Sunday’s mayoral election in Budapest will decide “whether the city stays in firm hands or falls into chaos”, incumbent mayor István Tarlós told his campaign-closing press conference on Saturday.
Tarlós pledged “peace and calm” to the city if he is reelected, rather than “fights” should his opponent Gergely Karácsony win the post.
Tarlós added that opposition candidate Karácsony had made “promises that cannot be met”.
Tarlós said that he himself had opposed the government “on a number of occasions” but insisted that “a realistic chance for cooperation must be retained” because “there is no government on earth that could cooperate with an instinctively adversarial, always threatening and hateful city management”.
“Five years for Budapest is at stake, rather than the wish dreams of a faltering man,” Tarlós insisted. He said that “there is no point” in refusing cooperation with the government because “that would bring no positive results for the city”.
On the other side, joint mayoral candidate Gergely Karácsony said on Saturday that “parties of the opposition will take Budapest back from those privileged who regard Budapest and public funds as if they owned them”, at a campaign closing event ahead of the municipal election, in the city’s eastern 15th district.
The ballot on Sunday will offer an opportunity “not only to elect new leaders but choose a different policy aimed at cooperation rather than division” he said.
The new leaders, he said, should “do small deeds serving the quiet majority rather than voicing high-sounding phrases”.
Karácsony voiced support for the district’s independent mayor and candidate for the next cycle, Angéla Németh, and urged that voters should elect local deputies from among her supporters.
Commenting on criticism by Karácsony, Tarlós said that “the City Hall has not seen a corruption scandal for the past nine years” and added that all public procurement contracts signed by the city were available on its website. Referring to Karácsony’s pledge that the municipality would not build sports stadiums until each district has a CT scanner, Tarlos said that making sports and health care appear as contradicting sectors equalled “not only hate-mongering but dilettantism, also”.
Concerning his achievements, Tarlós said that the city had completed 170 development projects including construction of the city’s fourth metro line and renovation of the third, construction of 400 kilometres of sewage pipes and 35 kilometres of cycling paths, renovation of 50 squares and extension of tramlines in western Budapest.
Touching upon his plans, Tarlós mentioned renovation of the Chain Bridge, adding an air-conditioning system to trains on the third metro line, renovation of two major squares in the city, as well as other developments.