Budapest (MTI) – Prime Minister Viktor Orban today met voters ahead of a Sunday by-election in the voting district of Tapolca, western Hungary, encouraging them to cast their ballots for the ruling Fidesz-KDNP party alliance.
He told public television that the ruling parties were proud of their achievements in the area, such as reducing the unemployment rate in the town of Ajka to some 3 percent.
“This is a local success, the result of the work of local leadership and the help of the government’s policies,” Orban said. “There is no reason for us to think that the residents Ajka will be hostile to us [in the election],” he added.
Orban said he had held talks with the mayor of nearby Sumeg about developments. “Projects worth several hundred million forints and hundreds of jobs could come out of these plans,” he said, mentioning an upgrade of Sumeg Castle and investments in the food industry as examples. The government will discuss these plans in the next two weeks, he said.
Jozsef Tobias, the leader of the opposition Socialists, said in Ajka that Sunday’s ballot would be about whether or not the future of the region and the country can be changed.
“There’s something at stake in each and every ballot,” Tobias told a press conference. The Socialist programme, forged in close cooperation with local communities, “offers a real alternative to the policies of the current government,” he added, highlighting the difficulties of the average wage-earner and their lack of protection.
A Fidesz spokesman complained that left-wing provocateurs had disrupted Orban’s campaign speech in Tapolca earlier in the day. Bence Tuzson said several dozen protesters booed Orban and shouted “he’s lying”. Tuzson accused Csaba Czegledy, a former lawyer for Ferenc Gyurcsany, the leader of the leftist Democratic Coalition, of having been behind the protest.
Radical nationalist Jobbik party leader Gabor Vona accused both the Socialists and Fidesz of corruption, at a press conference ahead of the party’s public forum in Ajka. He said “when Jobbik enters government in 2018 or even before,” it will focus on the fight against corruption as a primary task. He added that Orban’s visit in Tapolca was “strange and lacking in credibility”, as if the prime minister only now realised now that the hospital of Tapolca is important.
The by-election will take place in the Tapolca ward in Veszprem County on April 12. The ballot will be held for the mandate of the late Fidesz lawmaker Jeno Lasztovicza.