Hungary — Where a 22 year old Fidesz operative is appointed Deputy Minister of State

In most countries, it would be difficult to imagine a 22 year old who has yet to complete a university education and having no relevant professional experience being appointed Deputy Minister of State. Hungary, it would appear, is the land of such possibilities, provided one is a demonstrably faithful to Fidesz, the ruling party. This week, we learned that Katalin Novak, Minister of State for Family, Youth and International Affairs, appointed 22 year old Zsófia Rácz to become Hungary’s new Deputy Minister of State for Youth and Equal Opportunity. Ms. Rácz replaces Boglárka Illés, who left this position in order to lead Fidelitas, the ruling party’s youth wing.

Left: Ms. Novák. Right: Ms. Rácz.

Not much is known about Ms. Rácz, except that she is a law student and previously served as Hungary’s youth delegate to the United Nations. She also spent six months on a scholarship in Washington DC and worked with the Center for Fundamental Rights (Alapjogokért Központ). The Center is known for its close ties to the ruling party. The following is at the heart of the Center’s mandate:

“The Center considers preserving national identity, sovereignty and Christian social traditions as its mission, especially amongst the 21st century’s heightened process of globalization, integration, geopolitical and technological changes, affecting the field of law as well. Besides these, it is a well-known aim of the Center to form a counter against today’s overgrown human rights-fundamentalism and political correctness that have been affecting numerous aspects of our everyday life.”

Our readers may not be at fault for raising an eyebrow about the fact that an employee of a centre that speaks of “overgrown human rights fundamentalism” has now become a junior minister in charge of equal opportunity.

The Center also has strong views on homosexuality. On its Facebook page, the Center shared an article from Fidesz tabloid Origo about a church in Sweden which unveiled an LGBTQ-inclusive altarpiece on the occasion of Advent. St. Paul’s Church unveiled the work of Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin and noted: “We are grateful to Elisabeth’s artistry, which enables us to build a credible church that shows that we all, regardless of who we love and identify as, are accommodated in Paradise.”

The “research center” offered the following analysis when it shared this news item: “Sweden is not a country. It is a symptom.” One comment from a supporter of the Center read: “To be 100% Swedish is an illness.” Another supporter of the Center exclaimed: “psychopathic animals!” Yet another comment offered the following conspiracy theory: “This is not about the Swedes. Over there, the murder of society is simply in a more advanced phase, and this process is being spread by those who push international capital, so that there may be no obstacle to them obtaining living space and to promoting globalization.”

It isn’t a new phenomenon that junior ministers are sometimes political appointees. But in the past, a little more care was placed on at least creating the impression that the appointee had relevant professional experience or at least was not hostile to the new portfolio, which in this case is effectively human rights and the rights of vulnerable demographics. It would appear that in this instance, political loyalty and involvement as a de facto political operative were the only considerations.

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