Hungarian Left mired in huge campaign financing scandal

It is uncertain whether everything around the financing of the election campaign happened the way the left wing's latest prime ministerial candidate Peter-Marki Zay has claimed, Budapest Mayor Gergely Karacsony has said.


The scandal around the left wing’s campaign finances erupted in early September, when in a podcast, former prime ministerial candidate Peter Marki-Zay revealed that the Everyone’s Hungary Movement (MMM), led by him, had paid the last bills of the campaign from a donation worth hundreds of millions of Hungarian forints coming from abroad. The donor was the US-based Action for Democracy, chaired by David Koranyi, Budapest mayor Gergely Karacsony’s chief advisor. David Koranyi was state secretary and a key figure in the government of ex-PM Gordon Bajnai, the Hungarian daily Magyar Nemzet recalls, pointing out that

although Action for Democracy admitted in a statement that they provided support for MMM, they rejected any accusation that they have meddled in the election campaign. Action for Democracy says they provided the support to protect democratic values, increase voter turnout and promote the fairness of the vote.

However, it has since been proved that the donation was not put to use in this way, something Peter Marki-Zay had openly admitted. The former prime ministerial candidate said they received money for cultural projects, but among those he mentioned several campaign tools, such as a so-called “migrant counter”, and that the money was also used to fund the campaigns of MP candidates.

The left’s failed prime ministerial hopeful also added that they would not have conducted that kind of “cultural campaign,” had there not been parliamentary elections.

To clarify the question, a Magyar Nemzet journalist visited a conference held on 21 and 22 September, where David Koranyi was listed as speaker. The event called Budapest Forum 2022 was hosted by the George Soros-funded Central European University (CEU). Among its organisers are Political Capital, a think tank led by Peter Kreko, and the municipality of Budapest.

It only turned out at the event, however, that David Koranyi would only make an online appearance, but Miklos Hajnal, a politician of the leftist-liberal Momentum party, was also among members of the audience. When asked about the case related to campaign financing, he said the rules applying to associations are different from those related to parties. Mr Hajnal said he only knew what he read in the press about the case, while he himself was also actively engaged in the campaign.

Although former foreign minister Peter Balazs says he’s never heard about the scandal, when asked by a journalist about the hundreds of millions of forints that arrived from abroad, Budapest Mayor Gergely Karacsony said it’s uncertain whether everything is as the press claims. However, he did not wish to go into any further detail.



Hungary, leftists, scandal