István Tarlós

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István Tarlós
TarlósIstván (crop).jpg
István Tarlós after the election to his first term
Mayor of Budapest
Assumed office
3 October 2010
Preceded byGábor Demszky
Faction leader of Fidesz in Budapest
In office
1 October 2006 – 3 October 2010
Preceded byAndrás Kupper
Succeeded byZoltán Németh
Mayor of Óbuda-Békásmegyer
Third district of Budapest
In office
30 September 1990 – 1 October 2006
Preceded byImre Kiss
(Chairman of the Council)
Succeeded byBalázs Bús
Personal details
Born (1948-05-26) 26 May 1948 (age 71)
Budapest, Hungary
Political partyAlliance of Free Democrats (1989–1994)
Independent (since 1994)
Spouse(s)Cecília Nagy (1973–present)
Children2 daughters
1 son
Alma materBudapest University of Technology and Economics (M.Sc)
ProfessionPolitician, Engineer
WebsitePersonal website

István Tarlós (pronounced [ˈiʃtvaːn ˈtɒrloːʃ]; 26 May 1948 in Budapest) is a Hungarian politician, who is the current Mayor of Budapest since 2010. Previously he served as the Mayor of the Third District (Óbuda-Békásmegyer) of the city between 1990 and 2006 (as an independent candidate). Since 2006 he was the Chairman of the FideszChristian Democratic People's Party (KDNP) Fraction-Alliance in the 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.[1] According to himself, he came from a civic-minded, religious family.[2] 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.[3][4] 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.[5]

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.[1][5]

He is married since 1973, his wife Cecília Nagy is a civil engineer. Tarlós has three grown up children and six grandchildren.[6]

Political career[edit]

Tarlós was not 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.[7] He then, supported by SZDSZ and Fidesz, became Budapest District III (Óbuda-Békásmegyer) Mayor in 1990.[7]

Campaign flag of Tarlós for the 2006 mayoral election

He left SZDSZ, which formed a coalition with the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP), because of ideological 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.[8] 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]

First term[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.[9] The Prime Minister guaranteed the city will be provided with the funds necessary for finishing ongoing infrastructure investments.[10]

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 this year the national government accepted the request of the local government to finance the BKISZ project from EU funds. This project builds the sewerage system in all parts of the city that did not have this infrastructure yet. Construction works will finish in Summer of 2015. The capacity of the city's wastewater treatment plants by 2009 had already been increased to be able to treat all generated wastewater.

In 2013 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.[11] 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.

From 1 January 2014 the price of most public transport passes for natural persons was decreased by 10%. This was made possible by the reorganized control activity which reduced illegal travel, increased the number of passes sold and the amount of money flowing in from pass sales.[12] This was the first time since the fall of communism that pass prices became cheaper.

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.[13]

In spring of 2014 a program was initiated to install 300 ticket and pass automats citywide. These automats allow payment both via cash or credit card. The automats operate 24 hours a day, thus provide more flexibility to customers. The automats also made queues at ticket and pass offices shorter.

The municipal government operates approximately 1300 buses daily. By September 2014 500 modern low-floor buses were bought, of which 300 were newly manufactured. This made it possible to scrap 500 of the oldest buses that were both in a bad state and polluted the environment too much. The municipal government plans to serve the public from 2018 only by modern low-floor buses.[14]

In September 2014 introduction of the FUTÁR information system was completed. It allows the traffic control center to continuously monitor all public transport buses and carriages of the city by having installed GPS in each of them, and it makes communication possible with the drivers concerned, e.g. with all drivers of a specific line, or of all lines affected by an accident on their common route. FUTÁR also provides information to passengers: 263 digital boards were installed to high-traffic bus and tram stops.[15] These boards show the approximate time that remains until the next buses and carriages of the different lines arrive to the stop. The central computer system calculates the time remaining until the buses and carriages reach the stops. The boards also inform passengers about temporary route modifications and other special circumstances. The information provided by the boards can also be accessed via internet, a smartphone application is also available to do this. In September 2014 the MOL Bubi bicycle hire system was opened for public use. It consists of 76 stations in the inner part of the city, which serve 1100 bicycles.[16]

The city was scheduled to receive 47 completely low-floor CAF trams in 2015 and 2016 according to a contract signed on 2014 March 5.[17] As prescribed by another contract signed on 8 October 2014, by 2017 a modern electronic ticket and pass system will replace the current and outdated paper-based system.[18] The system is going to be introduced in multiple phases.

