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Tag: United for Hungary

United for Hungary demands Szijjártó resignation over Russian breach of Foreign Ministry

picture of Péter Szijjártó

Information released today shows that the Russians are no longer in the pantry, but in government offices, as the Russian secret service has had virtually unlimited access to the Foreign Ministry’s entire IT system for years.

-wrote United for Hungary, calling for Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó (pictured) to resign over the matter.

The statement by Hungary’s united opposition was in reference to a story published by investigative outlet Direkt36 on Tuesday, which claimed that Putin’s hackers have gained access to confidential information on Hungarian foreign affairs, and that the Orbán government has not been able to dislodge them.

The Foreign Ministry cannot be headed by a man who has deliberately exposed the country to Russian interests.

-read the statement by the main political opposition force, adding:

Viktor Orbán has deliberately exposed Hungary to Russia not only through a long-term gas contract and the gigantic loan for Paks 2, but also by putting Russian spies in Budapest and intentionally dismantling the Hungarian government’s cyber defenses. This is why Viktor Orbán is still blocking united European action against Russia, and why Péter Szijjártó received an award of distinction from Putin’s right-hand man, Sergei Lavrov.

-according to the opposition statement.

DK’s Ágnes Vadai, vice-chair of the Committee on Defense and Law Enforcement, also demanded that Chief Prosecutor Péter Polt initiate official proceedings for treason.

As Péter Polt frequently initiates proceedings on the basis of written questions from Parliament, I will ask him in a written question what this is if not treason.

-wrote Ágnes Vadai in her statement.

The Ministry of Foreign Trade and Foreign Affairs responded to HVG‘s inquries on the cyberattacks with a brief statement:

We don’t deal with campaign lies.

[Telex]

Republikon: Fidesz slightly ahead, but within margin of error

picture of Hungarian Parliament

A new Republikon poll shows Fidesz with a slight lead, Our Homeland and MKKP still not reaching the minimum 5% threshold to get into Parliament, and the results of the election likely to come down to turnout, reports Telex.

Among those who state which party they’ll vote for, 49% of respondents chose Fidesz compared to 46% for the united opposition. Just 3% of this group plan to vote for Our Homeland, and 2% throw their support behind the Hungarian Two-Tailed Dog Party (MKKP).

The Republikon poll revealed an even closer race among all voters, with Fidesz edging out the six-party opposition coalition United for Hungary by just 2 percentage points (41-39%).

Since the previous poll in February, ruling party Fidesz has increased its support by 1 percentage point among both definite party voters and all voters, while support for the opposition remained unchanged.

The results suggest that the election may come down to which side is able to make a stronger appeal to undecided voters, and is better able to mobilize their voters to come out to the polling stations on April 3.

In addition to party preferences, the poll also asked about specific issues. According to the results:

  • 57% said that Hungary’s allies were in the West instead of the East. While 16% disagree with this, even a small majority of Fidesz voters were more pro-Western.
  • 63% believe Hungary has a duty to help the Ukrainians even if it harms the economy, while 19% were opposed to this.
  • 46% of respondents are in favor of Hungary adopting the euro, with 31% against it. A majority of Fidesz voters prefer to keep the forint as the country’s official currency, but 79% of opposition supporters want Hungary to join the Eurozone.

The representative poll was conducted by Republikon Institute between March 16-18, and has an estimated margin of error of 3.2%.

[HVG][Photo: Krisztian Kormos / Pexels]

Hungarians prefer a change of gov’t over keeping the current one

picture of opposition leaders on stage

In a new Publicus Institute poll commissioned by Népszava, 42% of Hungarians want the united opposition coalition to take over leadership of the country after the election, while 39% hope ruling party Fidesz will continue governing.

However, when asked which party they intended to vote for in the April 3 parliamentary elections, 32% of respondents did not give a definite answer.

Népszava claims that this apparent uncertainty explains why the Fidesz-KDNP coalition is expected to win 33% of the vote to 31% for the united opposition, despite the fact that a relative majority is hoping for a change of government. All other parties register only a few percentage points of support, and therefore would not gain parliamentary representation.

The war in Ukraine may have caused a shift in party allegiances: on February 24, the day the war broke out, Fidesz was up 5% over the united opposition. But this latest poll shows the ruling party now only has a 2% advantage, having fallen to 33% support versus United for Hungary at 31%.

444 reports that the IDEA Institute also showed a similar result in its latest poll.

[444]

Happy March 15! Parties gather to celebrate Hungary’s national holiday

picture of Power to the People rally

Hungary’s political forces are rallying their supporters together today to celebrate the country’s national holiday, which commemorates the Hungarian Revolution of 1848-49.

