The representatives of Hungarian opposition parties had a lot to say in response to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s speech in parliament on Monday. They accused the government of corruption and failure to adequately respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
In his address to praliament, Orbán touched on Hungary’s coronavirus response plan, the potential for reopening, the recent increase in coronavirus cases, and the revitalization of the economy. In response to his speech, the representatives of the opposition were very critical.
Jobbik: “People want money, not propaganda.”
The leader of the right wing Jobbik party, Péter Jakab, related Orbán to an “African healer or a Chinese pharmaceutical agent,” in response to his statement that if the vaccine worked on millions (in Africa and China), it will be good for Hungarians.
Jakab does not believe vaccination should be mandatory, neither should it come with privileges, since those who do not trust the Chinese vaccine will be disadvantaged.
He does not believe the government is taking the necessary steps to respond to the pandemic, and is spending its money on pro-Fidesz oligarchs instead of those who are struggling.
Jakab does not understand why emergency powers must be given to the government if it has achieved so little. He announced that his party will not be providing such powers to Fidesz again, since “people want money, not propaganda.”
Gyurcsány Expects to be Made Infamous
Ferenc Gyurcsány, leader of the social-liberal Democratic Coalition (DK), said that the government is responsible for putting politics into vaccination, not the opposition.
The DK leader rejected the accusation that he is anti-vaccination, and said that he would vaccinate himself. Still, he understands peoples’ frustration if they would rather be inoculated by a vaccine approved by the EU.
With regards to Hungary’s economy, Gyurcsány sees “destruction and hopelessness,” as there has been little support to those who are actually struggling. Furthermore, he believes that despite the government’s data, there is low morale and uncertainty in the current pandemic situation.
Gyurcsány also believes that the coming months will be a period of “Gyurcsányozás,” in which, during the build-up to the election, pro-government media and Fidesz will attempt to build infamy around him by showing him in a highly critical and negative light.
Gyurcsány does not support model changes in universities, and considers them corrupt. He says to the government, “you’re privatizing Hungarian universities, putting them under your control without any consideration of criticism.”
LMP Says Federal Wage Subsidies Are a “Laughable Sum”
Representing centrist green party LMP, Erzsébet Schmuck accused the government of only supporting those who favor them, rather than those who are struggling. She said that it is “unexplainable,” that sports received more support than the healthcare sector.
With regards to wage subsidies, Schmuck emphasized that of the 23 billion forint that was promised, the government only paid 7 billion, a “laughable sum.”
The uncertainty around employment and healthcare, according to Schmuck, has brought feat into family’s lives, since 14 thousand people have died due to the pandemic.
She listed the many occupations which she thinks are struggling financially, while receiving no support from the government.
To deal with the economy, Schmuck suggested that the government provide 70 percent wage subsidies to those workers affected most significantly by the pandemic.
Párbeszéd Accuses Government’s Poor Handling of the Pandemic
Representing leftist green party Párbeszéd, Tímea Szabó said that it is inappropriate that the prime minister is choosing not to hold a yearly review, and believes it is because “the government’s achievements paint a pathetic picture.”
She backs up her assertation by saying that the country is in a terrible position in terms of its coronavirus related deaths, and that restrictions were brought in too late.
Szabó said that due to Orbán’s “sick hobby” a 20 thousand person football match took place when people should have been in lockdown.
She also said that Hungarian youth will not fall for the government’s “tricks,” referring to the tax cuts for those under the age of 25.
Szabó does not consider it accurate that there is currently less unemployment, since 49 thousand more people are looking for work this year, compare to last year. She highlighted the fact that among those who are unemployed, 300 thousand are looking for work, and 140-150 thousand are not receiving any financial aid or support.
Finally, the representative accused the government of ruining Hungary’s environmental treasures such as Lake Balaton, Lake Fertő, and Lake Velence.
MSZP Says Businesses Face Ruin While Mészáros Gets Billions
The co-chair of Hungarian socialist party MSZP, Bertalan Tóth said that the government did not adequately prepare Hungary’s healthcare system or its pandemic response team, thus leading to almost 14 thousand virus related deaths.
Tóth considers Orbáns statement that “every life matters,” to be a lie, since instead of fighting the pandemic, the government has privatized universities, starved outopposition-run municipalities, legislated the theft of government funds, given 500 billion forint to the Mathias Corvinus College, silenced Klubrádió, and ruined the University of Theatre and Film arts.
The representative also emphasized that while small businesses are collapsing from financial struggle, while funneling billions of forint into the pocket of the richest man in Hungary, Lőrinc Mészáros.
He called on Orbán to ask businesses whether they think this approach is correct.
The Prime Minister Responds to the Accusations
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán was given the opportunity to respond after the opposition leaders made their accusations and critiqued the government.
The prime minister believes that it is a mistake for Jobbik to create an anti-vaccination mentality, and asked them to stop their rhetoric.
He said that it is not during the pandemic that loyalty to Brussels and Washington must be shown, and the focus should instead be on Hungary.
Once again, he repeated his statement highlighting the important of all lives in Hungary. With regards to the economy, he said that according to Eurostat, Hungary’s economy weakened by 5.2 percent, which is comparably much better than other EU member states.
In response to accusations around the allocation of government funds, he said that the “red barons,” left wing oligarchs, can receive funding as well if they execute economically sound programs, and create jobs.
He also touched on the topic of “Gyurcsányozás,” and criticized elements of the DK leader’s speech.
Featured photo illustration by Tibor Illyés/MTI