State Audit Office, led by a former pro-govt politician, fines opposition parties

Four opposition parties – Egyutt (Together), green LMP, Parbeszed (Dialogue) and Demokratikus Koalicio (Democratic Coalition) – have been fined by the State Audit Office. Egyutt is considering legal steps. According to Jobbik, that was fined 660 million forints, democracy is at stake in the case with the State Audit Office (ASZ). 

Jobbik’s party director Gabor Szabo wrote in his statement on Thursday:

“We are sorry that we were right when we warned after Jobbik’s 663 million fine that it’s Jobbik’s turn today, but tomorrow the other opposition parties, and the day after tomorrow any other social group will be targeted which is in the way of the government’s autocratic ambitions”.

According to ASZ’s statement, the parties currently under investigation have fifteen days to make any remarks, and the final reports are published afterwards. The statement stresses that in its investigations, ASZ always acts according to the applicable legislation, and according to the rules of procedure common to all parties.

Egyutt’s president Peter Juhasz told Inforadio: lawyers are analysing, what they can do. The party is turning to the international public and diplomatic bodies.

LMP co-chair Akos Hadhazy called the ASZ procedure “unbelievable”, and said that it was only meant to give the impression in the media (he was referring to pro-government media – HJ) that LMP had grossly violated party financing laws.

Earlier, ASZ fined Viktor Orban’s strongest opponent, Jobbik, because according to them the party received more than 330 million forints of illegal party financing in the first half of the year. The party’s full fine is 660 million forints.

Jobbik has put together a 25-page document containing its remarks and complaints to ASZ. Presenting the document in front of ASZ’s Budapest headquarters on Thursday, Jobbik group leader Janos Volner called the audit office’s findings “unlawful, untrue and unprofessional”. ASZ had not done everything in its power to carry out its audit of Jobbik in a lawful manner, Volner insisted.

ASZ is led by a former Fidesz lawmaker, Laszlo Domokos. In an interview with Origo, he said that the body can’t consider political factors, its duty is to ensure compliance with the law, independently from politics.

Hungary Journal

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