The governing Fidez-KDNP parties are meeting in Kossuth Square, where Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is delivering a speech. Their supporters are also holding a Peace March under the organization of the Civil Unity Forum (CÖF).

The political opposition alliance, United for Hungary, is also holding a large rally on the other side of the Danube near Freedom Bridge in Buda, along the Technical University Riverside Drive, starting at 3pm.

The following people are scheduled to speak at the opposition’s gathering, “Power to the People”:

• Gábor Iványi, pastor
• Anna Donáth (Momentum)
• Gergely Karácsony (Dialogue)
• Péter Jakab (Jobbik)
• Erzsébet Schmuck (LMP)
• Bertalan Tóth (MSZP)
• Klára Dobrev (DK)
• Donald Tusk, President of the European People’s Party
• Péter Márki-Zay, United for Hungary candidate for prime minister

Singer Orsolya Burján, and actors Zsolt Nagy and Csaba Polgár are also scheduled to perform at the oppositon’s event, which is being hosted by actors Mónika Ullmann and Zsolt Nagy.

[Magyar Hang][Photo: supporters of United for Hungary rally in Budapest, March 15, 2022]

Opposition parties turning to OSCE over pro-Putin propaganda in state-funded media

screenshot of Hungarian M1 television

United for Hungary finds it unacceptable that state-funded media and pro-government media outlets, which are also funded from taxpayer money, are playing a role in spreading Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war propaganda. As such, they are turning to OSCE’s mission in Hungary over the matter, according to a statement released by the political parties in the opposition coalition.

The united opposition feels it must speak out about how Hungary’s public media distorts the reality about Russian aggression, while also taking positions stated by the Hungarian opposition out of context, completely changing their original meaning.

This practice is reprehensible and especially irresponsible given that the European Union has started to impose sanctions on Russian media companies spreading Putin’s war propaganda, the parties believe.

As many are presently losing their lives in defense of their homes in the neighboring country of Ukraine, United for Hungary says it is extremely important to provide accurate information and present political statements honestly. The current war demands that state-run media, which gets more than 130 billion Ft. (US $387 million) of public money annually, meet at least these requirements at a minimum.

[Magyar Hang]

Opposition plans protest today in front of Russian “spybank” in Budapest

picture of a building

United for Hungary is holding a protest at 6:00pm today in front of the Russian “spybank,” or the International Investment Bank (IIB), the political opposition coalition announced on Facebook. The post stated that Péter Márki-Zay, the joint opposition’s prime ministerial candidate and mayor of Hódmezővásárhely, would also be speaking at the event on the Buda side of the Chain Bridge in Budapest.

The war between Russia and Ukraine has already caused the Czech Republic and Romania to leave the Budapest-based financial institution, reported adevarul.ro.

In 2019, the Hungarian government provided €10 million (US $11.2 million) in subsidies to the IIB to cover the move to Budapest. HVG wrote at the time that the financial institution was given exceptional treatment: its chair and employees are exempt from all judicial and administrative procedures, and in addition to diplomatic immunity, they are able to take as many “partners” and “guests” into Hungary and the European Union as they want.

Socialist MEP István Ujhelyi said then that the bank’s move to Budapest posed a security risk, and an American think tank called the Orbán-sponsored Russian financial institution Putin’s Trojan horse in Europe.

Following this, IIB responded in a statement denying that it was a “spybank.”

[HVG][Photo: International Investment Bank / maps.google.com]

Opposition demanding stronger sanctions against Putin regime

picture of press conference

The united political opposition is demanding that the Hungarian government impose three sanctions on Russia immediately, stating that the country’s aggression against Ukraine cannot go unpunished.

The United for Hungary party alliance held a press conference on Saturday, in which it urged Viktor Orbán to suspend the Paks II nuclear plant expansion project, freeze assets connected to the Russian President and his business cohorts, and eject the International Investment Bank from the country.

DK Vice-President László Varju, parliamentary candidate in Budapest’s 11th electoral district and chair of the Budget Committee, demanded that the government investigate whether Putin had assets in Hungary, then freeze those assets following the investigation. The Russian president does not believe in treaties, nor the spoken or written word, he claimed, but “believes in tanks, fighter bombers, and machine guns.”

Máté Kanász-Nagy, co-chair of LMP, voiced the demand that the Hungarian government immediately suspend the Paks II investment project.

The start of the war made it clear that we need to break the dependencies that bind us to the aggressor, Putin’s regime. One of our biggest dependencies is nuclear energy.

-said the LMP Co-Chair.

“While Viktor Orbán frequently acts as Putin’s Trojan horse in the European Union, this so-called International Investment Bank is Russia’s Trojan horse in the financial sector,” said Momentum’s Miklós Hajnal, the last speaker.

