István Tarlós

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The native form of this personal name is Tarlós István. This article uses the Western name order.

István Tarlós
Mayor of Budapest
Assumed office
3 October 2010
Preceded by Gábor Demszky
Mayor of Óbuda-Békásmegyer
District III, Budapest
In office
30 September 1990 – 20 April 2006
Preceded by Imre Kiss
(Chairman of the Council)
Succeeded by Balázs Bús
Personal details
Born (1948-05-26) 26 May 1948 (age 66)
Coat of arms of Budapest.png Budapest, Hungary
Political party SZDSZ (1989–1994)
Independent (since 1994)
Profession politician, engineer

István Tarlós (pronounced [ˈiʃtvaːn ˈtɒrloːʃ]; 26 May 1948 in Budapest) is a Hungarian politician, the Mayor of Budapest since 2010. He was the Mayor of the Third District of the city (Óbuda) between 1990 and 2006 (as an independent candidate). Since 2006 he was the Chairman of the Fidesz (part of European People's Party (EPP)) Christian Democratic People's Party (KDNP) Fraction-Alliance in General Assembly of the Municipality of Budapest, and served as the political leader of the initiative "Social Referendum 2008".

Early life[edit]

István Tarlós was born on 26 May 1948 in Budapest as the son of Dr. István Tarlós, Sr., a lawyer and Hilda Dienes, a chief accountant, both worked for the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. He graduated from Árpád High School's Humanities Department. He then started to work as an unskilled laborer before he faced conscription and joined the military in Orosháza. Tarlós completed the Technical University in Budapest and received his Civil Engineer Diploma later. He then post-graduated in Finance and Organization from Ybl Miklós Technical College.

Tarlós worked for 15 years in the Building Industry mostly in investor and contractor tasks. Among the companies he worked for were Vasútépítő Vállalat, FŐBER, ÉM, Mélyépítő Vállalat, KKMV, IKV Budapest III. In his civil engineer career Tarlós worked in many positions such as foreman, deputy construction leader, construction leader, technical controller and head of production department. In the early 1990s Tarlós launched his own architect studio with wife.

He is married for 34 years, his wife Cecilia Nagy is a civil engineer. Tarlós has three grown up children and two grandchildren.

Political career[edit]

Tarlós wasn't active in politics before the political change of the 1990s. He first entered politics by becoming a member of the anti-communist Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ) in 1989. He then, supported by SZDSZ and Fidesz, became Budapest District III (Óbuda-Békásmegyer) Mayor in 1990.

He left SZDSZ because of mental and moral differences in the summer of 1994. Tarlós could not accept the radical change in directions and principles of the party within the short period of its existence. He is an independent politician since then. As independent he had been continually reelected with great majority as Mayor in Budapest District III in 1994, 1998 and 2002.

Tarlós made it to establish functioning nexus with the liberal and socialist fraction within the Municipality of his district. The General Assembly regularly passed Tarlós's Budget Plan and Budget Report without abstention and black ball. The remains of the first conservative party of Prime Minister József Antall of the democratic Hungary, Hungarian Democratic Forum (MDF) was only to handle Tarlós's Budapest mayoral candidacy controversial, which resulted in numerous secession of own party members and leaders as well as demonstrations on the streets of District III and within the own walls.

Tarlós, supported by Fidesz, led by Viktor Orbán, entered the local election in 2006 as mayoral candidate of Budapest, and lost by a mere 1 percent against incumbent mayor Gábor Demszky (SZDSZ). Until Tarlós's challenge Demszky has always received great majority. On the other hand Tarlós received more votes than his supporter, Fidesz all together.

He, still as independent but declared conservative politician, led the Fidesz-KDNP fraction in the General Assembly of Budapest from October 2006 until October 2010. Next to his role as fraction-leader Tarlós is presently leading the "Social Referendum 2008" campaign, initiated by Fidesz and Civil Social Basis.

Mayor of Budapest since 2010[edit]

In 2010 he was elected with the program of bringing the local government-owned companies under direct local government control and under full oversight of the assembly. He pledged to divert more funds to material and salary expenditures of services (police, firefighters, schools, public transport) the state of which he described as neglected. Instead of always choosing between individual developments while the stability of the city is according to him always pressed to the limit, he wants to drive the macroeconomic curves of the city into a long-term self-sustaining.[1] The Prime Minister guaranteed the city will be provided with the funds necessary for finishing ongoing infrastructure investments.[2]

Until 2013 the mayor's administration completely overhauled the structure of the companies owned by the local government. In the new structure the companies operate more efficiently, which resulted in significant reduction of operating costs. This money can be redirected to development.

