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Opposition Unsatisfied With Restrictions in Hungary, Suggests Reopening

Tamás Vaski 2021.02.09.

Hungary’s opposition parties have various plans and suggestions for the gradual lifting of lockdown restrictions. They are all unsatisfied with the governing Fidesz party’s approach to the pandemic, and think it is time to gradually lift restrictions in a controlled manner.

Head of the Prime Minister’s Office, Gergely Gulyás, announced last Friday that a two-step reopening can be expected to begin first in March, then in April. The restrictions will be lifted if the rates of infection allow for it.

Mi Hazánk

Far-right party Mi Hazánk (Our Homeland) considers themselves the only anti-lockdown party and have even started the Mi Nyitnánk (We Would Open) campaign.

The party argues that the complete closure of places of entertainment, catering businesses, gyms, public swimming pools, and libraries is pointless, especially when people are crowding large malls. The 8pm curfew also bothers them, as well as the allowance of allegedly pro-government casinos to remain open.

Their “We Would Open” campaign is a protest to what László Toroczkai, the party’s leader, calls the double standard that casinos can remain open while catering businesses must stay closed.

They were actively involved in the recent protests at Heroes’ Square against coronavirus restrictions. While a few hundred people attended the two-day demonstrations, the planned mass reopening of restaurants did not occur.

Toroczkai even announced that Mi Hazánk is ready to stand at the forefront of protests, demonstrations, and civil disobedience if the government does not act on lockdown issues soon.

Anti-Lockdown Parties Emerge in Hungary
Anti-Lockdown Parties Emerge in Hungary

As frustration with strict coronavirus restrictions grows worldwide, more and more political parties are trying to reach out to people who oppose lockdown measures. In Hungary, the far-right party Mi Hazánk is trying to address this group of voters, but a new party tied to Hungary’s most well-known coronavirus skeptic also seems to be emerging. […]Continue reading

Jobbik

Far-right party Jobbik advocates for the reopening of terraces as well as the gradual reopening of catering businesses and gyms.

Jobbik has also demanded the government to either provide wage support for those who lost their income due to the coronavirus pandemic. According to them, the government should establish a fund to pay four-fifths of wages lost due to the pandemic.

Coronavirus: Jobbik Demands Wage Support or Reopening of Hungary
Coronavirus: Jobbik Demands Wage Support or Reopening of Hungary

Three lawmakers of the opposition Jobbik party on Wednesday demanded that the government should pay wage support to those that lost their income as a result of the coronavirus epidemic or alternatively start partially reopening the country in a controlled manner. Dániel Z Kárpát called the Orbán government “the most tight-fisted and cruel … with […]Continue reading

Momentum

The centrist Momentum Movement initiated the “Let’s Reopen Hungary!” program, advocating for the extension of the national curfew to 10pm, allowing stores to stay open until 9pm, opening outdoor restaurants and terraces, movies, theatres, and hotels in a controlled manner. As a “plus one” suggestion, they add that those who have been vaccinated should be free of all pandemic restrictions.

The party finds it pointless that people cannot sit outside at a café terrace wearing a mask, go for a walk at 9pm, and the 7pm closing hour forces everyone to shop at the same time after work.

MSZP

István Ujhelyi, leader of socialist party MSZP, says the restrictions brought in effect last November were not thought through properly, arguing that it is now time to rethink them.

Catering businesses have lost their patience, and it is essential that a well thought-out approach be created as soon as possible, before people begin protesting, and coronavirus cases skyrocket.

Ujhelyi thinks that if businesses are willing to follow COVID protocols, their reopening is worth considering. With regards to the catering industry, he believes that the government should consult businesses, since there are likely many who would be willing to reopen with strict regulations.

Socialist Party Calls for Review Of Hungary's Lockdown Measures
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Following Far-right party Mi Hazánk, the Socialists have also started criticizing the Orbán government for the lockdown measures in effect. The party’s MEP called for the review of the current restrictions. István Ujhelyi believes that during the epidemic “the government has exploited” and shown no solidarity towards the service sector which has reached its limit, […]Continue reading

While their approaches and motivations may be different, all of Hungary’s opposition parties are advocating for the reopening of businesses, and a gradual return to normal life.

Featured photo illustration by Attila Balázs/MTI