Prime minister has cultivated a group of friendly businessmen in what critics call crony capitalism
Across the road from Viktor Orban’s modest farmhouse in his childhood village of Felcsut stands a temple to the Hungarian prime minister’s passion: football. With a slate roof and wooden supports evoking illustrations from Hungarian folklore, the Pancho Arena — from the nickname of Ferenc Puskas, widely regarded as the country’s greatest footballer — seats 3,800.
The population of Felcsut, about 45km west of Budapest, is little more than 1,600. At the end of the road runs a narrow-gauge railway along which, three times a day, a little red tourist train chugs 6km to an even smaller village, Alcsutdoboz, where Mr Orban lived until he was 10.
The train, closed in the 1970s but reopened last year with €2m EU funding, is largely empty most days. The railway and stadium have been pilloried by the prime minister’s critics as vanity projects. But they have something else in common. Both were built, in part, by Felcsut’s mayor, and a childhood friend of Mr Orban, Lorinc Meszaros.
Continue reading Viktor Orban’s oligarchs: a new elite emerges in Hungary