Hungarian police union links to far-right party
June 14, 2009
BUDAPEST (JTA) -- A Hungarian law enforcement officers' trade union has announced a wide-ranging collaboration accord with a far-right political party.
The accord with the Jobbik party appears to be in serious breach of the country's constitution, which enshrines that the security services be apolitical. Jobbik won nearly 15 percent of the vote in last week's European Parliament elections, and the formal link between the party and union has added to the concerns among Hungarian Jewry.
The New York-based Anti-Defamation League in a letter to Hungarian Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai over the weekend expressed its deep distress over the recent developments.
The union, called Tettrekesz -- Hungarian for "ready for action” and made up of some 5,300 active police officers -- has issued anti-Semitic statements in the past. Jobbik operates a private army that occasionally has clashed with the police.
The accord is ambiguous, with the union publicly promising to advise the party in the development of its law-and-order policy, and the party vowing to incorporate the major objectives of the union in its political program.
Tibor Draskovics, the minister of public order, has directed the police to investigate. Jozsef Bence, the chief of police, has passed the case on for action to the Directorate of Public Prosecution.
Until recently Judit Szima, the secretary general of Tettrekesz, enjoyed immunity from prosecution while she occupied the fourth position on Jobbik’s list of candidates in the EU elections. But her immunity was lifted as the party captured only three seats in the new European Parliament.