ex and new mayor
Photo: MTI/Kovács Tamás

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said he considered the deals made with outgoing Budapest Mayor Istvan Tarlos to remain valid without changes.

Orbán, who is also the leader of the ruling Fidesz party, told commercial channel HirTV on Wednesday that the local council elections had been won despite some “poignant losses” suffered especially in Budapest and a few other large cities.

What’s most important from the government’s point of view is that an overall 1.8 million supporting votes were cast for the ruling parties, significantly more than for the opposition, Orbán said.

“As a result, I would like to see the bold and self-confident governance of the past nine years continue, because the support necessary for good work has been expressed for the government’s programme,” Orbán said.

The decision of the people of Budapest must be accepted, he said. “Budapest has had a Demszky era, then a Tarlós era and now people have decided that something new should follow,” he added.

People voted in support of Gergely Karácsony, the joint opposition candidate for Budapest mayor, hoping that he would be a better leader for the city, Orbán said.

“My job is to give him a chance and provide the necessary conditions,” he added.

Orbán said the new Budapest leadership would work under unchanged conditions. Hungary is a democracy and people expect their leaders to work together, Orbán added, wishing Karácsony success.

The government developed fair relations with all local governments in the past and this will remain unchanged, regardless of party affiliations, he said.

Commenting on Zsolt Borkai, the mayor of north-western Hungary’s Győr who has been linked to a sex scandal, Orbán said it was difficult to tell how much this case had affected the local elections. He said it was not his job to pass judgement on the private life of any politician but in his capacity as Fidesz leader he had an obligation to make it clear that some things “just don’t fit” in the community.

“The consequences had to be drawn and that’s why Zsolt Borkai has left our political community,” Orbán said.

First it was necessary to wait for the people of Győr to decide about Borkai’s candidacy to remain the city mayor but after that Orbán said he had to act as party leader and do what was “evident”.

Concerning his party’s group meeting to be held in Balatonalmádi, Orbán said he would speak about the cabinet’s upcoming tasks.

These tasks, he said, could be divided into three categories: the implementation and possible expansion of the family protection action plan, sustaining economic growth and bolstering the Hungarian Village Programme. Regarding the government’s measures aimed at sustaining growth, Orbán noted that his cabinet was drafting an economy protection plan to be launched in the coming months.

On the topic of Turkey’s military incursion into northern Syria, Orbán said Hungary needed to view the affair with Hungary’s national interests in mind.

“This is not a conflict that’s distant from and irrelevant to Hungary where we can choose sides based on sympathy,” he argued.

More than three million migrants and refugees have fled from Syria into Turkey, the prime minister said, adding that Turkey would have to decide what to do with them over the coming weeks.

Either the Turkish authorities could decide to return them to Syria or to set them off toward Europe, Orbán said. “If Turkey chooses the latter option then these people will arrive at Hungary’s southern border in huge numbers.”

He said this was why he recommended that the European Union should provide financial aid to Turkey so that it could build cities in Syria with a view to sending the migrants and refugees there. Otherwise, Orbán added, these people will end up in Europe and Hungary is in a different situation than the European countries that are not adjacent to the Balkan migration route.

“They’re safe because we’re protecting them,” he said.

The prime minister warned that the current developments in Syria could soon have consequences in Hungary as well, given that it is an EU border country.

Orbán said there were currently 90,000 people trying to make their way to the EU via the Balkan route, adding that their numbers would soon reach 100,000.

“And if Turkey adds hundreds of thousands more to this wave, we’ll have to secure the protection of the Hungarian-Serbian section of the border by force,” he said.

Source: MTI

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