Hungarian left-wing opposition parties held a joint demonstration and commemoration of Hungary’s anti-Soviet uprising of 1956 on Sunday in Budapest, urging cross-party cooperation to oust PM Viktor Orbán’s right-wing government and achieve a “new change of regime” in Hungary. Meanwhile both green opposition LMP party and radical nationalist Jobbik held their own demonstration and memory event, keeping a distance from the left-wing coalition.
Referring to the ruling parties, Socialist Party (MSZP) leader Gyula Molnár said at the joint demonstration that those claiming to be the heirs of the 1956 revolutionaries “desecrate” the ideals of the revolution. “They are not the heirs of Imre Nagy, but more like those of [former communist dictator] Mátyás Rákosi,” Molnár said. He said the words of martyred PM Nagy, that a dictatorship must be destroyed and not reformed, still rang true today.
Democratic Coalition (DK) leader and former Socialist Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány said a the same event held at Budapest’s Blaha Luhza square that it was not simply the governance of the ruling parties that was “bad” in Hungary today, but rather the “system” altogether and voiced agreement with those calling for a new change of regime. He said that although the leftist parties deserved criticism for their failed joint election campaign of 2014, without them joining forces at the time the situation in Hungary would be “even worse” today.
Gergely Karácsony, co-leader of the Dialogue Party (PM), also called for a change of regime and said that a new republic should be established in Hungary. But in order to achieve this, the opposition parties will have to reach a compromise on how to work together, he said, adding that the parties will start talks on a potential cooperation in the 2018 general election as early as next week. Referring to the revolution’s 50th anniversary, whose commemorations had been held amid violent anti-government protests and police actions in 2006, Karácsony said that similar incidents, namely that “half the country feels that the police can’t tell the difference between the street mobs and citizens exercising their right of assembly”, could not happen in the future “new” Hungarian republic. Karácsony said he was “sorry” for the events of 2006.
Lajos Bokros, former Socialist finance minister and head of the minor MoMa party, said that once a “democratic power” is elected, they should “request a 500-day mandate” to “restore the constitutional rule of law” and democracy in Hungary.
The green opposition LMP party will resubmit to parliament its lustration bill, the party’s co-leader told participants attending the party’s seperate commemoration event held at the Péter Mansfeld statue in Budapest on Sunday. Criticizing the government, Bernadett Szél insisted that “those that fail to support revealing the communist past have no respect for the martyrs and heroes of 1956”. LMP seeks transparency of information concerning secret service agents in the communist era and demands that people that had supported that system should now be excluded from top positions, Szél said.
The country’s independence and the freedom of its people are “not for sale”, Gábor Vona, head of the radical nationalist Jobbik party, said at the party’s own commemoration of the 1956 anti-Soviet uprising at Budapest’s Corvin Cinema, a shrine of the revolution. In his address, Vona paid tribute to the revolutionaries, and urged that the list of communist-era informers should be made public. He also urged that perpetrators of violent acts during anti-government demonstrations on the same day in 2006 should be punished. On another subject, Vona said that all his party’s deputies had signed a declaration that they would not support the government’s constitutional amendment bill unless the government dropped its residency bond scheme.