Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban says that US billionaire George Soros intends to meddle in the country’s elections next year through his network of NGOs, vowing to use all means necessary to foil the alleged scheme.
Orban made the remarks during a Friday interview with the local Kossuth radio in the capital of Budapest, accusing his fellow Hungarian native of attempting to undermine the country’s institutions and society through the NGOs that he funds.
He further revealed that the Hungarian intelligence services had compiled a report on Soros’ activities.
“We want a different future, and... it was my duty to enlist all possible tools of the state, including intelligence, the secret services, legal and public debate,” Orban said. “Therefore, we ordered an intelligence report on the composition, workings and Hungarian and European influence of this Soros machinery... Hungary’s very existence is at stake.”
Citing the intelligence report, he also alleged that Soros was using his NGOs as a front for supporting opposition groups, which criticize the government’s position on immigration and foreign refugees.
Orban, whose ruling right-wing Fidesz Party is now leading in the polls, further said that Soros was plotting to utilize his NGO network to interfere in parliamentary polls due to take place in April.
“They will support publications, do propaganda, strengthen civil groups, and pay hundreds, thousands of people. By election time, they will establish ‘civil centers,’ which will work like campaigning parties, meaning the Soros network has entered the Hungarian election campaign,” he said.
A spokesman for Soros’ Open Society Foundations (OSF), meanwhile, confirmed that the group planned to open two more centers in the south and east of Hungary but claimed that they would handle education, healthcare, and poverty programs and would not get involved in immigration or politics.
The two men used to be on the same side during Hungary’s transition from communism, and in 1989, Orban himself was the recipient of a Soros grant to study at Oxford University, which he has since pledged to repay.
Soros has accused the current Hungarian government of being even more oppressive than the communist regime.
Despite the constant warnings about Soros from the Fidesz Party and its allies, the Hungarian police have yet to open a probe into his alleged subversive activities. In a statement released on Tuesday, Hungary’s National Bureau of Investigation (NNI) said there was no evidence of any actual law-breaking, and Soros’ expression of his opinion on immigration issues did not equal an incitement of violent unrest.