The government has used a “misinterpreted” version of recent remarks by Ildikó Bangó Borbély, deputy group leader of the Socialists, to launch “a campaign of hatred and lies” against the opposition party and its supporters, Socialist leader Bertalan Tóth said. Bangó Borbély, answering a question concerning massive public support for ruling Fidesz on television last week, suggested that “there are many rats” in the country. Tóth said the government’s campaign was aimed at “diverting public attention from real problems such as health, looted EU funds, or diminishing media freedoms”. He insisted that Bangó Borbély’s remarks did not refer to Fidesz supporters and her words were “fully misinterpreted” and voiced support for her in her current post.
Socialist MEP István Ujhelyi said Hungary had a “rat government”, stressing that he was not referring to Fidesz voters. “What Fidesz has done to Hungary is disgusting, what they are doing is detrimental,” he said. Ujhelyi insisted that “rat as an epithet was not introduced by the Socialists”. He said that “hate mongering is one of Fidesz’s most important weapons” but warned that Facebook users might associate a “government of rats” when looking at a relevant advertisement by the ruling party. Since Friday, several Fidesz and government officials have called on Bangó Borbély to return her mandate in parliament.