Orbán on Navalny: Chauvinists don't deserve respect, otherwise, may he rest in peace

February 26. 2024. – 04:26 PM


Orbán on Navalny: Chauvinists don't deserve respect, otherwise, may he rest in peace
Photo: Noémi Napsugár Melegh / Telex


Copied to clipboard

The spring session of the Hungarian Parliament started with an unusually long meeting: Prime Minister Viktor Orbán addressed the body first – this was the first time since the clemency scandal that he spoke in Parliament, where opposition MPs were also able to address him with their questions. The body is also scheduled to accept the resignation of Katalin Novák and immediately after, elect her successor, Tamás Sulyok for the post of President of Hungary. They will also be voting on Sweden's accession to NATO.

Viktor Orbán started his speech by addressing the events of the last few weeks which had shaken his government as well as the whole country. He said that the crimes committed in the children's home in Bicske raised serious concerns: why was the paedophile director only convicted the second time accusations had surfaced against him? The PM said that for this reason, he had ordered a screening of all the heads of such institutions.

"I respectfully thank the outgoing president for her work", he said, referring to Katalin Novák. The reason for Novák's resignation, according to the Prime Minister, was a decision on a clemency request, where only one right decision existed. "But since that was not the decision that was made, resignation was the correct thing to do".

Orbán said children deserved absolute, full protection. Offenders must be punished and sentences must be served. "There’s no mercy, there are no exceptions."

He also argued that it should not be possible for a convicted offender in a paedophile case to be released. He asked MPs to start reviewing the corresponding legislation, and tasked the courts with making decisions on currently pending cases with this in mind.

Mutually beneficial agreements with Sweden

The Swedish Prime Minister's recent visit to Budapest has contributed to "fair and respectful relations" between the two countries, Orbán said. Nevertheless, some differences of opinion remain between the two countries, he added.

He said that they had reached mutually beneficial agreements, which would strengthen the security of both countries.

Sweden's accession to NATO will strengthen Hungary's security as well, he said, and asked MPs to vote in favour of Sweden's accession to NATO.

He also reflected on the recent second anniversary of the beginning of Russia’s aggression on Ukraine:

"Hungary mourns the victims of the war in Ukraine, and sympathises with the hundreds of thousands of widows and orphans," he said. The Prime Minister then said that Hungarians have known from the beginning that there is no military solution to this conflict. "On the anniversary of the war, we are again calling for an immediate ceasefire and peace talks," he said.

Opposition: where is the apology?

Bence Tordai, leader of Párbeszéd-Zöldek, was the first opposition MP to speak and he began by saying:

"We have just heard Viktor Orbán spend 13 minutes coming up with explanations, deflecting and sometimes lying through his teeth".

We are still waiting in vain for someone from the government to apologise to the victims of the Bicske children's home," he added.

Even if the government has not done so in recent weeks, Tordai apologised and asked for the victims’ forgiveness on behalf of the National Assembly.

Dávid Bedő of Momentum said the Prime Minister spoke about everything but the main point: there is still no explanation as to why Endre K. was pardoned. "Did you think you had settled the matter by throwing Katalin Novák and Judit Varga under the bus?

Several opposition speakers noted that there is not a single person in the country who believes that the Prime Minister was not aware of the clemency case, since "everything is controlled from Karmelita". (former Carmelite Monastery, currently the PM's offices)

No respect for chauvinists

In his speech, Bence Tordai briefly paid tribute to the late Alexei Navalny, who died in a Siberian prison recently, and asked his fellow MPs to observe a minute's silence in memory of the Russian opposition leader. Neither the representatives of the Fidesz-KDNP governing coalition, nor the MPs of the far right Mi Hazánk stood up.

The Prime Minister later thanked the ruling party MPs for not standing up at Bence Tordai's initiative and "for keeping their cool on the Navalny issue. Chauvinists don't deserve respect. And we won't stand up to honour someone who referred to Georgians as rats during the Georgian-Russian war. Otherwise, may he rest in peace", Viktor Orbán said.

For more quick, accurate and impartial news from and about Hungary, subscribe to the Telex English newsletter!