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Opposition Speaks to a Closed Budapest Elite, Says Péter Ungár

Hungary’s political opposition speaks to a closed Budapest elite on topics that no one else is interested in, said opposition MP Péter Ungár in an interview with Telex. The LMP politician also said those who blame the media environment for another two-thirds electoral defeat by Fidesz are exonerating themselves.

Ungár’s comments were similar to those he said the day after the election on ATV, when he stated that the opposition did not really understand the country, and were not familiar with the issues that people are concerned with. [Telex]

Two Ousted LMP Politicians Will Run on Their Own in Election

picture of Mária Hajdu

Opposition party LMP faced some upheaval in its ranks this week, as the green party lost two of its members in different parts of the country. Both politicians vowed to run on their own in the election, without party backing.

“I am Running as an Independent Candidate”

Following the events of the last few days, I have decided after 13 years to leave LMP and run in the elections as a candidate for Parliament… …One thing is for sure: there is no credible political force left anymore. Both sides are driven solely by their own interests, which is why I am running as an independent candidate.

-wrote Mária Hajdu on her official social media page yesterday. The ex-LMP member put up the post after her party initiated disciplinary proceedings against her and suspended her membership.

The politician from Budapest’s Hegyvidék district says that the sanctions resulted from a previous post of hers the day before, in which she expressed doubt about the united opposition’s joint candidate in the district, Miklós Hajnal. The Momentum politician, Hajdu said, “had been lying about his qualifications for months.”

Miklós Hajnal has been a frequent target in the government-aligned media recently for calling himself an economist despite reportedly not having fully completed his degree requirements.

In her post on the suspension from LMP, Hajdu also leveled criticism at the opposition, including LMP, for advocating for Hajnal, who is “much less committed to the affairs of Hegyvidék” than Gábor Vadász, another Momentum member.

LMP’s press department responded to the events with the following statement:

Mária Hajdu’s outrage was hypocritical. Obviously she knew exactly that her statement would be a provocation that would have consequences. LMP has chosen to support candidates in the joint opposition, and those who subsequently formed an opposing view after this decision can clearly not be a member of its political community.

[444][Photo: Mária Hajdu / Facebook]

Another LMP Member Decides to Go It Alone

Meanwhile, on the same day that LMP suspended Hajdu’s party membership, Lajos Takács, the party’s municipal representative in Badacsonytomaj, announced on Thursday afternoon that he would also be running in Veszprém County’s 3rd District, where Lajos Rig is the designated joint candidate for the united opposition.

Takács justified not running in the primary election last fall by telling Telex:

I didn’t feel like I needed to take part. I didn’t even know how many candidates there would be or who would be running.

Takács campaigning in Sümeg [Lajos Takács / Facebook]

LMP told the site that Takács had clearly gone against the wishes of the party with this move, and that he was no longer an LMP member either. The green party also asked its voters “not to fall for people suddenly finding their political clarity just a few hours before signature gathering is to begin, and to support the primary winners in every district with their vote.”

Fidesz’s official nominee in the district is Tibor Navracsics. [444]

Gov’t action on environment doesn’t match its words, says LMP

picture of Erzsébet Schmuck

Although the government is using all means necessary to “paint itself green,” there has not been any meaningful change in Fidesz’s environmental policy this year, says the co-chair of LMP-Hungary’s Green Party. In an online press conference on Friday, Elizabeth Schmuck (pictured) promised not only a change of government, but also a true turn towards green priorities next year.

Opposition politicians have complained that the government cabinet is not engaging in a meaningful dialogue with the public about the EU’s climate package, but merely pushes large polluters to pay. At the same time, however, it provides them with hundreds of millions of forints in subsidies.

Schmuck also protested that the “concrete lobby” had not only received financial subsidies, but that legislation had been amended so that nothing would stop it from destroying nature.

Meanwhile, LMP’s legislative proposals on climate change or protecting the environment have fallen on deaf ears, Erzsébet Schmuck said, such as their suggestions for reducing air pollution, “greening” traffic, eradicating energy poverty, or protecting large lakes, among others.

LMP also considers it vital to cooperate with civil organizations, as no change will be possible without them.

However, the green party feels that the government does not understand this, because otherwise it would not have classified their legislative proposal to protect large lakes as a political act, Erzsébet Schmuck stated.

[Index][Photo: LMP-Magyarország Zöld Pártja / Facebook]

Péter Ungár heads LMP’s electoral party list

picture of leaders from LMP

At its party congress over the weekend, LMP-Hungary’s Green Party elected officers and determined its electoral list for the Parliamentary elections next spring.

At the top of LMP’s list is Péter Ungár, Secretary of the National Presidency, while second place goes to Co-Chair Máté Kanász-Nagy.

Dr. László Lóránt Keresztes, head of LMP’s Parliamentary caucus, is third, while Bernadett Bakos, LMP representative in Budapest’s Kőbánya municipality, and István Ferenczi, a local representative in the Kispest municipality, make up the fourth and fifth spots, respectively.

In order to make their list as strong as possible, LMP decided not to include members who won their individual districts in the primary election. This means that Erzsébet Schmuck, Antal Csárdi, and Krisztina Hohn were left off the party’s electoral list and will each face off against a candidate from the government parties.

