SMK chairman dismisses vote-buying allegations

BÉLA Bugár, the chairman of the Hungarian Coalition Party (SMK) voiced doubts about claims made by New Citizen's Alliance (ANO) Chairman Pavol Rusko last year that the governing coalition was involved in vote-buying in parliament.

BÉLA Bugár, the chairman of the Hungarian Coalition Party (SMK) voiced doubts about claims made by New Citizen's Alliance (ANO) Chairman Pavol Rusko last year that the governing coalition was involved in vote-buying in parliament.

At the end of 2005, Rusko published an audio-video recording of a conversation he had had with his former party colleague, Iveta Henzélyová, in which she told him that before the September parliamentary session she had been offered financial help to reconstruct her house in exchange for her vote.

Shortly after the publication of the recording, Henzelyová said that it was a fake and that she had never said anything like that to Rusko. Prosecutors later confirmed the authenticity of the recording, however.

Bugár said he had heard that some ANO MPs had attempted to curry favour with Rusko by saying that they also had been offered incentives from other parties.

"I was told that some of his MPs were going to him and saying: 'You see? I too have been approached, but I remained loyal to you...' I don't know what they received for this from their chairman," said Bugár.

Rusko described Bugár's comments as "shocking".

"If Bugár is interested in investigating the truth about corruption in parliament, he should get in touch with investigators as soon as possible," ANO spokeswoman Magda Krasulová told the TASR news agency.

Police continue to investigate the case.


- Martina Jurinová

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