Budapest Mayor in sharp conflict with Fidesz group

Budapest, October 4 (MTI) – Conflicts between Budapest Mayor Istvan Tarlos and ruling Fidesz party have sharpened to such a degree that the Fidesz group has submitted an ultimatum to the mayor and written to Prime Minister Viktor Orban, website origo.hu reported on Thursday.

According to the website, Orban has declined to deal with the issue personally but instructed Janos Lazar, state secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office, to gather information about the conflict. Signatories to the letter, Istvan Gyorgy and Zoltan Nemeth, declined to comment on the matter to origo.hu.

 

Under the ultimatum submitted to Tarlos at a September meeting, the Fidesz politicians demanded the removal of Tarlos’s advisor Gyorgy Mitnyan and the head of the Budapest Municipality Security Office Gyorgy Peto. They also demanded that the right to appoint heads to companies run by the metropolitan council should be stripped from Tarlos and handed to the general assembly. They also warned Tarlos not to demote David Vitezy, head of the Budapest Transport Centre (BKK).

 

According to origo.hu, the Fidesz representatives said they would be ready to join forces with main opposition Socialist councillors if need be in order to reduce the powers of the mayor. The Socialists, however, have refused to cooperate, the website said.

 

In retaliation, Tarlos has threatened to withdraw all of the powers of Istvan Gyorgy as deputy mayor, the website said.

 

Speaking on commercial television ATV on Thursday evening, however, Tarlos said that “the news is full of nonsense” and dismissed the idea that Fidesz representatives would seek support from the Socialists. “It would be a sign of weakness if anybody turned to the opposition on behalf of the whole group,” he said.

 

Tarlos said that his powers, stipulated by law, could not be reduced “through lobbying”. He confirmed that the Fidesz group had requested removal of his two advisors, but added that they “did not have a say” in the composition of the mayor’s cabinet.

 

At a meeting on Wednesday, the Budapest Municipal Council failed to achieve quorum on a vote to take over the liabilities of the CET commercial centre housed in a revamped historical warehouse district on the banks of the Danube. This is because Tarlos abstained.

 

Tarlos told public television on Thursday that he had decided not to vote on the proposal to take over the some 800 million forints (EUR 2.8m) in liabilities due to the large sum of money and because the centre has not been awarded a certificate of completion, without which none of the invoices from contractors can be paid.

 

The city of Budapest took over the CET project, which was to be built in a public private partnership, after representatives of the local council and the project’s general contractor recorded their intent to reach an agreement on the matter in the summer. The municipality took over the complex from general contractor WHB in line with a decision by the Municipal Court of Appeals.








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