United for Hungary is demanding that the Orbán government immediately expel this Russian spy bank, whose employees even get diplomatic protection, from Hungary and the Hungarian financial system.

-announced Miklós Hajnal.

Hungary will support and not block any EU sanctions against Russia, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said while inspecting the Hungarian-Ukrainian border and again during his interview on M1 Television on Sunday evening.

The United States and the EU have already imposed massive financial sanctions on Russia since launching the attack on Ukraine.

Economic relations between Hungary and Russia are primarily dominated by the energy sector, but Hungary’s healthcare industry, pharmaceutical industry, and banking sector may also be severely impacted if the situation escalates.

[Telex]

United for Hungary releases its national list of candidates

picture of opposition leaders on stage

The opposition coalition United for Hungary has finally submitted its joint list of candidates to the National Election Office, ATV reported on Friday, with the following politicians leading the top 15 spots:

  1. Péter Márki-Zay (MMM)
  2. Klára Dobrev (DK)
  3. Gergely Karácsony (Dialogue)
  4. Péter Jakab (Jobbik)
  5. András Fekete-Győr (Momentum)
  6. Bertalan Tóth (MSZP)
  7. Péter Ungár (LMP)
  8. Ferenc Gyurcsány (DK)
  9. Dániel Z. Kárpát (Jobbik)
  10. Ágnes Vadai (DK)
  11. Zsolt Molnár (MSZP)
  12. Márton Tompos (Momentum)
  13. Brenner Koloman (Jobbik)
  14. Erzsébet Gy. Németh (DK)
  15. Sándor Berki (Dialogue)

It was announced on Thursday that after several months of negotiations, the united opposition had finally come up with a joint list. The first 45 seats, which are considered highly likely to enter Parliament on the party list based on public polling, are divided up by party in the following way:

DK – 14 spots
Jobbik – 12 spots
Momentum – 8 spots
MSZP-Dialogue – 8 spots
LMP – 3 spots

The list was drawn up nearly at the last minute, as the deadline for parties or organizations taking part in the parliamentary elections on April 3 to submit a national list to the National Election Office is Saturday, February 26 at 4:00pm.

[HVG]

Nearing deadline, opposition parties still struggling with joint candidate list

picture of person voting

Saturday, February 26 is the deadline for parties to submit their national list of candidates, but the opposition alliance United for Hungary has not yet agreed on how to fill the top spots for its list, reports ATV. In essence, some points of difference appear similar to when the news station reported on the topic nearly two weeks ago.

The debate is primarily over one, or possibly two places on the list. Sources tell ATV that the differences of opinion are between close allies MSZP and Dialogue on one side, and DK, Jobbik, Momentum, and LMP on the other, and whether MSZP and Dialogue should jointly have eight, nine, or even ten leading spots on the opposition’s joint list.

The parties have also not decided on whether ethnic Roma candidates should be included in each party’s quota of candidates either.

According to ATV, the current standing for each party with regards to the top 45 places on the list, viewed as the most likely to win parliamentary mandates based on current polls, is the following:

  • 14 spots for DK (or 13 if it helps LMP out)
  • 12 for Jobbik (including a Roma politician)
  • 8 for Momentum (including a Roma politician)
  • 8 or 9 for MSZP-Dialogue (but the Roma politician that Dialogue wants to include are not in every scenario)
  • 3 for LMP, but if they only win one individual electoral district, they will get an extra spot from DK

The other issue that appears to be dividing the allies is the fact that MSZP-Dialogue performed significantly better in the primary elections than the combined support of the two parties in the opposition, as measured by public opinion polls.

The major sticking point is which measurement should be considered as the basis for allocating top spots on the list for them. Naturally, MSZP-Dialogue politicians would prefer to use their showing in the primaries as the basis for determining their strength in the coalition.

But the article writes that Momentum has been saying for weeks that each party’s level of national support should determine the number of spots it gets and how the list is composed. DK, Jobbik, and LMP have also agreed with this view.

Based on national polling averages, Momentum and MSZP-Dialogue would theoretically receive the same number of places within the top 45 names on the list.

[HVG]

Péter Márki-Zay and opposition leaders give their assessments of the state of the country

picture of Péter Márki-Zay and opposition leaders

After Viktor Orbán and Ferenc Gyurcsány delivered theirs recently, Péter Márki-Zay on Thursday also gave a speech evaluating the past year, but the joint candidate for prime minister of the united opposition provided an opportunity for his six-party allies to offer their assessments as well.

Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony, speaking on behalf of Dialogue, called Viktor Orbán a “shifty businessman,” and noted that we should be using the word “and” more frequently than “or”:

Left-wing and right-wing, rural and Budapester, the point is to find each other, so that the people of power are replaced by the power of the people.

-said the mayor.

