in Hungarian).

Christianity

“The way in which Christian origins, traditions and outlook upon life are not sufficiently acknowledged in the institutions of the European Union still hurts millions of European people to this day. Christianity is not only a religion, but is also a culture on which we have built a whole civilization. This is not a choice, but a fact. If people feel that European politics are fighting against their own origins and are ashamed to admit that we are really a Christian continent, this will only alienate more people from the European Union.” 

May 8, 2014, speaking at the European Forum Conference in Berlin (source in English).

“We openly divulge and acknowledge our objectives. We want a Hungarian Hungary and a European Europe. This is only possible if we also affirm that we want a Christian Hungary in a Christian Europe.” 

September 16, 2017, during speech at meeting of the Alliance of Christian Intellectuals in Budapest (source in Hungarian).

“Out of either carelessness or naiveté, the Western half of the not-so-long-ago still strong and Christian Europe is giving up its churches and getting rid of its religious symbols one after another and turning its back on its own culture, not even noticing that with this it is throwing away its own future.” 

October 1, 2017, during consecration of Hungarian Reformed church in Szászfenes (Florești), Romania (source in Hungarian). 

“We offer grateful thanks that divine grace has compensated for our weaknesses and our infirmities and has carried away our flaws. We also see God’s help in the fact that even though we must enter the fray against heavy forces, even global forces, we are still standing, we are still standing on our own feet. We regard the essence of our God-ordained responsibility in our government work to be the preservation of the life outlook which on the basis of Christ’s teachings has made Europe and the Hungarians [magyarság] great, has shielded them at times of danger and helped them through spiritual, intellectual and national crises.”

October 31, 2017, speaking at a commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation (source in Hungarian).

“They [George Soros and his “army”] believe in a multi-cultural Europe. They don’t like Christian Europe. The don’t like the traditions of Christian Europe. They don’t like Christians at all.” 

June 8, 2018, during interview on state-run Kossuth Radio (source in Hungarian from 00:29).

The Persecution of Christians

“The truth always begins with stating the facts. It is a fact that today Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world. It is a fact that today 215 million Christian people in 108 countries suffer some form of persecution. It is a fact that four out of five people who are oppressed because of their religion are Christians. It is a fact that in 2015, a Christian was murdered in Iraq every five minutes due to his or her religious conviction. And it is a fact that we see very little news about these events in the international press and it is a fact that we must use a magnifying glass in our search for political expressions [megnyilvánulás] condemning the persecution of Christians.” 

October 12, 2017, during speech at conference in Budapest regarding the persecution of Christians (source in Hungarian).

See entire article (193 quotes).

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Updated: Lajos Simicska

Lajos Simicska was regarded as the most powerful oligarch in Hungary from the time Viktor Orbán formed his second government in 2010 until his dramatic public rift with the prime minister in 2015 (see The Fury of an Oligarch Scorned).

Lőrinc Mészáros has supplanted Simicska as the most powerful oligarch in Hungary since the latter year.

Following his rupture with Orbán, Simicska turned against the FideszChristian Democratic People’s Party (KDNP) governing alliance and began to openly support the nationalist party Jobbik.

On July 4, 2018, Simicska sold nearly all the companies under his ownership to his longtime business partner Zsolt Nyerges (source in Hungarian). The opposition newspaper Népszava reported that Simicska had sent his 26-year-old son, Ádám, to the United States to prepare the ground for continuing his business activities there (source in Hungarian).

The term oligarch in its contemporary, Eastern European sense denotes a businessman (and rarely a businesswoman) who acquires significant wealth and political influence through his (or her) connections and allegiance to the government and uses this wealth and influence to provide the government with various means of support.

Background

Simicska was born in the city of Székesfehérvár (central Hungary, pop. 98,000) in 1960.

He attended the same high school in Székesfehérvár as Viktor Orbán, graduating in 1979—two years before the future prime minister of Hungary.

Simicska and Orbán then performed their mandatory service in the Hungarian People’s Army together in the city of Zalaegerszeg (western Hungary, pop. 60,000) in the years 1981–1982 (see Siss-boom-BANG!)

Simicska—as Orbán—subsequently attended the Loránd Eötvös University School of Law and Political Sciences in Budapest in the 1980s, though it is not known if Simicska graduated. While at the university, Simicska and Orbán both lived at the special residence hall for law students called the Bibó College (Bibó Szakkollégium). Simicska participated in the formation and early activities of Fidesz at the Bibó College, though was not among the 37 founding members of the party in 1988.

Political Career

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and ÁPEH President Lajos Simicska in March 1999 (photo: MTI).

Simicska assumed his first formal political position in 1993, when he became financial director of Fidesz (source in Hungarian). He then served as president of Hungary’s internal revenue service ÁPEH for just over a year at the time of the first Orbán government in 1998 and 1999.

Simicska did not appear in public for a period of 15 years from the time of his resignation as president of ÁPEH in August 1999 until attending the official inauguration of an equestrian center in western Hungary in September 2014. The weekly Magyar Narancs published the first updated photograph of Simicska in over 13 years on the magazine’s cover in December 2012.

Business Activities  

Simicska spent the next decade quietly building an opaque business empire centered on the formerly state-owned construction company Közgép (“Public Machine”). Simicska was so secretive about his business activities that although it had long been speculated that he had acquired a majority stake in Közgép, definitive proof that he actually owned the company emerged only in documentation submitted as part of a public tender in 2012 (source in Hungarian).

During this period, Simicska also acquired partial or total ownership over broadcast and print media including the news television station Hír TV, the radio stations Lánchíd Rádió and Class FM, the daily newspaper Magyar Nemzet, the weekly news magazine Heti Válasz and the weekday free sheet Metropol. These media explicitly supported Viktor Orbán and Fidesz.

In addition to construction and media, Simicska focused his business activities on outdoor-advertising, primarily via the companies Mahir Cityposter and Publimont.

Becoming an Oligarch

Simicska attained immense wealth following the return of Viktor Orbán to power as prime minister in 2010, primarily through the large number of state construction contracts awarded to Közgép beginning that year.

Közgép won 179.4 billion forints in public tenders from 2010 through 2013: 1.2 billion forints in 2010; 31.6 billion forints in 2011; 17.6 billion forints in 2012; and 129 billion forints in 2013 (source in Hungarian).

Közgép’s revenue rose almost threefold from 44.8 billion forints in 2010 to 129.8 billion forints in 2014 (source in Hungarian).

Simicska’s pro-Fidesz news media—Hír TV, Lánchíd Rádió, Magyar Nemzet and Heti Válasz— also began to generate significant profit during this period, much of which proceeded from government advertising. The aggregate post-tax profit of these four media nearly doubled from 876 million forints in 2012 to 1.7 billion forints in 2014 (source in Hungarian).

Simicska was ranked the tenth-richest person in Hungary in 2015 with estimated wealth of 73 billion forints (source in Hungarian). He had not previously appeared in the annual Napi Gazdaság ranking of the 100 wealthiest Hungarians due to the lack of transparency surrounding his business operations.

See entire article.

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