Though Fidesz gained its third consecutive supermajority in the national elections of April 8, the seats of its mayors’ and local representatives in Budapest are not certain at all. In fact, some of them 24.hu talked to said that provided the opposition can cooperate it might happen that no mayors of Fidesz will be re-elected in 2019. To make matters worse, it can even happen that none of its local candidates will be elected in their electoral districts. Thus, PM Orbán would like to take away rights from the city and transfer them to the government.
A secret plan
Though Fidesz was the most supported party in Budapest in the parliamentary elections, its party list received only 38% of the votes. Thus, it depends only on the opposition parties whether it can maintain its leadership in the districts of the capital. According to 24.hu, they talked to a successful mayor who does not want to risk an unexpected defeat. Therefore, he does not want to run again. Besides, he said that Fidesz could fulfill its old idea – taking away the rights of the local governments in Budapest.
Though government officials denied the plan, many of 24.hu’s interviewees talked about it as a fact. According to the plan, before the local elections most
rights and money of local governments will be redirected to higher authorities.
To put it in another way, a mayor will only be able to start the new school year and cancel the old. According to him, most workers of the local governments will be employed by the ministries. However, many of them will be fired.
Reform plans popped up last year in the Transylvanian summer camp of Fidesz, Tusványos. Péter Kovács, mayor of the 16th district, said that to his mind local governance policy is currently bad. According to him, it is very problematic that local leaders do not know what to expect. A couple of days later István Tarlós, mayor of Budapest said that
they have been thinking about possible reform plans for long in the background.
Power and money from Budapest to the government
Many interviewees mentioned an article published by András Gerő, a liberal Historian on the elimination of local governments in Budapest. In fact, Gerő is in a very good relationship with government Historian Mária Schmidt. Thus, many think that in reality, PM Orbán dictated the text that appeared in February.
In the article Gerő argued that a symbiosis between the state and Budapest would be more efficient. Thus,
real power should be in the hand of the General Assembly and the mayor of Budapest.
Furthermore, local councils should only be their prefectures. As a result, all money and power would be concentrated in the hands of the mayor and the General Assembly. Moreover, Gerő wrote that Budapest needs a government commissioner. As a result, strategic development plans would be easier to carry out.
No clear planning
Clearly, the government knows that
city development has to be institutionalized.
This is why they chose a minister without portfolio responsible for the development of county-ranked cities in 2017.
In contrast, many ministers and commissioners are responsible for the development of Budapest. Thus, there is no common concept or uniform plan. According to Gerő, the government seems to have discovered its responsibility for the county-ranked cities, but not yet for Budapest.
According to 24.hu, this means that power and money should be transferred from the districts to a commissioner. This means the government and finally, PM Orbán.
Even Fidesz mayor Tarlós would be disranked
The above plan would mean that not only the 23 district mayors but also Budapest’s mayor István Tarlós would be disranked. An interviewee of 24.hu said that PM Orbán likes to build, things, e.g., stadiums in Budapest. And
he simply does not care what the residents of Budapest think about his plans.
Thus, there is no sign of uniform development plan. There are only individual ideas. He added that even Tarlós realised that he is without means, so he tries to put a bold face on. In the name of the PM Balázs Fürjes, Commissioner for Major Budapest Developments tries to maintain the good relationship with the mayor of Budapest with more or less success.
In March former BKK (Centre for Budapest Transport) CEO Dávid Vitézy said that the whole centre by which the whole public transport of the capital should be placed under governmental control. He later added that his proposals are purely professional ones.
Public transport can be the key
For PM Orbán it is very important that his voters consider
the annexation of Budapest as the only viable solution of a severe problem.
Therefore, they have to create and exaggerate the problem as it happened in case of migration. In fact, this problem might be the question of public transport which concerns 1.8 plus 1.2 million people from the suburbs. In this case, the division is self-evident. BKK belongs to the general council of Budapest while MÁV and Volán to the ministry of national development. However, according to one of 24.hu’s interviewee PM Orbán will not concentrate on the solution of the problem. His aim is not to solve it but to use it to annex the city in which Fidesz’s candidates might suffer a terrible defeat on the local elections next year.
Why Fidesz may lose Budapest?
According to the April results, people living in the capital are the most dissatisfied with the work of the government. However, to defeat Fidesz cooperation and coordination between the opposition parties is inevitable. In fact,
Fidesz lost most of its votes in the bourgeois districts of the city.
For example, prominent government officials like Gergely Gulyás, Mihály Varga and István Simicskó were squeezed by Democratic Coalition candidates considered chanceless before the elections.
Interestingly, Fidesz is currently leading 17 of the 23 districts. The 6 exceptions are the 13th, 14th, 15th, 19th, 20th and 23rd districts.
According to 24.hu, Fidesz received mostly around 40% in Budapest. However, this result might not be enough,
if there were serious opposition candidates.
Featured image: www.facebook.com/RizsaviTamás
Source: 24.hu, Daily News Hungary