Opposition parties MSZP and Dialogue have also released their own electoral lists, but a final composition of the joint opposition electoral list likely won’t occur until the beginning of 2022.

[Index][Photo: LMP – Magyarország Zöld Pártja / Facebook]

LMP: give Mátra Power Plant workers renewable energy jobs

picture of Mátra Power Plant

LMP believes that the government should provide work in the renewable energy sector for employees of the Mátra Power Plant, Máté Kanász-Nagy said at a press conference streamed on Facebook Sunday.

Ruling party Fidesz had announced on Saturday that the power plant had to be kept operational to protect the jobs there, but LMP disputes this, according to the co-chair of the green party.

Hungary needs to start eliminating the use of fossil fuel energy, he said, as power plants based on coal, natural gas, and oil unnecessarily pollute the environment.

If we want to protect ourselves from the negative effects of climate change, we clearly have to move Hungary’s energy sources into renewable energy sources

– said Máté Kanász-Nagy.

Péter Ungár, an LMP Member of Parliament, said that the Mátra Power Plant emits 4.5 million tons of carbon dioxide a year, so until it shuts down Hungary is doing virtually nothing against climate change.

Ungár also stressed that the government should provide jobs in the renewable energy sector for Mátra workers, who would get more secure and better-paying jobs.

[Magyar Hang]

United opposition promises to set up a separate ministry for climate protection

picture of Péter Márki-Zay and Máté Kanász-Nagy

“We would like to see as many elements of the LMP ‘green guarantee’ program as possible in the platform of the joint opposition, as well as in the government platform. The point is to develop a lifestyle that helps maintain our quality of life, as our current way of living is unsustainable,” said Máté Kanász-Nagy, co-chair of green party LMP at a press conference for its “Green Turn” declaration held jointly with Péter Márki-Zay (pictured), the opposition’s candidate for prime minister.

Kanász-Nagy stressed that a change in government will lead to a new perspective, one in which the environment, economy, and society will be treated in a holistic manner.

The opposition parties have set as a target the EU’s climate policy goals, such as increasing the share of renewable energy in Hungary. Another important goal is to preserve and improve the quality of water, air, and green spaces. Air quality is particularly important as 15,000 people lose their lives every year due to poor air quality. To make all this happen, the opposition would set up a separate ministry focused on protecting the climate.

Péter Márki-Zay spoke about our duty to preserve the planet, because we did not inherit it from our ancestors, he says, but borrowed it from our grandchildren. “Our primary responsibility is to take care of a clean environment,” he added.

He stressed that all parties in the coalition agree on a “green minimum,” which he believes is in everyone’s common interest. There are, of course, parts of the platform on which there is no common position, but there is an agreement on the basic direction it should go.

Márki-Zay claimed that the most environmentally-friendly energy is that which is not produced. This would represent a real utility reduction, said the Hódmezővásárhely mayor, stressing that building insulation, replacing doors and windows, and installing heat pumps and solar panels must help the poorest, thereby not only protecting the environment but also reducing costs for those affected.

At the end of the press conference, the parties present then signed an agreement on implementing these goals into reality.

“In the light of all this, I am pleased to sign the agreement, not only as a candidate for prime minister, but also on behalf of the six-party opposition coalition and for all of you,” concluded the candidate for prime minister.

[Magyar Hang]

LMP’s Schmuck comes down with coronavirus

picture of Erzsébet Schmuck

Erzsébet Schmuck, Member of Parliament and co-chair of green party Politics Can Be Different (LMP), has also caught the coronavirus, she revealed on social media on Tuesday.

In her post, Schmuck noted the irony of calling for stricter Covid measures in a press conference held earlier on Monday, and then receiving a positive diagnosis for the disease later that evening. However, she has already had three vaccine shots and so hopes to get through it with only mild symptoms.

“I recommend that everyone get vaccinated and wear a mask in indoor spaces,” added the opposition politician.

At LMP’s press conference on Monday, Elizabeth Schmuck stressed that the government is not taking any substantive action on the epidemic. The opposition party is urging that cultural, sports and recreation facilities, as well as restaurants only be open to those possessing a valid vaccination card issued by the government.

[Index]

Hungary failing the challenge of climate change, says green party

picture of Erzsébet Schmuck

The Orbán government needs to review the ambitious climate law passed last year and resubmit it to the National Assembly, announced Hungary’s Green Party, Politics Can Be Different (LMP), at an online press conference on Sunday and reported on by state news agency MTI.

Erzsébet Schmuck, co-chair of LMP, said that while President János Áder “put a shine” on the government’s climate goals and the steps it plans to take at the recently-concluded UN climate summit in Glasgow, the most recent climate change performance index rated Hungary’s climate policy as insufficient.

After Slovenia, Hungary was designated the worst-performing member state in the EU this year in international climate protection studies that examine the relationship between the climate plans of individual countries and the harmful emissions they produce, the opposition politician stated.

Schmuck said that Hungary’s carbon dioxide emissions have been growing since 2014, which will make it impossible for the country to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.

“Wind energy is still banned,” she said, “while protecting green spaces is not important, and they have not launched a complex building energy program that would result in a real utility reduction for families.”

The LMP co-chair said that Viktor Orbán is only willing to deal with green issues if the EU gives him money for it. She added that it is still not clear how the government plans to adapt to changed climate conditions.

[Magyar Hang]