Ten opposition women lawmakers have turned to the parliamentary speaker calling for the resignation of Fidesz MP János Pócs, after a video emerged of him “humiliating” one of his employees. In the footage which surfaced last month, Pócs can be seen locking a Roma employee of his into a furnace and threatening to set him on fire.
Addressing a press conference with fellow Democratic Coalition, LMP, Socialist, Párbeszéd and independent lawmakers, nationalist Jobbik’s Andrea Varga-Damm said it was “unacceptable in today’s Hungarian democracy to stigmatise and humiliate a community in this way”. She said that if Pócs were a member of Jobbik, the chief public prosecutor would have already ordered an investigation into the incident.
Tímea Szabó of Párbeszéd said Pócs’s actions were so “outrageous” that the politician should disappear from Hungarian public life altogether. She called on ruling Fidesz to publicly condemn Pócs’s actions and call for his resignation. Ágnes Vadai of the Democratic Coalition said that while Prime Minister Viktor Orbán “likes to present himself as someone who takes a stand against expressions of extremism”, he was unwilling to do what was necessary when it came to someone in his own party. The Socialist Party’s Zita Gurmai said that anyone who makes jokes about setting others on fire was not someone with a “bad humour”, but rather “simply a Nazi”. “In a normal country, a lawmaker would resign the day after such a video came out,” she said. “And if they didn’t, they should be expelled by their own party or group.”
The Liberal Party’s Anett Bősz, who sits as an independent in parliament, said the “Hungarian government’s anti-Semitism and racism are often not as covert as they seem”. She said Pócs had done “a great service to Fidesz by openly exposing the anti-Semitism and racism the Hungarian government keeps under wraps”. Bernadett Szél, another independent MP, also accused Pócs of being “openly anti-Semitic and openly racist”. She said the prime minister bore direct responsibility for tolerating the presence of “racist people” in his parliamentary group. LMP’s Krisztina Hohn said Pócs’s actions were unworthy of a lawmaker.
Commenting on the presser, Fidesz group leader Máté Kocsis said the opposition was applying double standards in the matter. Kocsis, addressing a press conference on a different subject, said his party would not take part in the “opposition’s campaign game” in which the left “is fine with” lawmakers listing Jews or the vandalisation of Jewish monuments, but demands that an MP resign after “some unfortunate friendly goofing around”. Asked to comment on the video itself, Kocsis said Pócs’s actions were “wrong and unfortunate” because “it can lead to harsh misunderstandings”. He said Pócs — who at the time of the recording of the video was not an MP — had given work to a lot of underprivileged Roma during his lifetime. Therefore every accusation of him being “anti-Roma” is false, Kocsis said.