Máté Kanász-Nagy then spoke for LMP, warning that the lives of the poor in Hungary are on an unsustainable path, and that over time the normal functioning of society will be unsustainable.

Speaking in the name of MSZP, Ágnes Kunhalmi noted that Orbán’s System of National Cooperation (NER) had not raised living standards in Hungary in over 12 years of exercising power.

Momentum President Anna Donáth said that the government’s goal was to maintain a system serving the privileged few, which has pushed millions of others into an insecure existence, perhaps for centuries.

Jobbik’s Chair Péter Jakab noted that the opposition had learned the lesson from 2018 that they had to unite together to defeat the current system.

Make the thieves pay, and a decent living for every Hungarian – this is what I say at every street event.

-Jakab said as he closed his brief remarks.

MEP Klára Dobrev from DK was the last representative to speak from Hungary’s six-party alliance. She claimed that although Fidesz is waging a dirty campaign against the opposition and the free press, the party’s leaders are clearly having trouble sleeping at night, and have every reason to do so.

Péter Márki-Zay: Hungary is a looted country

Opposition leader Péter Márki-Zay was then introduced by former ATV newscaster András Simon as a “mortgage-paying father of seven.”

The prime minister-designate began by saying that he had previously put his trust in Fidesz and Viktor Orbán, but became disillusioned in them. Orbán had an exceptional opportunity to make a real difference with his two-thirds majority in Parliament, but he did not take advantage of this opportunity, Márki-Zay believes.

Hungary lags behind other countries even within the region, with unlimited power only having brought unlimited corruption to the country.

Márki-Zay thinks it unacceptable that Orbán stokes fear in Hungarians by “settling large numbers of migrants” in the country, and “incites resentment against homosexuals, even against Fidesz homosexuals.”

Today, Hungary is a looted country with devastated education, health care, and human relations, where the Prime Minister said nothing about the 43,000 people who have died from Covid in his speech assessing the past year, said Márki-Zay.

According to the opposition’s candidate for prime minister, Hungary has the highest share of poverty and the lowest minimum wage in the EU, where people increasingly fear losing even what little they have.

Hungary is an unhappy country, where many live in insecurity while the few are very rich.

-claimed Péter Márki-Zay.

Orbán is so far removed from reality, he claimed, that the Prime Minister only dares to visit kindergartens in a bulletproof vest.

The mayor of Hódmezővásárhely said it was incomprehensible why so little is spent on Hungarian health care. And while the Hungarian government decided to wage war on health workers in the middle of the epidemic, the government in Austria chose to fight the epidemic with free tests.

Now that the Prime Minister feels he is in danger, he has begun to return some of the money he had stolen from the country, said Péter Márki-Zay. Hungary has the opposition to thank for this, because without them, Orbán would not feel the need to hand out such huge welfare benefits.

But now, even the EU is fed up with Orbán’s thievery, he said, which is why the European Court of Justice has ruled that the European Commission can now use the rule of law mechanism to withhold EU funds from Hungary.

Péter Márki-Zay said that he could have lived a quiet life without being “portrayed on posters as a small, evil antagonist,” but he became a politician so he could do something for his homeland.

After becoming mayor of Hódmezővásárhely, he managed to break up the local NER, end the stealing, reduce the country’s highest building tax, and make public transportation free.

Even Fidesz supporters have been better off since we replaced Fidesz [in the town], and this is what we will do nationwide on April 3.

-stated Péter Márki-Zay.

The opposition leader then promised to give pay raises to teachers, health workers, and law enforcement while stopping “prestige” investments projects and new stadium construction.

In addition, a Márki-Zay government will reduce the VAT on staple food products to 5% and end the state monopoly on tobacco. The opposition will also restore Hungary’s border guard, and extradite “Islamist criminals let in by Viktor Orbán” to other countries.

He also vowed to review the contracts for the Paks II nuclear power plant expansion project and the Belgrade-Budapest railway line, and pledged that those who have “betrayed the country will be held accountable.” The new government will also assist journalists with their investigative work.

Those who are hoping to change the government, said Péter Márki-Zay, should vote exclusively for the opposition list and its candidates.

He again related a story in which he told his son that Viktor Orbán was like a child who terrorizes the other students in the class. The only way to put him in his place is if everyone in the class stands up to him, said the opposition politician.

At the end of his speech, Péter Márki-Zay announced a rally on March 15 in support of a new government, encouraging everyone to show up at that event, as well as at the polls on April 3.

[Azonnali][Photo: Péter Márki-Zay / Facebook]

United opposition remains unable to agree on final joint candidate list

picture of opposition leaders

Although it has been expected for a few weeks now, a joint candidate list for the April 3 parliamentary elections has still not been finalized by the united political opposition.

