Opposition parties on Saturday marked the 30th anniversary of Hungary’s first freely elected parliament after the fall of communism commending first new president, Árpád Göncz.
The deputy house speaker of parliament for the opposition Socialists said in Budapest that “there is no real democracy in Hungary today. But we will never give up on pursuing our ultimate goal which is to proclaim a new, free Hungarian republic.”
Thirty years ago, Hungary’s new parliament elected on this day Árpád Göncz its speaker and acting president and later, on August 3, Hungarian president, István Hiller said at a statue of Göncz.
President Áder Marks 30th Anniversary of First Free Parliament after Communism
Göncz, who after serving a five-year term was re-elected for another five-year term in 1995, was the president not only of Hungary as a republic, but “of the people, of all of us”, Hiller said.
Ágnes Kunhalmi, a lawmaker of the party, said the opposition would not attend parliament’s special session commemorating the anniversary, as it considers Hungary’s current political system, “created by the governing parties”, autocratic, which discourages democratic dialogue.
Ferenc Gyurcsány, the leader of the Democratic Coalition (DK), called Árpád Göncz “a symbol of regime change”.
“Árpád Göncz was one who best understood what the nation needed,” he said in a speech which was posted on his Facebook page.
“Thirty years ago, lawmakers of an entirely new parliament gathered in the chamber in hopes of a world radically different from today,” Gyurcsány said.
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“But those who gathered in parliament today have desecrated everything from what was at the heart of the regime change. They put an end to western-type civic democracy, to a respect of human dignity, to democratic rule of law, to checks and balances, to social responsibility, and to a cooperation with the world and Europe,” Gyurcsány said.
At a press conference in front of Parliament, the group leader of the green LMP party said the government “has made a joint celebration impossible”.
The declaration accepted by the ruling parties is not acceptable to all party groups, László Lóránt Keresztes said. He said the government did not represent national interests consistently, and that national autonomy was still threatened “by serious issues”. LMP will consider the regime change concluded only once the communist secret service’s activities and the identities of its members are fully accessible, Keresztes said.
LMP lawmaker Péter Ungár said that the declaration accepted in parliament earlier in the day should have been drafted in cooperation with the opposition. Its current form will be endorsed only by the ruling parties, he said.
Featured photo by Tamás Kovács/MTI