In 2013 Viktor Orbán's government started a program to lift Hungary's local governments out of debt. 100% of the debts of settlements whose population is under 5000 was repaid by the government. 60% of the debt of Budapest was repaid by the government. Later the remaining 40% was also repaid by the government, after the government decided to completely eliminate all debts of all local governments.

In the same year István Tarlós's administration drafted the city's next development plan, that applies to the 2014-2030 time period. 27 large projects were initiated to be realised from EU funds until 2020.[3] Among them was the complete reconstruction and extension of Metro Line 3, the extension of several tramlines and the purchase of new trams and buses.

On 28 March 2014, the fourth metro line, which was constructed for eight years, was opened to the public. During Tarlós's term the capital renegotiated the contracts, by which act it was able to regain tens of billions of forints of the total cost of more than 400 billion forints.[4]

Social work[edit]

Through assignment of numerous district mayors Tarlós became vice-chairman of the Council of Regional Development between 1999-2003. He visited the Institutions of the EU in Brussels on diverse occasions. During this period Tarlós lead the Commission for Strategic Planning of the Central-Hungarian Region and co-founded the Hungarian Society of Law-Enforcement-Science, the Baross Gábor Society and became a member of the Széchenyi Society. Additionally Tarlós was given the task of the honorary chairman of the Disaster-Recovery and Civil Protection Council as well as of the Braunhaxler Association of Budapest District III. He is furthermore member of the board of the Christian Intellectual Alliance.

On 1 March 2011, Tarlós' announcement that the city would posthumously make US singer Elvis Presley (1935–77) an honorary citizen, as well as name a Plaza located at the intersection of two of the city's most important downtown avenues, as a gesture of gratitude, made international headlines. Presley's involvement with the plight of Hungarian refugees feeing from the effects of the 1956 Soviet invasion began on Sunday, 28 October 1956, as some 55 million Americans watched Ed Sullivan's Sunday program at the CBS-TV network, which Presley was headlining for the second time. During that broadcast, a casual mention was made by Sullivan of the need to send aid to Hungarian refugees fleeing from the effects of the Soviet invasion. This led to Presley's official request, on his third and last appearance at Sullivan's Show and as another 50 million viewers watched on 6 January 1957, for Mr. Sullivan, this time on his behalf, to request viewers to send their contributions. This was done by Mr. Sullivan himself with Presley off-camera as per the singer's request on two separate occasions during the broadcast and leading up to Presley's dedication of a song which, in his opinion, fit the mood properly as the show's finale, namely the gospel song "Peace in the Valley". By the end of 1957, these contributions, as handled by the Geneva-based International Red Cross, and which translated into food rations, clothing, and other essentials, had amounted to some SFR 26 million (US$6 million, in 1957 dollars) and the equivalent after inflation adjustments, of US$44 million in 2013 dollars.

Awards, prizes[edit]

  • Minor Cross of Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary
  • Officer's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland (2008)[5]
  • Golden Degree of Szent Gellért Award
  • Eötvös József Golden Medal
  • Henszlmann Imre Award
  • Remembrance Medal for Hungarian Urbanism
  • Grand Cross of Allegiance for Fatherland
  • Medal for Civil Organisations
  • Golden Seal-Ring Award of Mayors
  • Silver Medal of the Municipality of Székelyudvarhely
  • Palatinus Medal of the Municipality of Révkomárom
  • Honored Citizen, Budapest District III (from 2007)


  • Tarlós by Károly Boros (Magyar Ház Kiadó, Budapest, 2007)


Interviews, debates[edit]



  1. ^ "Budapest Program". 
  2. ^ "Még Orbán sem köti majd meg Tarlós kezét". World Economy. 
  3. ^ "Tarlós István 27 Nagyprojektek készít elő a főváros". 
  4. ^ "Metro Line 4 opens in Budapest". 
  5. ^ [1]
Political offices
Preceded by
Gábor Demszky
Mayor of Budapest
Succeeded by