According to ATV.hu, the main points of contention amongst the six-party coalition are a single mandate and the parliamentary status of Péter Márki-Zay.

Opposition parties got together again on Tuesday to try to come to an agreement, but two of them, MSZP and Dialogue, were not present at the talks. ATV‘s sources said that another meeting would be necessary, as the parties failed to agree on how many seats these two parties should get on the final joint list.

The news site reports that two contentious issues remain:

  • the number of top spots on the list reserved for candidates from MSZP, Dialogue, and Momentum relative to one other;
  • Dialogue doesn’t want their Prime Minister-designate, Péter Márki-Zay, to be counted in their quota, but four other parties, DK, Jobbik, Momentum, and LMP do want him to be counted.

MSZP told ATV that it skipped the talks in part because of a ski trip taken by Dialogue Co-Chair Gergely Karácsony, and also because they didn’t feel another meeting was warranted since the situation had not changed much since the last unsuccessful meeting on Sunday.

[HVG]

Opposition coalition would bring Hungary into eurozone, end flat tax rate

picture of euro statue

The euro could become Hungary’s currency in five years, said representatives of the United for Hungary opposition coalition in describing their economic policy program, as reported by news agency MTI. The politicians discussed adopting the euro, the tax system, and inflation at an event on economic policy.

Tamás Mellár of Dialogue believes that bringing Hungary into the eurozone could take five years, but the Maastricht criteria still have to be met, so the forint exchange rate must be kept within a narrow range. In addition, the “devaluation policy” of the Orbán government will have to come to an end, he said.

DK’s László Varju stated that the lack of political will over the past ten years has prevented Hungary from getting closer to adopting the euro.

Another representative, Antal Csardi from LMP, believes that Hungary should have multiple tax brackets instead of a flat personal income tax rate, and that the minimum wage should be tax-free. Csárdi would also rethink the multi-rate VAT system. Multinational companies in Hungary pay only a third in taxes compared to smaller Hungarian companies, which he considers unacceptable.

Zoltán Vajda, representing the MSZP and the Everybody’s Hungary Movement, said that the central bank’s inflation policy is irresponsible, and continuous interest rate increases by the central bank do not strengthen the forint.

[Magyar Hang][Photo: C.Suthorn / cc-by-sa-4.0 / commons.wikimedia.org]

United for Hungary declares support for teacher strike, will raise salaries 50%

picture of press conference

In an online press conference, representatives of Hungary’s united opposition coalition unanimously declared their support for yesterday’s public teacher strike.

The speakers assured the striking teachers of their solidarity, considering the two-hour work stoppage justified because the government has not lived up to its promises but rather seized every means to deter the strike from occurring. Educators were also reassured that after winning the April 3 elections, United for Hungary will fundamentally reform the education system, give educators more freedom, and put less burden on teachers and students.

MP Tamás Csányi, Jobbik’s education specialist, spoke about the fact that although teachers requested a salary increase last October, the government has not complied with it. If the opposition is able to form a new government, it will raise the salaries of public school teachers by 50% over four years in recognition of their efforts. They will also introduce a rental housing program to help teachers wherever there is a critical need for teachers in a given area.

Gábor Erőss, the deputy mayor of Budapest’s Józsefváros district and Dialogue’s education expert, said that after April the new government would shut down the Klebelsberg Center, self-determination would be restored to local communities, and special attention would be paid to avoiding the pre-2010 mistakes in the educational system. He mentioned the new developments in kindergartens in Józsefváros as a good example, where English language classes and programs to ensure equal opportunities are now offered.

Endre Tóth, a member of the Momentum board with a focus on education, spoke about how the Hungarian government severely curtails employees’ rights, then threatens those who stand up for their interests. Fortunately, this did not manage to deter teachers from the strike, he said.

Tóth also said that once the opposition can form a government, schools will have more independence in choosing textbooks, and the curriculum will be simpler and less burdensome for both teachers and students.

Gergely Arató, the deputy leader of DK’s parliamentary group and the party’s point person on education, emphasized that the the former ministry of education took the opinions of teachers into account, while the current government does not. He believes that a separate ministry for education would give more respect to teachers, students, and parents.

Krisztina Hohn, the deputy head of the LMP parliamentary group, promised a smaller workload for teachers and much less unnecessary administrative work after they win the April elections. She also said that the unfortunate increase in violence within schools could be reduced with better educational policy instead of with security guards.

István Hiller, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly and former Minister of Education in the MSZP government, believes the current situation has come about because the government promised that more pay would be given for more work, but did not fulfill its promise. He said that the demands of struggling teachers were fair, and mentioned that Hungarian education was falling more and more behind. A new government and regime is needed, which he thinks will be better for teachers, students, and the country.

