Hungarians will have to make a choice between East and West and between war and peace when they head to the polls on April 3, Péter Márki-Zay, the united opposition’s candidate for prime minister, said at a demonstration in Budapest on Sunday evening.
Márki-Zay told demonstrators in front of the headquarters of Hungary’s public media provider MTVA that when Fidesz narrowly lost the election in 2002, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán had drawn the conclusion that “there can’t be any press freedom because then he’d always lose”.
He said the government accused the opposition of wanting to send soldiers and weapons to Ukraine, insisting that it was Orbán who was “sending weapons to Ukraine” because he had joined other European Union leaders in approving the EU delivery of lethal aid to the country.
Márki-Zay said the government was “also lying about the boycott of the non-existent Paks 2 — which they themselves voted for — endangering caps on utility bills”.
“The role of government propaganda mustn’t be underestimated,” Márki-Zay said. “It’s a miracle that after 12 years of brainwashing we have a real chance of replacing the most corrupt government in our history.”
He insisted that the April 3 elections would not be free “because there are no free elections where people are being brainwashed for 12 years”. He said that “if the elections were free, then Fidesz wouldn’t make it into parliament, or, according to my estimates, would get no more than 20 percent of the vote”.
Independent lawmaker Ákos Hadházy said it should be noted that the opposition’s PM candidate “has not once set foot in “MTVA’s headquarters.
Bernadett Szél, also an independent MP, said Fidesz had “done away with the free press” when it came to power in 2010.
Párbeszéd’s Tímea Szabó said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s goals went beyond Ukraine, insisting that he wanted to “build a new Soviet Union and Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is assisting this”.
László Varjú, deputy leader of the Democratic Coalition, said “those in the building behind me” were “traitors” and “acting against the people”.
Koloman Brenner, deputy speaker of parliament for Jobbik, asked the people to “symbolically seize public media”.
LMP co-leader Máté Kanász-Nagy said that since February 24, debates on whether the upgrade of the Paks nuclear power plant should go ahead “from Russian credit and technology” were “no longer allowed”.
Momentum board leader Miklós Hajnal said Hungarian public media was “infiltrating” every household “in an attempt to poison Hungarians’ minds with Putin propaganda”.
Socialist Party MEP István Újhelyi said Hungary’s path led to the European West, not to Moscow.
Meanwhile, the ruling Fidesz-Christian Democrat alliance called on the left “not to add fuel to the fire”.
“Not a day goes by without the left inflaming an already difficult situation,” Christian Democrat MP Nacsa Lőrinc said in a video message. “They would send weapons and troops to the war, endanger our country’s energy supply and they endanger the security of Transcarpathia Hungarians with their remarks.”
“When the situation is this tense, it calls for calm, not yelling and aggression,” Nacsa said, calling on the left to “curb its irresponsible behaviour”.