Second term[edit]

Tarlós was re-elected mayor for a second term (which for this time is five years long) in the 2014 election. He received 49.06% of the votes.[19]

The reconstruction of tramlines 1 and 3 was finished in this term. These lines run along two beltways at the border of the inner part of the city. The reconstruction eliminated the speed limits that had to be introduced because of poor condition of the tracks.[20] In this term the Interweaving Tramlines Project of Buda (Budai Fonódó Villamos Project) was also completed. This project unified the tramlines of the Buda (western) side of the Capital, creating lines that enable travelling from the northern areas of the city to the southern areas, without the need to transfer from one line to another.[21]

On 11 November 2014 a contract was signed according to which 200 new low-floor buses entered service in 2015. This increased the ratio of low-floor buses in the bus fleet of the city from 55% to 70%.[22] The municipal government announced in June 2017 that the ratio of low-floor buses reaches 95-99% by September 2017.[23]

The first train of Metro Line 3 was handed over in January 2016 to the Russian Metrowagonmash (the original manufacturer) to be reconstructed.[24] Tarlós had preferred buying new trains, but he had been overwritten by the Orbán government.[25] The prototype of the reconstructed trains entered service on 20 March 2017.[26] Since then, the number of reconstructed trains serving the line is scheduled to increase by 2 trains every month.

On 4 September 2017 the contracts for reconstructing the whole tunnel of Metro Line 3 and the stations of the northern section were signed, thus the reconstruction effectively started. The stations will be finished by 31 December 2018. After this phase, the stations of the middle- and the southern sections will be reconstructed, the order of these two phases is not yet decided. Overhauling the tunnel is set to end by 24 August 2020.[27]

In June 2015, Budapest decided to bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics. Tarlós emphasized the necessary city development projects and the expected boom in tourism.[28] However, in January 2017 a civil organization called Momentum Movement started a petition to have a referendum for Budapest residents whether they want to organize it or not. The Movement campaigned for redirecting the funds from a high-risk investment to immediately support health care and education.[29] On 17 February 2017, it was announced that 266,151 signatures had been collected,[30] to which Tarlós reacted by negotiating with PM Viktor Orbán and the Hungarian Olympic Committee, then agreeing to and withdrawing the bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics, leaving only Los Angeles and Paris in the race. Tarlós blamed the opposition parties they were "backing out" from their earlier position of supporting the bid, and called this attitude as "treachery".[31]

On 5 February 2018, nine opposition parties started collecting signatures to hold a referendum to ensure all 20 stations of Metro Line 3 are made fully accessible during the line's reconstruction.[32] Until that point, the local government only planned to guarantee this at 12 stations, but on 7 February the mayor's office negotiated with the national umbrella organization for disabled people, then announced it would build inclined elevators next to the existing escalators at 6 more stations.[33] Both the opposition parties and the umbrella organization operating independently from them announced they regard acceptable only full compliance with accessibility standards at all stations. On February 21, initiator of the referendum Csaba Horváth (socialist floor leader of the Municipal Assembly) cancelled the signature collecting, referring to the Mayor's former announcement and to the calculations regarding the cost of the referendum can cover the cost of building elevators at the two remaining stations.[34]

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.

