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Hungarian politician fined €12,000 for giving PM Viktor Orbán potatoes in Parliament

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The Jobbik party leader Péter Jakab has accused the prime minister of buying the votes of people kept in poverty.
The Jobbik party leader Péter Jakab has accused the prime minister of buying the votes of people kept in poverty.   -   Copyright  Zoltan Mathe/MTI via AP
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A Hungarian politician has been fined around €12,000 for attempting to give potatoes to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in parliament last week.

Péter Jakab, the leader of the right-wing Jobbik party, was fined 4.4 million Hungarian forints (HUF) for the gesture by the Speaker of the National Assembly, László Kövér.

On 20 October, Mr. Jakab attempted to place a bag of potatoes on the Prime Minister's desk, a reference to recent electioneering allegations.

Opposition politicians have accused Orbán's ruling Fidesz party of buying votes in a recent by-election in Borsod by giving potatoes to those in poverty.

But Péter Jakab was prevented from reaching the Prime Minister by several Fidesz representatives.

"This is how illiberalism works," tweeted Péter Jakab on Monday after announcing that he had been fined for the gesture.

"He who thinks that this punishment is all about me is wrong," Jakab added on Facebook, indicating that he would appeal the decision.

"That’s how much it costs Orbán to face the truth today."

A spokesperson for the National Assembly of Hungary told Euronews that Péter Jakab's actions were a "blatantly insulting act" and confirmed that the politician had been fined HUF 4,413,600 (€12,025).

Under Hungarian law, members are prohibited from "grossly offending or intimidating" the National Assembly or the dignity of any person or party.

Politicians violating the rules on disciplinary conduct can be excluded or banned from sitting in the parliament by the Speaker and face fines of at least two months' salary.

The National Assembly spokesperson added that the Speaker had decided Péter Jakab's fine in line with the regulations.

The Jobbik party leader has previously hit out at Prime Minister Orbán over the Hungarian government's request to rule by decree during the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking in March, Péter Jakab said the law placed the whole of Hungarian democracy in quarantine.

The Hungarian Parliament voted to revoke the law in June but did not set a precise end date.