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Brussels Covid lockdown orgy: Hungarian MEP for anti-LGBT party resigns

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A Hungarian MEP who co-founded Viktor Orban’s anti-LGBT Fidesz party has resigned after he was caught by police breaking lockdown to attend a mostly-male orgy in Brussels.

Jozsef Szajer, who helped write Hungary’s constitution, allegedly tried to flee the 25-person orgy through a window on Friday night, attempting to shin down a drainpipe but hurting himself in the process.

Caught by police, he then tried to claim diplomatic immunity before being let off with a warning. Many of the men inside were ‘stripped and naked’ as they tried to flee, according to police – while local media reported that the ‘naked’ party attendees also included EU diplomats, who have not been identified. 

Brussels prosecutors told AFP that 20 men were caught at a city centre party on Friday and fined 250 euros each. Aside from the MEP, two guests invoked diplomatic immunity. Local press called it a ‘sex party’ in an apartment in a quarter of the historic centre known pre-lockdown for its gay bars. 

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Szajer, 59, resigned on Sunday and initially gave no explanation – saying only that he was under ‘mental strain’. But on Tuesday, as news of the orgy began to circulate, he admitted being at the party and offered a full apology.

He also admitted receiving a police caution and was found in possession of ecstasy, but he denied taking drugs or knowing about the pill found on him. He also apologised to his family for breaking Covid-19 restrictions. 

It is the latest in a series of scandals involving members of Viktor Orban’s Right-wing Fidesz party Fidesz, which has vocally heralded Hungary’s role in defending Christian family values.  

Hungarian prime minister Orban is a prominent critic of the liberal political culture of Western Europe, and has laid his political power on a foundation of what he calls ‘illiberal’ Christian democracy.

The Brussels prosecutor’s office said a suspect identified by Szajer’s birth year and initials was arrested after a passer-by reported seeing a man ‘fleeing along the gutter’. 

‘The man’s hands were bloody. It is possible that he may have been injured while fleeing,’ the statement said. ‘Narcotics were found in his backpack. The man was unable to produce any identity documents. A report was also drawn up for S.J. for violation of the narcotics legislation.’

But there will be no prosecution unless the European Parliament is persuaded to waive the MEP’s immunity.

‘I was present,’ Szajer admitted, in a statement distributed by his conservative political group the EPP. ‘After the police asked for my identity – since I did not have ID on me – I declared that I was a MEP. The police continued the process and finally issued an official verbal warning and transported me home.’ 

Jozsef Szajer, a Hungarian MEP for Viktor Orban’s right-wing Fidesz party has resigned after he was caught breaking lockdown to attend a ‘mostly male’ orgy with 25 others in Brussels

Right-wing Fidesz’s fierce anti-LGBT policies

He added: ‘I deeply regret violating the COVID restrictions, it was irresponsible on my part.’ 

In a statement to the Hungarian press, Szajer said: ‘A newspaper ran in the Belgian press today a story about a house party in Brussels on Friday that I was attending.  After the police asked for my identity – because I didn’t have an ID card in my pocket – I declared that I was a Member of the European Parliament. 

‘The police dealt with the case, gave me a verbal warning and brought me home. I didn’t use drugs, I offered to the police on the spot to have an official test done, but they didn’t. 

‘Police said an ecstasy pill was found. It’s not mine, I don’t know who brought it or how. I made a statement to the police about this. I am sorry that I have violated the rules of assembly, it was irresponsible on my part, I will take the penalties for that.’  

Earlier reports had suggested that Szajer attempted to flee the party out of a window and escape down a drainpipe, but he hurt himself in the process and was caught. Belgian media reported that he had initially tried to claim diplomatic immunity. 

Diplomats were also said to have taken part in the secret party, which was on the first floor above a cafe, where drugs were also found. It is believed that all those involved were let off with a fine and a warning. 

Fidesz called him ‘the best-known and most-recognised Hungarian member of the European Parliament’. 

In his resignation statement, Szajer said it ‘has nothing to do with the current, animated policy debate taking place on the European level’ – a reference to the deadlock between Hungary and Brussels over its controversial veto along with Poland of the bloc’s long-term budget and coronavirus recovery fund. 

Szajer, a Fidesz founding member, was one of the lead architects of Hungary’s new constitution in 2011, which was criticised by opponents for emblazoning conservative Christian ideology. 

He had also served as a vice chair and chief whip of the EPP conservative grouping in the assembly, and as chairman of the Fidesz delegation, he was also in charge of the contact between his party and the group.

After Orban came to power in 2010 Szajer was put in charge of drafting a new constitution, which he said he partly wrote on an Apple iPad on the train between Brussels and Strasbourg.

The socially conservative text sparked controversy, including a definition of ‘the institution of marriage as between a man and a woman’ as well as ‘the basis of the family and national survival’. 

In May, the party passed laws that mean transgender people will not longer be able to change their identities – defining a person’s gender by the number of chromosomes they were born with.  

Fidesz openly opposes equal rights for gay people, and last month proposed amending the constitution in such a way as to guarantee that only heterosexual married couples will be able to adopt children.  