Recognition of Elvis Presley[edit]

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 small Park facing one of the city's eight crossings, and its second oldest, the Margaret Bridge, as a gesture of gratitude, made international headlines. Presley's involvement with the plight of Hungarian refugees fleeing from the effects of the 1956 Soviet invasion began on Sunday 28 October 1956, as some 57 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 a further 54 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 CHF 26 million (US$6 million, in 1957 dollars) and the equivalent after inflation adjustments, of US$49.5 million in today's 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)[35]
  • 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)


  1. ^ a b Tarlós István. "Önéletrajz". Tarlós István. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  2. ^ "Tarlós: addig csinálom, amíg van egy kis értelme". Népszava Online. 7 February 2013. Retrieved 6 September 2014.
  3. ^ Nagy Barnabás (19 June 2014). "Tarlós István segédmunkásként kezdte: 9 politikus polgári foglalkozása". Femina. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  4. ^ "Orosházán járt Tarlós István". Békés Megyei Online. 1 April 2009. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  5. ^ a b "Egy mélyépítő kezébe kerülhet Budapest". HVG. 6 September 2010. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  6. ^ Janecskó Kata – Szabó András (8 August 2013). "Orbán Ráhel példája nem ragadós". Index. Retrieved 31 August 2014.
  7. ^ a b "Tarlós István lehet a Fidesz főpolgármester-jelöltje". Index. 8 June 2006. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  8. ^ Szlazsánszky Ferenc (24 February 2012). "Visszabújni a saját bőrömbe: Interjú Tarlós István főpolgármesterrel". Hetek. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  9. ^ "Budapest Program".
  10. ^ "Még Orbán sem köti majd meg Tarlós kezét". World Economy.
  11. ^ "Tarlós István 27 Nagyprojektet készít elő a főváros".
  12. ^ "Árcsökkentés a budapesti tömegközlekedésben: 10%-kal kevesebbe kerülnek a BKK-bérletek".
  13. ^ "Metro Line 4 opens in Budapest". Archived from the original on 31 March 2014.
  14. ^ "The capital's bus fleet again gets new buses".
  15. ^ "FUTÁR System description".
  16. ^ "MOL Bubi official webpage".
  17. ^ "Villamostender".
  18. ^ "Aláírtuk az elektronikus jegyrendszer szállítói és üzemeltetői szerződését".
  19. ^ "Tarlós István harca csak most kezdődik". 13 October 2014. Retrieved 13 October 2014.
  20. ^ "1-es és 3-as villamos fejlesztése".
  21. ^ "A BKK bemutatja a budai fonódó villamoshálózat forgalmi rendjét".
  22. ^ "Jövőre mintegy kétszáz új busz érkezik Budapestre". 11 November 2014.
  23. ^ "Capital continues replacing bus fleet: 45 brand new buses enter service". 21 June 2017.
  24. ^ "Reconstruction of Metro Line 3's trains starts". 2 February 2016.
  25. ^ "Tarlós: reconstruction of the trains of Metro Line 3 can start". 25 September 2014.
  26. ^ "The first reconstructed train on Line M3 enters service". 20 March 2017.
  27. ^ "Contracts of Metro Line 3 reconstruction signed". 4 September 2017.
  28. ^ Tenczer, Gábor (23 June 2015). "A főváros szavazott: kell az olimpia" (in Hungarian). Retrieved 23 June 2015.
  29. ^ "Momentum Movement: Our arguments against Olympics in Budapest". Momentum Movement. 8 March 2017.
  30. ^ "Budapest 2024 Referendum Likely After Collection of 266,151 Signatures". Gamesbids. 17 February 2017.
  31. ^ "Budapest to withdraw bid for 2024 Olympics, leaving L.A. and Paris as only contenders". Los Angeles Times. February 2017. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  32. ^ "Nine opposition parties started collecting signatures to make Line 3 fully accessible". 5 February 2018.
  33. ^ "18 stations will comply accessibility standars". 7 February 2018.
  34. ^ "Line 3 will be fully accessible, referendum is not necessary". 21 February 2018.
  35. ^ [1]

External links[edit]

Interviews, debates[edit]


Political offices
Preceded by
Imre Kiss
Mayor of Óbuda-Békásmegyer
Succeeded by
Balázs Bús
Preceded by
Gábor Demszky
Mayor of Budapest
Succeeded by