When Viktor Orbán won by landslide to secure a third term as prime minister of Hungary, he began to defuse the threat from his strongest opponent and former best friend Lajos Simicska.
After the election, Simicska was left with no other choice but to sell his companies and his media empire has been pulled apart systematically.
Their friendship goes back a long way and the two have known each other since their school days. Simicska, the owner of Fidesz-friendly media and variety of successful businesses supported his friend all through his political career.
The rift between the two escalated three years ago, when the oligarch opted to support the far-right Jobbik party which is Fidesz’s strongest competitor.
Orban’s biographer Paul Lendvai offered his opinion:
“Without Simicska, Orbán would never have become prime minister and without Orbán, Simicska would never have become a billionaire.”
For years, the relationship between Simicska and Orbán was a perfect match of political power with economic nous.
However, after Orban’s 2014 election win, the two old friends didn’t see things eye to eye anymore.
In 2015, Simicska who has always been behind the scenes started granting interviews where he publicly declared Orban a “geci”. (Hungarian slang for sperm)
In an interview, Simicska’s longtime associate Sándor Csintalan shared an interesting perspective on how the friendship had gone sour:
“Lajos had the courage to turn his back on the system because he came to his senses. He was unhappy about the level of corruption and also furious about the level of Russian influence. Simicska always said that once you shake hands with the Russian bear, it will eat you whole.”
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán who has positioned himself as Europe’s most anti-migration leader is set to direct his administration towards a mandate to build a new era for Hungary.
Orban declared his move would “Involve embedding new cultural trends, collective beliefs and social customs”, creating speculations that this evolves around a full-on culture war against enemies of his populist, traditionalist government.