Szajer allegedly tried to flee through a window as police busted in the door (pictured) but was hurt climbing down a drainpipe and caught

Szajer allegedly tried to flee through a window as police busted in the door (pictured) but was hurt climbing down a drainpipe and caught

The party is led by Orban, a self-styled strongman who has been Prime Minister of Hungary since 2010 and been rebuked by the EU for reforms which have concentrated power in his position.  

During the coronavirus crisis he has passed legislation allowing him to bypass parliament and rule by decree indefinitely. He has also launched anti-Semitic attacks on Jewish businessman George Soros, accusing him of being behind Europe’s migrant crisis, and has spoken out against LGBT people. 

The EPP suspended the membership of the Hungarian conservative party in the group in March 2019 amid controversy over Orban’s increasingly authoritarian rule and crackdown on independent press and NGOs. 

Belgium, once one of Europe’s coronavirus hotspots, went into a strict national lockdown on October 30 as Covid-19 cases and deaths soared to one of the highest rates in Europe.

All non-essential shops were closed, people were banned from socialising indoors unless in a three-person ‘bubble’, and gatherings outside were limited to four.

Those measures were eased slightly starting on Tuesday this week, but only so that retail shops could open. All other shops, including bars and restaurants, must remain shut while a curfew in Brussels remains in place.  

Szajer’s resignation is the latest scandal to have hit Fidesz, with a Budapest court sentencing Fidesz member and former Hungarian ambassador to Peru Gabor Kaleta to a one-year suspended prison sentence and fineing him for possessing more than 19,000 sexually explicit images of minors.

In 2019, video was leaked of Fidesz politician Zsolt Borkai participating in an orgy on a yacht in the Adriatic Sea. Borkai, the mayor of a medium-sized city 70 miles from the capital of Budapest, was re-elected that month despite the scandal, and Fidesz said it considered the issue ‘a private matter.’

Viktor Orban: The Right-wing strongman who has reduced Hungary to authoritarianism by cracking down on press freedoms and restricting civil liberties 

Viktor Orban is Hungary's longest-serving premier, having ruled the eastern European country continuously since 2010

Viktor Orban is Hungary’s longest-serving premier, having ruled the eastern European country continuously since 2010

Viktor Orban is Hungary’s longest-serving premier, having ruled the eastern European country continuously since 2010. He was also Prime Minister between 1998 and 2002, and has been president of the Right-wing nationalist party Fidesz since 1993.

Orban was born in Székesfehérvár in May 1963, studying law before entering Hungarian politics in the wake of the 1989 Revolutions which swept through the former USSR at the end of the Cold War.

In the same year, he demanded the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Hungary in a speech which shot him to national fame. As Hungary transitioned to democracy in 1990, Orban was elected to the country’s National Assembly and served as the leader of Fidesz’s parliamentary caucus until 1993.

The party underwent a political shift under his leadership, away from its liberal and pro-European integration platform towards Right-wing nationalism.

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Orban was appointed prime minister for the first time after the 1998 election. He was ejected from high office after losing the 2002 election to the Socialist Party, and became Leader of the Opposition for the period until his landslide election victory in 2010 — as the government fell out of favour with the public following the 2008 financial crisis.

Orban then formed a coalition with the Christian Democrats to gain a super-majority in the National Assembly, which he used to ram through major constitutional and legislative reforms.

In 2011, Orban’s government drafted and passed a new constitution which included support for traditional values, nationalism, Christianity, and electoral reform which lowered the number of seats in the country’s parliament from 386 to 199. The constitutional changes were accused of centralising legislative and executive power, curbing civil liberties, restricting freedom of speech, and weakening the Constitutional Court and judiciary.

Orban’s critics, who include Hillary Clinton, Angela Merkel, and Jean-Claude Juncker, have accused him of pursuing anti-democratic reforms, cracking down on press freedoms, reducing the independence of the judiciary and central bank, cronyism, and amending the constitution to prevent amendments to Fidesz-backed legislation.

Orban has also been accused of cracking down on LGBT rights, including preventing the legal recognition of transgender Hungarians and banning same-sex marriage.

During the 2015 migrant crisis which rocked Europe, Orban ordered the erection of a Serbo-Hungarian barrier to block the entry of illegal migrants so that Hungary could register migrants arriving from Serbia. At the time, migrants were passing into Hungary from Serbia, which had a responsibility under the Dublin Regulation to register the migrants.

Orban has openly promoted the Great Replacement conspiracy theory, stating: ‘If Europe is not going to be populated by Europeans in the future and we take this as given, then we are speaking about an exchange of populations, to replace the population of Europeans with others.’ 

Writing about the EU’s decision to welcome scores of migrants into the bloc, Orban said: ‘Europe’s response is madness. We must acknowledge that the European Union’s misguided immigration policy is responsible for this situation’.

Orban’s policy on migration was criticised by businessman George Soros, who said: ‘His plan treats the protection of national borders as the objective and the refugees as an obstacle.’ The Hungarian government began attacking Soros and his NGOs in 2017, particularly for his support for more open immigration. 

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Hungarian parliament voted 137 to 53 to pass laws creating a state of emergency without a time limit, granting Orban the power to rule by decree and suspend the parliament with no elections. Under the state of emergency, Orban could also impose prison sentences for spreading ‘fake news’ and breaches of Covid-19 quarantine. The law granting the power to rule by decree was lifted on June 16.

 

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