Ruling party Fidesz released a statement on Monday afternoon in reaction to the opposition’s press conference:

Today’s teacher strike is a left-wing campaign move. As the election approaches, teachers are once again being exploited and harassed by the left, which, when it was in power, took a month of pay from them, closed hundreds of rural schools, put thousands of teachers out on the streets, and made them work for humiliatingly low wages.

-claimed the Fidesz statement.

[Magyar Hang]

Márki-Zay’s Roma affairs expert unhappy that Roma shut out of joint opposition list

picture of Béla Lakatos

The united opposition is in the final stages of putting together its joint party list for the election, and Béla Lakatos (pictured) spoke up about his dissatisfaction with Roma being mostly excluded from it.

Lakatos, chosen by opposition prime ministerial candidate Péter Márki-Zay as his cabinet leader for Roma affairs, expressed his disappointment on Facebook:

The candidate for prime minister asked you for something that, apart from Jobbik, you all publicly accepted during the debate for the prime ministerial candidate. Now, we Roma see no trace of this, and even Sándor Berki’s place among the first 45 spots is in danger, though we believed he would get into Parliament. I have to say that right now, apart from Péter Márki-Zay, this is not an important issue for any of the parties.

Berki is currently fourth on Dialogue’s party list, after Gergely Karácsony, Rebeka Szabó, and Olivio Kocsis-Cake. But since Karácsony will remain mayor of Budapest and not take a seat in Parliament, Berki will actually be third on the Dialogue list, which the party believes will guarantee him a parliamentary mandate.

Lakatos also pointed out that he had accepted that there would not be a seventh group in Parliament, but said that it would hurt the opposition’s credibility if they didn’t have Roma representation in Parliament.

Péter Márki-Zay stated last October that he wanted three Roma politicians in the top thirty spots on the joint opposition list. ATV has reported that a compromise is being put together on the issue to partially fulfil Márki-Zay’s request. Dialogue’s Bence Tordai left a comment on Lakatos’ post expressing his hope that the other parties in the coalition would also act responsibly in this matter.

The media has been reporting that the top 45 spots on the common party list will be split up accordingly:

  • DK – 14
  • Jobbik – 12
  • Momentum – 8
  • MSZP and Dialogue – 8 altogether
  • LMP: 3 or 4

[Telex][Photo: Béla Lakatos / Facebook]

United opposition announces full list of cabinet policy leaders

picture of press conference

Earlier this month, United for Hungary announced a “shadow government” of experts that would speak on its behalf in their particular field of expertise. The opposition coalition has now released its full list of cabinet leaders for specific policy areas.

These are the people who have joined together and directed the formulation of a policy platform in which those working to install a new government spell out in detail what they want to achieve once they form a government, and how it will be done.

-their statement read.

The full list of cabinet policy leaders and their competent areas are the following:

  • Péter Ákos Bod – economy, budget, tax
  • Gábor Bojár – economy, budget, tax
  • Júlia Király – economy, budget, tax
  • Dr. György Magyar – judicial reform
  • Attila Fazakas – national policy issues
  • Zoltán Fleck – public law
  • Ákos Hadházy – anti-corruption and accountability
  • Attila Holoda – energy
  • Péter Inkei – culture
  • Máté Kanász-Nagy – social and equal opportunities
  • Zoltán Komáromi – health care
  • Imath Komtejahi – trade union, labor, wages
  • Béla Lakatos – Roma issues
  • Róbert Lengyel – law enforcement, disaster management
  • Katalin Lukácsi – church-related affairs
  • Gábor Polyák – press, media
  • György Raskó – agriculture
  • Adam Steinmetz – sport
  • János Stummer – national security
  • Bernadett Szél – green and climate policy, transportation
  • István Szent-Iványi – foreign policy, European policy
  • Endre Tóth – education
  • Gábor Üveges – rural development
  • Ágnes Vadai – national defense
  • Tamás Wittinghoff – municipal governments
  • Dániel Z. Kárpát – housing, family

According to United for Hungary:

The professional and policy-related work that these policy leaders have done to date is proof, and a guarantee, that the opposition’s platform is not just bunch of promises, but a series of feasible measures based on a comprehensive analysis of the situation that takes into account where there is room for manuever.

They added that the media will soon have a chance to get acquainted with these cabinet leaders in background discussions. [Index]

[Photo: United for Hungary holds press conference, Móricz Zsigmond körtér, Budapest, January 14, 2022]

Karácsony and supporters deliver referendum signatures to National Election Office

picture of people with boxes

Hungary’s political opposition held a joint press conference yesterday morning announcing the delivery of 470,000 signatures from 235,000 people to the National Election Office, expressing confidence that the two-question referendum could be held together with the parliamentary elections on April 3.

Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony began the press conference denoting the end of the referendum’s signature drive by saying that the activists had done heroic work over the past few weeks through collecting signatures at the worst possible time. The mayor said that the boxes full of signatures behind him would now be taken to the election office so that politics could be given back to the people.

Politics has become more and more synonymous with corruption, pragmatism, and misleading people, while decisions are increasingly made for the sake of a narrow elite, but these [referenda] questions serve anew the purpose of making political decisions in the public interest.

-said the Mayor.

Gergely Karácsony closed by saying that the referendum would take them from the primary election to the parliamentary election, which again will be a referendum on ending the politics of recent years, “which has held the state hostage and represented private interests instead of the public interest.”

Momentum’s Anna Orosz spoke about committed supporters in the opposition who had tried to warn the six-party coalition not to start collecting signatures before the Christmas holiday period. The Deputy Mayor of Újbuda felt that there was no circumstance that could not be overcome in their effort to install a new government in Hungary.

Budapest Deputy Mayor Erzsébet Gy. Németh asked supporters to show the same level of dedication during the election campaign to help them replace the government. If they are capable of this, on April 3 they will be able to show that “a new world is coming.”

Opposition activists deliver signature sheets to National Election Office, January 21, 2022 [Anna Orosz / Facebook]

MSZP’s Imre Komjáthi claimed that people’s livelihoods were threatened in Hungary, and that millions of people nervously walk into stores because of runaway inflation. “Millions of people are now getting less on the table because the government isn’t acting,” he stated.

Tímea Szabó said that the government tried everything it could to block the opposition’s referendum initiative, but the flood of signatures showed that people had already said no to Fudan University and yes to the Student City project. The Co-Chair of Dialogue wore a T-shirt with the Chinese flag overlaid with the Fidesz logo, for which she had previously received a 10 million Ft. (US $31,600) fine while wearing in the National Assembly.

Tímea Szabó also stated that:

If János Áder does not call the referendum for April 3, it will go against the will of the people.

The two proposed questions for the referendum are:

  • Do you agree that the maximum period for the payment of unemployment benefits should be 270 days?
  • Do you agree that the National Assembly should repeal Act LXXXI of 2021 on the Fudan Hungary University Foundation regarding the transfer of assets to the Fudan Hungary University Foundation?

LMP Co-Chair Máté Kanász-Nagy believes that the government’s recent corruption cases have highlighted the importance of the referendum. As he put it, “the Fidesz privileged are stealing with abandon,” while on the other side people are missing out on their unemployment benefits.

Jobbik’s György Szilágyi said it was a touching and uplifting feeling to see that after the thrill of the primary election, masses of people again stood next to the opposition, showing the power to sweep away “Viktor Orbán and his gang.”

Press Chief Judit Péterfi read a message by the opposition’s nominee for prime minister, Péter Márki-Zay, who could not be present at the event following a positive coronavirus test. Márki-Zay wrote that the opposition now has 235,000 brave men and woman who have given their names and details to their effort, but there are even more out there.

Péter Márki-Zay felt that they had made huge strides since the primary elections. He made a promise and they achieved it, and they now have a reason to celebrate. But he also looked ahead by saying:

The real referendum on April 3 will be about a single question: Fidesz or not Fidesz.

Forming a human chain, opposition supporters then passed the boxes containing the signature sheets to one another from Kossuth Square to the National Election Office.

[Index][Photos: Anna Orosz / Facebook]

Bailiffs, Völner, and (spoiler alert) Orbán appear in opposition’s first campaign ad

picture of Viktor Orbán's head

New apartment or house? Credit, credit and even more credit. And if it is not repaid, baliffs will come from above to ruthlessly foreclose on unfortunate Hungarians so they can line their own pockets.

-writes Péter Márki-Zay, the opposition’s prime minister-designate, in a recent Facebook post.

The post is accompanied by the first campaign advertisement from the united opposition, which claims that the Fidesz government has mismanaged the Covid crisis and caused difficulties for many families.

The video shows that many people have lost their jobs and so fallen behind in mortgage repayments, resulting in greedy bailiffs swooping in to repossess their assets for their own monetary benefit. These baliffs then have to pay their share, and the video shows corruption-tainted former State Secretary Pál Völner, who is suspected of receiving bribes from the president of the industry’s interest group.

Finally, the video shows the boss, who the opposition claims is waiting for the money, and is revealed as none other than the Prime Minister himself.

However, HVG points out a basic flaw with the premise of the ad: a mortatorium on mortgage repayments was in place from the beginning of the epidemic in March 2020 until November last year, meaning that debtors didn’t have to pay their monthly instalments during this time and so basically did not have to face the threat of foreclosure.

