The majority of the opposition do not respect the basic values of democracy, Gergely Gulyás, the head of the prime minister’s office, said on Monday.
“They are extremely anti-democratic and have very modest intellectual capabilities,” he said.
In a democratic decision-making system, it is the majority in parliament has the right to pass laws and attempts to prevent this process are an attack on representative democracy, Gulyás told commercial news channel ATV. This is what happened during the last session of parliament this year, and the actions of opposition MPs that followed at the public media headquarters “were illegal”, he added.
The only mistake that the public TV might have committed is that they allowed protesting opposition MPs enter the headquarters, he said. In line with the law on the legal standing of MPs, they are not allowed to disrupt the operation of public institutions, he said. Yet the opposition MPs wanted to do just that by reading out their petition on-air, he added.
Commenting on the protests that took place in Hungary at the end of the year, he said that in a country of ten million it was “easy to radicalise a few thousand people” and make them hate the government. The opposition’s policies are targeted at a “hard core” of dissatisfied voters and the possibility of winning majority support was out of reach, he said. It is possible that the protest will continue through January and February and will not end before May’s European Parliamentary elections, but they will not attract mass support, Gulyás insisted.
Referring to recent amendments to the labour code regarding overtime, he said that contrary to the claims of protesters, Hungary does not have a “slave law” and so there is nothing that needs to be amended. Overtime regulations will apply on a voluntary basis and “it is simply silly” to talk about “enslavement”, so the law was only an excuse to protest, he said.
Dismissing concerns over the government’s decision to move the statue of 1956-era leader Imre Nagy, Gulyás said, “There is no problem at all with Imre Nagy”. He said the statue was removed from the edge of Kossuth Square near Parliament as part of a programme to restore fine works of art that preceded the Communist dictatorship and Nazi occupation. They are not replacing the statue but restoring the area to its original state, which has been named Martyrs’ Square specifically after the victims of the Red Terror, he added.
Referring to criticism over the prime minister’s move to the Buda Castle District, he said, “It’s no good constantly bringing up the Horthy era”, adding that the situation then was “different”. He said that, as a minister, he would remain in the Parliament building together with hundreds of his colleagues as there was no room for them to move to the new Prime Minister’s Office.
He said he trusted Fidesz would remain one of the strongest members of the European People’s Party after next year’s European Parliamentary election, noting none of the almost 50 member parties of the EPP had matched Fidesz’s electoral support in the last two EP elections.