The opposition Socialist, Párbeszéd, DK, Jobbik, LMP and Momentum parties have agreed to field joint candidates in all 23 districts of Budapest for the upcoming municipal elections, Gergely Karácsony, Budapest mayor candidate of the Socialist-Párbeszéd alliance, told a press conference on Friday.
Signatories to the agreement will support a single candidate in each district to challenge the nominee of ruling Fidesz, Karácsony said. They have “learnt the lesson that if we are divided Fidesz always wins”, he said, adding that they have “left grievances behind and come together in an effort to make Budapest a freer, fairer and greener city again”.
Voters in the opposition primary have demonstrated that they want to see unity between the opposition parties and their cooperative effort will “meet the desire of voters and reinstate Budapest to its residents,” Karácsony said.
The cooperating parties will need to launch a fitting campaign to mobilise voters, Karácsony said.
“There will be no vacation, no silly season; there will be work, lots of work,” he insisted.
Erzsébet Gy. Németh, municipal representative of the Democratic Coalition (DK), said that “Budapest deserves more than it has had in the past nine years” and expressed support for the cooperation as well as for Karácsony’s candidacy for Budapest mayor.
Momentum board member Miklós Hajnal said that the agreement required “humility and sacrifice” from participants, adding that hopefully their efforts would “result in a team aiming to expose all graft cases”.
Nationalist Jobbik’s Budapest leader János Bencsik said his party supported cooperation because “Jobbik has opted for a multiparty system rather than a single-party regime now being restored.”
He said that the dividing line was not between right and left but between “supporters and servants of autocracy” and “those committed to the rule of law and democracy”.
Green LMP executive Máté Kanász-Nagy said his party had joined the cooperation to facilitate a green programme for the city. It would involve protecting and increasing green areas, resolving issues along the River Danube in northern Budapest, reducing traffic and improving public transport, he said.