Gábor Fodor, 15. 6. 1988, Budapest, Hungary


Location Budapest, Hungary
Date 15. 6. 1988
Length 06:52

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What is Fidesz trying to do?

Now, Fidesz wants to make a political organization. You know in Hungary there is a youth organization, this is the Communist Youth Organization. And the biggest part of the Hungarian youth isn’t member in this organization. Only the, a very little part of the Hungarian youth is member in this organization, and we told that this biggest part had also have a political opinion, and the Fidesz wants to make some ways to create this political opinion and political thinking. This is the aim of the Fidesz now.

What is it that the party’s youth organization doesn’t do, that you think you can do?

Fodor: Yes, the party organization, a lot of things he doesn’t do. For example, they haven’t any opinion on very, very hard and very, very important questions. For example, in the power station which is now being built on the Danube, and about the Transylvanian situation, about the political pluralism, and about the parties in Hungary, and a lot of very important political questions there hasn’t been any opinion, or if they had any opinion, it is a very, very special communist thinking.

Who opposes you, your organization?

For example, the Party, and the KISZ, the Communist Youth Organization.

And why do they oppose you?

Because the party and the KISZ is also afraid very much of this organization, because this means another, a lot of organizations, political organizations can create in Hungary as large as the Fidesz, for example political parties.

What has happened to some members of Fidesz?

For example, they got some police warnings, and got some invitations to the police. And the policemen said to them, if they make some organization working, they will start a criminal, criminal prosecution, yes. And some days later the prosecutor also gave an invitation for these Fidesz members, and they prosecuted them as some criminals against the state, and the Fidesz members were not afraid of this.

What will happen if the courts rule that Fidesz isn’t a legal organization? What will you do?

We stopped in this… we stopped the organization, because in Hungary we had a lot of illegal organizations, and we don’t make another illegal… this is like a precedent. So, we make an example for this, how can we fight for our rights in Hungary against the communist party. I am a lawyer, I studied law in the university, and a lot of people studied law at the university in the Fidesz. We know that Fidesz is a legal organization, it’s legal.

What if the court says it is illegal then? What you think would have happen?

We stopped the organization, and if somebody wants to make…, they make a movement for example an illegal movement, but the Fidesz it’s a legal organization.

If it’s a legal organization why does the party wants to stop it and declare it illegal?

Because it is dangerous to the one-party system.

In what way is it dangerous?

Because it broke the one-party system, these organizations, and organizations like this.

Do you think that the party is really trying to become more democratic itself now?

No, I don’t believe it. The party must have had some democratic reforms in the economics for example, but in political life I don’t believe it, I don’t believe it. These people for example Grósz, and other people who… for example Grósz some days later will travel to the United States and in Hungary we didn’t believed it. He isn’t a real reformer; he is a very dogmatic thinking man. And they are afraid very much of these organizations.

Why don’t you try to work inside the system, join for example the People’s Patriotic Front, one of the organizations there, and work inside the system?

Fodor: No, the People’s Patriotic Front isn’t an independent organization in Hungary and is also led by the Party, the communist party, the People’s Patriotic Front. It’s the same, it is free…more free than the party but not independent.

What do you think Hungary needs basically if it’s to become a real democracy? What changes?

Very serious changes. For example, in the political life and in the economic life, we have to have a lot of changes, for example we’d have real human rights, a very good constitution, freedom in the economic life and some other things. The Fidesz made a program about this.

And what was their basic demand? What is your basic demand?

The human rights, this is now our basics in this.

And you don’t think the party protects the human rights adequately at the moment?


Do you think the party defends your human rights at the moment?

/not understanding completely the question/ Yes, yes, I think. They are afraid of the human rights very much.

Gábor Fodor (1962)

Gábor Fodor

Gábor Fodor, lawyer, politician, former minister, was born on 27 September 1962 in Gyöngyös. His father Árpád Fodor worked as a judge and later as a lawyer, his mother Klára Révfalvi worked for the Gyöngyös City Council, retiring as a chief rapporteur in 1980. His brother Tamás is a civil engineer. He married twice and had two children with his second wife, Barbara Czeizel, special education teacher.

He graduated from the János Berze Nagy High School in Gyöngyös in 1981, and from 1982 he studied at the Faculty of Law and Political Sciences of Eötvös Loránd University, where he obtained his doctorate in law in 1987. He was a member of the Lawyers’ College of Social Sciences (later the Bibó István College for Advanced Studies), where he was a fellow of Viktor Orbán, Lajos Simicska and László Kövér, among others. From 1988–1989, he was a teacher at the College for Advanced Studies. Between 1989 and 1994 he was an assistant lecturer at the Philosophy Department of the Faculty of Law, and from 1996 he taught again at the Bibó István College for Advanced Studies.

A founding member of Fidesz (Alliance of Young Democrats), he was a spokesman for the party from March to October 1988. In October 1988, he was elected a member of the party’s national executive committee, and in 1989 he participated in the Hungarian Round Table Talks on behalf of Fidesz. In 1990, he was elected to the National Assembly as Chairman of the Committee on Human Rights, Minorities and Religious Affairs. Between 1991 and 1993 he was a member of the Hungarian delegation to the Council of Europe.

In April 1993 he was elected vice-president of Fidesz, but on 3 November, after the conservative turn of Fidesz, he resigned from all his party positions, including his seat in the parliament. Subsequently, he stood for the SZDSZ (Alliance of Free Democrats) in a constituency in the 1994 parliamentary elections, and in 1998, 2002 and 2006 he won seats on the SZDSZ national list.

In the Horn government he was appointed Minister of Culture and Education on 15 July 1994. He resigned from his office on 1 January 1996. His writing, which he distributed in secondary schools during his time as minister, calling for acceptance and respect for homosexuality, caused a great controversy.

In January 2007, he announced his candidacy for the position of SZDSZ party leader, but was defeated by János Kóka. On 18 April 2007, the SZDSZ nominated Gábor Fodor as Minister of Environmental Protection and Water to replace Miklós Persányi, but he resigned from the government in April 2008, together with the other SZDSZ ministers.

He was elected President of the Alliance of Free Democrats at the party’s internal election of officials on 7 June 2008. Fodor was the president of the Liberal Party for almost a year, and during his term of office he fought a constant battle within the party with the opposition grouped around the leader János Kóka. After the SZDSZ’s heavy defeat in the 2009 European Parliament elections, he announced his resignation as party leader and less than a month later he resigned from his seat in the National Assembly.

On 27 April 2013, he founded a new party, the Hungarian Liberal Party, and won seats in the 2014 and 2018 parliamentary elections. On 27 August 2019, however, he resigned as party leader, justifying his departure by the need to form a new type of opposition cooperation.

He plans to resume his career as a university lecturer, meanwhile he established the Institute for the Study of the Change of Regime in Central Europe which started its activities in June 2021.