Gergely Karácsony, the opposition’s joint candidate for Budapest mayor, has promised to “turn Budapest into a common home of all of us”, once he wins the local elections scheduled for Sunday.
“Now it is our turn to demonstrate that there is room for fair politics, and we can take Budapest to the 21st century, and keep it in Europe forever”, he told a rally closing the opposition parties’ election campaign in downtown Budapest on Friday evening.
“Now it is within reach for us to retake our city. History has taught us that changes in Hungary always start in Budapest, and now they have begun,” he said.
Karácsony reiterated his promises to impose a new tax on the owners of property worth more than 500 million forints, plant as many trees as the number of babies born in the city annually, plant a large forest on Csepel Island, create a green corridor along the Danube in northern Budapest, help needy pensioners settle their heating bills, and make public transport free for children under age 14. He added that no sports stadiums will be built before each district has a CT scanner of their own.
Antal Csárdi, a lawmaker of green LMP, said that the opposition parties together are now stronger and more united than ruling Fidesz.
Párbeszéd co-leader Tímea Szabó said that over the past nine years the opposition had never stood closer to victory than it does today.
Ágnes Kunhalmi, a Socialist lawmaker, said that Hungary is in a period of transition from an authoritarian regime to an open dictatorship.
“What is at stake in the local elections is to save the country from dictatorial rule,” she said.
András Fekete-Győr, leader of Momentum, said the elections would open a new chapter in the history of Budapest.
Klára Dobrev, EP Vice-President and MEP of the Democratic Coalition, blamed incumbent mayor Istvan Tarlos for having exposed the city to the “oligarchic, mafia-type operation of Fidesz” and given preference to party discipline over the interests of its residents.