Promising to build a “fair and free” Hungary, the opposition Socialist Party approved its election manifesto at its congress on Saturday.
István Hiller, head of the party’s national board, described the manifesto as a “progressive, leftist programme of social democracy” that is not just for left-wing voters.
He vowed that his party would “build a new Hungarian republic” if it returned to power after the April election. Hiller said the Socialist Party’s vision for the future countered the ruling parties’ “vision of an illiberal democracy”.
Hiller said that one of the important tasks of the opposition is to move as many people as possible to vote. The larger the turnout, the better the chance for change, he said.
He said no political group should be allowed to “monopolise” the concept of “nation”, adding that Hungarians living in Hungary and beyond the border all belonged to one nation.
Sergei Stanishev, leader of the Party of European Socialists (PES) and former Bulgarian prime minister, told the congress that the 2018 election campaign “won’t just be your battle but the battle of the whole of Europe”. He said the campaign ahead would not be easy, arguing that the government had an abundance of resources. Stanishev added that justice was the most effective tool in countering the government’s resources. He cited Prime Minister Viktor Orbán as saying that he wanted a “strong nation state” and an “illiberal democracy”. He said Hungary needed to be strong democratic country that is respected in Europe.
Párbeszed co-leader Tímea Szabó talked about freedom, saying it was more than one’s right to express their opinion in public or travel to the West. She said the alliance of the Socialist Party, Párbeszed and the Liberal Party viewed freedom as one’s right to a heated home, the right to go on a holiday from work or not having to fear that one will lose their home because they cannot pay their bills.
“It is time to oust those from power who have taken freedom away, who take from the poor what little they have and it is time to build a new country where people help one another and where everyone matters,” Szabó said.
The event was also addressed by Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the UK’s Labour Party, in a video message.
Featured image: MTI