Hungary's Orban to Reportedly Set Soros as Key Campaign Issue

Speaking to lawmakers of his party in a closed meeting, Hungarian PM Viktor Orban said that fighting billionaire George Soros will be his central campaign theme

FILE PHOTO: Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban arrives for the NATO Summit in Warsaw, Poland on July 9, 2016.
Kacper Pempel/REUTERS

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban reportedly said that fighting billionaire George Soros' perceived agenda will be the prime minister's key campaign theme in next year's general elections, the Hungarian Origo news website reported.

During the meeting with lawmakers of his Fidesz party, Orban reportedly told lawmakers of his plan to hold a "national consultation" to survey voters' views on what it calls the "Soros plan" on migration, insisting that his chances for reelection rely on the Soros plan's failure.

Soros' spokesman Michael Vachon in July dismissed the idea that the financier and philanthropist was promoting a scheme to import millions of illegal immigrants into Europe."Soros's actual position on migration is that the international community should provide more support to the developing countries that today host 89 percent of refugees and that Europe should accept several hundred thousand fully screened refugees through an orderly process of vetting and resettlement," he said.

Soros, a Hungarian-born Jew who has spent a large part of his fortune funding pro-democracy and human rights groups, has repeatedly been targeted by Hungary's right-wing government, in particular over his support for more open immigration.

Orban faced charges of stoking anti-Semitism earlier this year with a billboard campaign targeting the philanthropist.  After Israeli Ambassador to Hungary Yossi Amrani called on Orban to remove the posters on grounds of anti-Semitism, the Foreign Ministry retracted the statement on Prime Minister Netanyahu's orders.

Yair Netanyahu, the son of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, posted an image on his Facebook page Saturday that seems to suggest a conspiracy is behind his family’s growing legal problems.

The meme is laden with anti-Semitic imagery, featuring a photo of Soros dangling the world in front of a reptilian creature, who dangles an alchemy symbol in front of a caricatured figure reminiscent of the anti-Semitic “happy merchant” image.