The opposition alliance, United for Hungary, held a large rally in Budapest on the afternoon of March 15 to commemorate the country’s national holiday. Thousands of people came out to listen to music and listen to nine speakers.
Most of the speakers represented the coalition of Hungary’s main political opposition, but Donald Tusk, the Polish president of the European People’s Party in the European Parliament, also spoke at the event. The final speech at the event was given by Péter Márki-Zay, the candidate for prime minister of the opposition.
“Generations evoke the heroism of 1848, 1956, and 1989, the stand people took, their struggle and freedom,” began Péter Márki-Zay in the substantive part of his speech at the opposition’s rally on March 15. “A later age looks upon them with respect, even though they failed in a heroic fight,” the politician said.
This is us, the Hungarian people.
-he said, adding that during the revolutions, the freedom-loving part of the world looked upon these people with admiration and compassion.
We were proud to be Hungarian, they loved us wherever we went… It was good to be Hungarian anywhere in the world, we could be proud because we were on the right side of history.
But today, 33 years after the change of regime, the world no longer sees us as one people, but “we are only a single face.” As he claimed, “a man has expropriated us,” and if anyone says they are Hungarian anywhere in the world, this face now appears in front of them, as it has for the last 12 years, obviously referring to Viktor Orbán, though not referring to him by by name.
In reference to the Prime Minister, Márki-Zay said that Orban “had committed a terrible sin against the people here at home as well,” because he had divided the country, created wedges between people, and poisoned the words “people” and “nation.”
In 20 days, we have to vote for whether we want to be a people again, a nation, and not outsiders in our own country. We cannot be outsiders compared to those whom ‘this particular man’ calls a nation.
Because of Orbán’s selfishness and desire for power, said Péter Márki-Zay, we have “voluntarily chose the backward East over the developing West,” and “voluntarily returned to history’s bad side.”
“The election has never been so simple”
Referring to the parliamentary elections on April 3, the opposition’s candidate for prime minister said that “the election has never been so simple,” because we have only one good choice: choosing Europe over the East, choosing freedom over slavery and despotism.
Péter Márki-Zay then talked about his personal career, about how he never thought he would stand in front of so many people as a prime ministerial candidate and that half the country would hate him, while the other half expect hope and redemption from him.
That he gets vulgar remarks from strangers he has never hurt him, and never will. And that he meets those who have become uncertain due to propaganda, who wonder whether it is worth replacing Orbán’s regime with those who can be tempted by power, those who have overcome their extremist past and now do not accept any form of extremism.
“is it worth it?” he asked, for someone who “makes careless statements that can be misunderstood and, where appropriate, rightly criticized,” he said, quite obviously referring to himself and his statements that have caused controversy.
To all of this, Márki-Zay said that the opposition is strong because it is diverse, and that what they have built over the past 4 years offers a more peaceful and secure country even for those who do not vote for them. Hungary’s alliance with NATO and the EU will never be betrayed, he claimed.
What they promise
The list of “why will it get better” then came with a number of semi-tangible promises: they believe in a country, said Péter Márki-Zay, where
- police are respected,
- everyone is equal before the law,
- affordable housing for young people is provided,
- vaccination is not mandatory,
- doctors are not legally mandated to treat patients,
- nurses have a secure livelihood,
- doctors make decisions on health care,
- tests are free, and not parking,
- teachers earn more than their recent graduates,
- they are free to choose textbooks that don’t even need to be printed,
- no extra taxes are put on food staples and the state does not take any money from those at the lowest income levels,
- and benefits that have been unchanged for 12 years are doubled.
We believe in a Western country where the youth should not have to go to Europe, but Europe comes here. Until now, they have voted with their feet and gone West, not East. If the power of love overcomes the love of power, many of the 800,000 Hungarians who have gone abroad will return home so they can raise their children as Hungarian.
-said Péter Márki-Zay.
“I believes in miracles”
The mayor of Hódmezővásárhely believes that good always wins in the end, and that our country cannot be on the losing side forever, as “even those who vote against us want Hungary to advance.”
In Vásárhely, we proved that not every politician steals, that with honest leadership, the mayor does not get wealthy, but rather the city. That people are not judged by their skin color or political colors, that companies win tenders in an open competition, that a honest public figure does not look down from the Castle, but walks among the people and sometimes bends down to pick up their trash.
-stated Péter Márki-Zay, adding:
I believe in the future of Hungary, and yes, I believe in miracles. I have already experienced three times that alliances are capable or miracles.
-claimed the politician, referring to his previous election victories. He added that even public polling bears this out.
I ask you to believe in the majority of sober Hungarians, to believe in a rising Hungary. Hungary belongs to all of us. In three weeks, everyone has to convince three people to vote for us, and on April 3, we will have a two-thirds victory to replace the most corrupt government in our thousand-year history, the Orbán government.
In his final remarks, Péter Márki-Zay then said:
We believe that the young people of April will now bring forth a free Hungary and convince their parents and grandparents. We believe that the power belongs to the people, that on April 3 Hungary will return to the good side of history. We will finally be a winner, we will be a people again, we will be one nation again, and we can once again proudly say anywhere in the world, ‘I am Hungarian.’
We believe that out of the deep pit where Viktor Orbán has taken the country, the way out is not to the right, or to the left, but only upwards.
-said the opposition politician, echoing his campaign slogan of “Just upwards!”
[Telex][Photo: Péter Márki-Zay / Facebook]