Close Ally to Hungary’s Orban Quits Party After Lockdown Scandal

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A Hungarian politician with deep ties to Prime Minister Viktor Orban resigned from the Fidesz ruling party after admitting he broke quarantine rules to go to a social gathering in Brussels.

Jozsef Szajer went to a party Friday night, according to the Belgian public prosecutor’s office. Narcotics were also found in his backpack, the prosecutors’ office said. Szajer said in a statement that the drugs did not belong to him.

He resigned his post in the European Parliament over the weekend and has apologized for his behavior. He now also has quit Fidesz in a move that was welcomed by Orban.

Such action has “no place in the values of our political family,” Orban said in a statement Wednesday. “We will not forget nor repudiate his 30 years of work, but his deed is unacceptable and indefensible.”

The incident comes at sensitive time for Orban and his Polish allies, who are entrenched in their effort to block the European Union’s $2.2 trillion spending plan over objections to attaching rule of law conditions to funding.

Szajer, 59, was a founding member of the ruling Fidesz party in the late 1980s. He was a lead writer on Hungary’s controversial new constitution that was passed over opposition objections after Orban returned to power in 2010.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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