IM of leftist party shadow government shrouded in suspicious haze

The Hungarian left-wing party announced the members of its shadow government on Monday. The Democratic Coalition (DK) party, led by failed ex-PM Ferenc Gyurcsany, picked his wife, Klara Dobrev, as shadow prime minister. Among the names in her shadow cabinet, Geza Zoltan Musto, shadow interior minister, was the only surprising choice. The politician, the deputy mayor of Budapest's 10th district, rose in the pecking order in Gyurcsany's party purportedly with the help of his convivial, unctuous style, while promoting himself as an "economic expert" and someone "coming from the world of multi-national companies", Magyar Nemzet found out. However, it turns out Geza Zoltan Musto scraped by as unemployed for years, and had no registered employment when he was elected deputy mayor. No credible information is available about his professional background.

POLITICS SEPTEMBER 20. 2022 13:56

Klara Dobrev has disclosed the members of her shadow cabinet.

Setting up a shadow government can be seen as a communications stunt, and as such, it carries no practical significance, nor can it bring substantial political gains.

However, there is one name on the list that catches the eye: Geza Zoltan Musto, deputy mayor of Budapest’s 10th district, a completely unknown actor in national politics until now, who was appointed as shadow interior minister.

Mr Musto’s role is all the more interesting because his person has been a source of tension within the Democratic Coalition (DK) for some time. Following the Hungarian Left’s disastrous election result in the spring, the party leadership decided to find important positions for new politicians who are competent – or appear to be – but less known in national politics. In short, they embarked on an infusion of fresh blood. Of course, all this conflicted with the interests of older party members, so a circle within DK began researching the past of the newbies. Geza Zoltan Musto seemed to be the most problematic among the novices.

Magyar Nemzet was contacted by politicians from DK, who informally shared a great deal of information about Musto. This is particularly interesting in light of the fact that in recent years, the Hungarian daily has sent many questions to the DK’s press department – and to the socialists (MSZP) – but had never received any answers.

The first big step up

Transferring from the 10th district to the Budapest municipality to replace Deputy Mayor Erzsebet Gy. Nemeth, who won a seat in parliament, would have been his first big move upwards within the party, sources say.

In the end, a decision taken by the Hungarian capital’s leadership by-passed him, landing Anett Bosz in the position of deputy mayor of Budapest.

Magyar Nemzet first contacted Musto in an e-mail to find out details about the appointment but the daily was directed to the DK’s press department, from where no response came, as usual. When the politician was asked about this personally on 22 August at the town hall in Kobanya, 10th District, he denied the nomination, gesticulating and grimacing vehemently.

Meanwhile, the politician’s colleagues at the municipality said that the deputy mayor himself told them about the casting process. His invitation was also informally confirmed from the ranks of the DK party.

Alleged CEO of a contact lens manufacturer

Geza Zoltan Musto is a very busy man, because he was earlier the CEO of a multinational company, several sources told us. We met people at the District 10 municipality who said that we should try to contact the deputy mayor after 8 pm, as he is often in the US, and that is when he usually answers the phone due to the time zone difference.

The paper was also informed by several sources that Musto told them the company in question is a US-Hungarian company producing contact lenses, adding that its premises are in a town near Budapest, possibly Gyal or Vecses.

The paper found only one company which fits the description, but when asked, they said they had never heard of Musto.

The paper does not know of any public biographies available online, and his colleagues also do not know anything about his professional background, apart from what he had told them. Meanwhile, he is the chairman of the District 10 DK party organisation, the deputy mayor of the district, and now a shadow interior minister. He is also said to be the vice president of the Budapest section of the DK party.

Magyar Nemzet sent Mr Musto several questions regarding his professional career, but received no response from him or his party.

When the paper’s staff met him in person at the end of August, he responded to the question about his CV by saying that “I don’ want to apply for a job at your paper,” and “advised us to dig up what we want to know. We did.”

Musto, the unemployed

The deputy mayor often says about himself that he came from the “world of multi-national companies,” the sources of Magyar Nemzet say. He even wrote on his Facebook page for a while that he is an “economic expert.” To the paper’s knowledge, Mr Musto has only one degree, that of a cultural organiser. The paper asked in vain about the relevant professional experience based on which he calls himself and economic expert.

Musto was an entrepreneur for years in the 2010’s, and then he was registered unemployed for a longer period, between 2013 and 2017, the paper writes.

He also did not answer the paper’s questions regarding that period, but according to the paper’s information, he was jobless also in the months before his election as deputy mayor. His only workplace identifiable based on public data is a company breeding dogs, of which he was a representative in the second half of the 2000s. The company exported puppies to the US, but it never sent Mr Musto on a business trip to the US, Magyar Nemzet writes.

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dk, Hungary, shadow government