Budapest (MTI) – Leftist opposition parties urged cross-party cooperation to oust the government and achieve a “new change of regime” at a demonstration and commemoration of Hungary’s anti-Soviet uprising of 1956 in Budapest on Sunday.
Referring to the ruling parties, Socialist Party leader Gyula Molnár said those claiming to be the heirs of the 1956 revolutionaries “desecrate” the ideals of the revolution. “They are not the heirs of Imre Nagy, but more like those of [former communist dictator] Matyas Rakosi,” Molnár said. He said the words of martyred PM Nagy, that a dictatorship must be destroyed and not reformed, still rang true today. Molnar said his party had “never thought” that “a time would come” when the demands of 1956 “would once again sound exactly as they did sixty years ago”. These demands, he said, included bringing an end to oppression, the establishment of a free media and a call for Russia not to “interfere” in Hungarian politics.
Molnár said it was possible to oust the Orbán government, adding that such a feat would “simply” require winning a majority in 106 constituencies and among the votes cast for national party lists.
Democratic Coalition leader Ferenc Gyurcsány said it was not simply the governance of the ruling parties that was “bad” in Hungary today, but rather the “system” altogether and voiced agreement with those calling for a new change of regime. He said that although the leftist parties deserved criticism for their failed joint election campaign of 2014, without them joining forces at the time the situation in Hungary would be “even worse” today. He said the leftist opposition must now draw the necessary conclusions from that campaign and enter into talks with opposition players who, although may not have many supporters, are honest and “want the same thing” as the bigger parties.
“There is no middle ground,” Gyurcsány insisted. “Those who are not against Orbán are with him,” the former prime minister said. “I am against Orbán and we will defeat him and create a new Hungary,” he added.
Gergely Karácsony, co-leader of the Dialogue Party, also called for a change of regime and said that a new republic should be established in Hungary. But in order to achieve this, the opposition parties will have to reach a compromise on how to work together, he said, adding that the parties will start talks on a potential cooperation in the 2018 general election as early as next week. He said October 23 should be a day of celebrating the heroes of 1956 but the opposition had to “come out and protest” because the freedom that the Hungarian heroes had risked their lives for sixty years ago was “waning” once again.
Karácsony said the republic was “dead”. The country’s leaders only care about using their power to get rich and their money to amass “even more power”, he insisted. He described the prime minister as “the first tyrant” in the history of Hungary to be kept in power not by the soldiers of a foreign power but by the apathy of his own people. Referring to the revolution’s 50th anniversary, whose commemorations had been held amid violent anti-government protests and police actions in 2006, Karácsony said that similar incidents, namely that “half the country feels that the police can’t tell the difference between the street mobs and citizens exercising their right of assembly”, could not happen in the future “new” Hungarian republic. Karácsony said he was “sorry” for the events of 2006.
Lajos Bokros, head of the conservative MoMa party, said that once a “democratic power” is elected, they should “request a 500-day mandate” to “restore the constitutional rule of law” and democracy in Hungary.