Domestic PoliticsHistory

Hungarian Opposition Leaders Strongly Slam Orbán Government On 1956 National Holiday

On the 61st anniversary of Hungary’s historic anti-Soviet uprising, leaders of the Hungarian opposition parties not only commemorated the heroes of 1956 revolution but also delivered political campaign speeches, harshly criticizing the policies of Viktor Orbán‘s right-wing government.

On Monday, members of opposition parties Democratic Coalition (DK), Socialists, Együtt, the Liberals, the Modern Hungary Movement (MoMa), Dialogue and Solidarity laid wreaths to commemorate Hungary’s 1956 revolution at martyred Prime Minister Imre Nagy’s Budapest home.

Leaders of the left-wing oppositon parties from left to right: Gergely Karácsony (PM), Gábor Fodor (Liberals), Gyula Molnár (MSZP), Sándor Székely (Solidarity), Lajos Bokros (MoMa), Ferenc Gyurcsány (DK) – photo: Zsolt Szigetváry – MTI

Ágnes Kunhalmi of the Socialist Party (MSZP) said at the celebration that the current government “persecutes the freedom of opinion, controls the press and obstructs citizens’ initiatives and civil organisations”, which she said was reminiscent of a “very dark era of Hungarian history”, the Stalinist terror. “The real oppressors are not in Brussels but on government”, Kunhalmi said. They “appropriate public wealth, … ruin education and Hungarians’ health by letting the health-care system rot”, she said.

Speaking at a joint celebration with opposition Együtt, Gergely Karácsony, the leader of the Dialogue Party (PM), said in Budapest that the revolution was “a common affair not of an ideology, but of a nation”. “Now, when Hungarian politics must be renewed, it is important for the opposition to be able to join together and embrace diversity”, he said.

Együtt (Together) leader Viktor Szigetvári said the democratic opposition should accept all “contenders fighting for liberal democracy according to a credible set of values together with their base”. Együtt believes that “the Orbán government can be shaken and its re-election be prevented through smart opposition cooperation”.

Speaking later at an event marking the revolution and the sixth anniversary of his party’s founding Democratic Coalition (DK) leader Ferenc Gyurcsány called the government an “enemy of the civic, European and free Hungary”. He said that while 1956 united and at the same time divided Hungarians, the essence of the revolution were the dreams that spurred it on. The former Socialist Prime Minister said today’s ruling Fidesz party had nothing in common with the liberal Fidesz party founded in 1988, adding that DK had much more in common with the Fidesz of old.

András Fekete-Gyõr András, head of the Momentum party (photo: Márton Mónus – MTI)

The opposition Momentum party called on voters to fight against corruption, political oppression and political apathy at an event marking Hungary’s failed anti-Soviet uprising of 1956 in Budapest on Monday. Momentum leader Andras Fekete-Gyor said that while in 1956, Hungarians had to fight off tanks, change today could be brought about as easily as “marking an X on a piece of paper”. Tamas Soproni, the party’s deputy leader, said that in 1956 “David defeated Goliath”, adding that Momentum would play the role of David in next year’s general election. Momentum board member Anna Orosz said that although Hungary was not a dictatorship, there was “oppression disguised as democracy” in the country.

Bernadett Szél, leader of the Green opposition LMP (photo: Zsolt Czeglédi – MTI)

Hungarians were born for freedom, Bernadett Szél, the green opposition LMP‘s candidate for prime minister, said at an event commemorating Hungary’s failed anti-Soviet uprising of 1956 in Debrecen, in eastern Hungary, on Monday. “We can only reach our full potential and develop our strengths and creativity in freedom and independence, Szél said in her address in front of the Debrecen University’s main building. She said Hungary was in need of “a new kind of politics” focused on the people. Bernadett Szél said there was a good chance that Hungary could “embark on a new era” in 2018.

Gábor Vona , head of the radical nationalist Jobbik party (photo: Zoltán Máthé – MTI)

Radical nationalist Jobbik leader Gábor Vona called for unity among those who feel patriotic, consider themselves sober-minded and want an honest government to replace the current one, at his party’s commemoration of Hungary’s ill-fated anti-Soviet uprising of 1956 in Budapest on Monday. “I no longer care about what separates us, but rather the things that bind us together,” Vona said, adding that there was a time when he had thought differently.”Enough of this. I don’t care who is right wing or left wing. I don’t care who is moderate or radical. I don’t care who is conservative or liberal,” Jobbik’s candidate for prime minister said.

Vona said he and those who “live with a Hungarian heart, are sober-minded and want an honest government” were on the same side, because they agreed on the most important issues. He said Hungary had to be protected from having to take in people of foreign cultures but also from the emigration of its youth. He called the former the “Soros plan” and the latter the “Orbán plan”, referring to US financier George Soros and Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán. He said the “Vona plan” consisted of protecting Hungary from migration, ousting the Fidesz-led government and holding them accountable and lifting the country’s economy.In order for Hungary to catch up with the West economically, it must take part in the debate on the future of the European Union and achieve a “wage union” within the bloc, he said. Vona also called for reforming Hungary’s health-care and education systems.

via MTI; featured photo: Zoltán Balogh – MTI