Botka calls on leftist opposition parties to band together in 2018 election
László Botka, the Socialist Party’s candidate for prime minister, has called on Hungary’s left-leaning parties to form an alliance with the aim of defeating Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his Fidesz party at next year’s general election.
Addressing a meeting of the Socialist Party‘s board on Saturday, Botka insisted that other opposition parties were more preoccupied with their own political survival than with working to unseat the government.
“If our goal is indeed to change the government, then we have to be clear the only way to do so is in an alliance,” Botka, who is also the mayor of Szeged, said. Any party that fails to recognise this does not believe in winning, he added.
“Seven months before the election, the time for empty words is over; now is time to act,” he said.
Botka said the Socialists were the party of the disillusioned, disappointed and dissatisfied. “We’re going to make right what politicians have ruined over the past 16 years,” he said, adding that the programme of a real social democratic party was to raise people out of poverty, to help pensioners and to work to improve the standard of schools and hospitals.
Botka said that it had been possible to believe in the past that the government served the country. “But now we are waking up to the fact that the country has become the servant of the government.” He said
Orbán’s government had deliberately pushed the country into poverty and hopelessness.
He insisted that there was now widespread dissatisfaction following Orbán’s win in 2010. He noted the government’s decision to nationalise private pensions and the alleged corruption associated with putting tobacconists under state control while also selling off state land. He also insisted the government had increased the taxes of small earners while dismantling welfare institutions.
Botka said “everyone now feels” that
Orbán is not a leader who looks after the interests of the community but one who is devoted to “the few, the party, the billionaires, the multinationals”.
He said the leftwing also wants to represent people who voted for Fidesz, “because they have been listening to their hearts, and now they want a change of government because their hearts are broken, seeing what the country has turned into.”
Botka confirmed that he wanted to see a joint election list, joint individual candidates, a joint programme and a joint PM candidate on the left.