Antal Rogán, who simultaneously serves as the head of Fidesz’s parliamentary group, the head of parliament’s economic committee, and the mayor of Budapest’s inner District V, is well known to suffer from two weaknesses: A love of luxury, and unquenchable thirst for media exposure. This week, the two collided in a way that could have ended very badly for himself and his party.
It all started out rather harmlessly, with a short “color” item in tabloid Blikk on Sunday about how Rogán and his family were enjoying their family holiday in France, with a cute picture of the Rogáns posing next to an oversized statue of a swan (left).
Unfortunately for Rogán, someone quickly identified the swan as being on the grounds of the super-luxurious Four Seasons Hotels and Resort Provence at Terre Blanche and by the following night the fideszfigyelo blog had a blistering piece detailing how much it would have cost for Rogán to have stayed there for a week: Something in the neighborhood of the roughly Ft 2 million that the average Hungarian wage-earner grosses in a year.
According to an acute observer of Hungarian politics we know, Rogán’s self-inflicted wound (Rogán or his people presumably sent the picture to Blikk) was probably the worst thing that could happen to him or Fidesz. As this person put it, the average Hungarian voter generally won’t get upset about stories of billions or trillions of forints going missing, because in a country where most people have never had HUF 1 million in cash savings, billions and trillions are just theoretical. But everyone can grasp the idea of a politician paying HUF 500,000 a night for a hotel room.
No doubt Rogán agrees, because his people quickly put out the word that he and the family had actually stayed at a friend’s house near the Four Seasons, and were only dropping by the resort when they had the pic snapped. Whether this is true or not we have no idea, though if anyone wants to ask him directly note that a good place to find him is Nobu Budapest.