Here is the video:

[HVG]

Fidesz wants a Chinese university, we want long-term housing, says united opposition

picture of press conference

“The government is campaigning with a promise of a 133,000 Ft. (US $420) minimum monthly wage, while rent in the capital is 160,000 Ft. ($506),” said Jobbik Vice-President Dániel Z. Kárpát on behalf of the United for Hungary opposition coalition at a press conference on Monday. Kárpát said that new rental construction can be a meaningful solution to the country’s housing crisis.

Fidesz wants to import a Chinese university with taxpayers’ money that charges three million forints for tuition. We want long-term housing for 30,000 young Hungarians.

-stated the Jobbik leader, who connected the construction of new rental housing to the opposition’s referendum initiative on Fudan University. The government’s plans to build a campus of the Chinese university in Budapest would replace the Student City project and take away planned dormitory space for Hungarian college students.

Socialist MP Dezső Hiszékeny added that not only the price of new apartments, but even rent is unaffordable for those living on wages and salaries. The municipality in his District XIII constituency is providing its own funding for building rental housing, he said, with a 35-apartment condominium handed over to tenants just last week.

LMP’s Bernadett Bakos also leveled criticism at the government’s housing subsidy policies. The CSOK subsidy for young families purchasing homes, she said, is “for the privilege of a few, while driving up property prices.”

But as Jobbik’s Kárpát also stated, Bakos noted that the United for Hungary coalition did not want to abolish the existing benefits, just make them fairer by making them need-based.

[444][Photo: Jobbik Magyarországért Mozgalom / Facebook]

Orbán planning austerity measures after the election, says Unity for Hungary

picture of press conference

The Orbán government is planning to introduce austerity measures once the election is over, said politicians from the Unity for Hungary opposition on Wednesday, representing the DK, Jobbik, and Dialogue parties.

Jobbik Vice-President Dániel Z. Kárpát said that the 750 billion Ft. (US $2.42 billion) worth of budget cuts, which the government announced in “in a shifty way” before the holidays, are already quite painful.

If we include new measures announced in the past few weeks, we can see that the government wants to cut more than 1.1 trillion Ft. ($3.55 billion).

-he added.

About 73% of this amount is confidential, said the Jobbik politician, as the government has not revealed which projects it intends to put off or cuts it plans to make to health care. The united opposition has committed itself to not introducing austerity measures, and if it is able to form the next government, its first goal will be to set the economy straight.

Hungary’s economic problems are multiplying, stated Anett Bősz, deputy leader of the DK parliamentary caucus. The government is unable to deal with runaway inflation, fuel and other energy prices out of control, and Hungary’s public debt has reached a ten-year high, she said.

Bősz noted that we don’t know which projects have been affected by 400 billion Ft. ($1.29 billion) in cuts to the Investment Fund, but whatever they are, cutting back on investments is a sign that the country is abandoning its development plans for the medium and long-term. What the country needs are responsible fiscal and monetary policies, and investment should not suffer because the government is now handing out social welfare benefits, Bősz said.

Dialogue spokesman Richárd Barabás claimed that over the past decade the government had pursued corruption-laden, wasteful, massive, and unnecessary development projects instead of investing in people. The Deputy Mayor of Újbuda said that the Prime Minister, “guided by vile political revenge,” had punished municipalities where the residents did not support Fidesz’s agenda.

“The opposition parties believe in a policy that views local governments as partners,” Barabás added.

[Magyar Hang]

United opposition demands immediate action over 40,000 Covid deaths in Hungary

picture of votive candles

“United for Hungary: Let’s remember our 40,000 dead – the price of a hushed up epidemic” was the title of a statement from the joint opposition coalition shared on Facebook yesterday by Péter Márki-Zay, their nominee for prime minister.

United for Hungary claims that the Orbán government’s management of the epidemic has been a failure, as evidenced by the fact that the number of deaths from the coronavirus in Hungary just surpassed 40,000.

Now that we are at the beginning of the fifth wave, we have to brace for losing more of our compatriots in higher numbers than ever before. We call on the government to launch a vaccination campaign immediately, expand testing capacity and ensure that there are sufficient and respected professionals in hospitals.

-the United for Hungary coalition demanded.

They also called on the “most insensitive and greediest government of all time” to abandon its own businesses dealing with the coronavirus, and meaningfully focus on the most vulnerable Hungarians, even if it has not yet done so. At the same time, the Unity for Hungary coalition expresses its condolences to the families of the 40,000 deceased Hungarians.

After installing a new government in the spring, we will create a health care system that provides accessible and high-quality care to all Hungarian citizens, and offers dignified conditions to its workers.

-the opposition promised in its statement.

[Népszava][Photo: Péter Márki-Zay / Facebook]