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On Wednesday evening, Péter Márki-Zay, the opposition’s candidate for prime minister, gave a live interview to CNN. Christiane Amanpour asked about his chances in the 2022 elections, keeping the Hungarian opposition together, and migration, among other issues.

The first topic that CNN’s reporter Christiane Amanpour asked Péter Márki-Zay about was his views on migration and how things would change if he became prime minister. Márki-Zay started by saying that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán did let migrants into the country. “The big difference wouldn’t be the practice, the difference would be how you treat these people.” He added, “Orbán is using migration for his hate campaigns.”

We need to treat people humanely wherever they are coming from and also we should never, ever conduct hate campaigns against any minorities, any groups of people.”

“There’s nothing Christian about Orbán or Szijjártó,” Márki-Zay continued. He then mentioned Orbán’s political past, starting with being a member of the communist youth movement, then being a liberal, then being a pro-EU and anti-Putin politician (which, Márki-Zay adds, he also supported), and now he is anti-EU and pro-Putin. “I don’t think he’s very consistent,” the mayor of Hódmezővásárhely said.

Márki-Zay also told Amanpour that “corruption is the biggest problem and there’s nothing Christian about corruption.”

Márki-Zay admitted that Orbán’s system is very difficult to defeat but “with the unification of the entire opposition from left to right, and with a candidate who appeals even to Orbán’s traditional voter and electoral base, we now have the highest chance in a decade to defeat him.” He also said that the opposition has “no better option than keeping this coalition together.” According to him, the ruling party will “try to find traitors in the opposition, they will try to dissuade people from keeping this coalition together.”

Conservative Márki-Zay Wins Opposition Primary
Conservative Márki-Zay Wins Opposition Primary

The mayor of Hódmezővásárhely pledged to build a "new, purer Hungary," adding that "Fidesz or no Fidesz" remains the crucial question after the primaries.Continue reading

Amanpour cited Péter Krekó, a Hungarian political scientist and Executive Director of the Political Capital Institute: “In some ways, Péter Márki-Zay can be compared to Donald Trump: a non-party player who says new and surprising things, who comes out of nowhere and goes against the conventional political logic.”

Márki-Zay said that he can accept the parallel in that sense but emphasized that “in an autocratic regime where freedom of the press is not a given, you have to put things straight in order to get through communication bubbles.” He added that while there is still a democracy in the US, in Hungary “Orbán really managed to switch off all the checks and balances,” and he can do anything he wants with the new constitution and the two-thirds majority in parliament.

The full interview can be watched on CNN’s website, here, or on YouTube, below:

Featured image: screen capture from CNN’s video