The Socialist Party‘s vision for the “Hungarian fourth republic” will be at the heart of its campaign leading up to the spring 2018 general election, Gyula Molnár, the opposition party’s leader, said on Saturday.
The fourth republic is a term used by opposition forces that call for a new republic of Hungary based on the values of social justice, equality and self-determination, as well as the promotion of the rule of law and checks and balances.
Speaking at an event in Budapest to present the party’s programme, Molnár said
the Socialists were ready to form alliances with forces that want change and put change as the top priority in their manifestos.
He welcomed cooperation with the small liberal Párbeszéd (Dialogue) party.
He said the party insists on fielding joint candidates in individual constituencies, on drawing up a common national list and putting forward a joint candidate for prime minister.
Molnár told the party’s national assembly that they would discuss how schools could be made into an area of free thinking, how to plough more money into health care, as well as how to ensure a free press, prosecution service and local councils independent of the central government.
Reacting to Molnár’s call for broad cooperation, Gergely Karácsony, co-leader of the liberal Párbeszéd (Dialogue for Hungary) party, said:
“Decide what role I should have in this cooperation; if you need me, I will come … and bring with me everything I know.”
Karácsony said he agreed with the idea of a joint manifesto which made “investing in people” its core aim.
Karácsony said the reason why voters did not put their trust in left-wing parties was because left-wing parties did not put their trust in each other. “If we want to make Hungarian citizens believe that Hungary can be unified, then we must have a joint platform and joint candidates, a joint list and a joint candidate for prime minister.
Referring to the fence on the southern border, István Hiller, the head of the Socialist Party’s national board, said that as long as people were afraid, the fence would remain. But the Socialists will not give up their aim of making people feel safe so that there’s no need for a fence, he said.
Among the specific goals, he said everyone should be financially secure,
Hungarian wages should reach the EU average, and no one should earn less than a monthly 100,000 forints (EUR 320) after tax.
He said that a Socialist government would raise family benefits by 50 percent and that health-care spending would reach the EU average after four years.
Hiller said that a Socialist government would make undergraduate courses free of charge and it would raise the value of scholarships by a third. He added that every university, including the Central European University funded by US billionaire George Soros, would operate freely, without government interference.
Ágnes Kunhalmi, the party’s head in Budapest, said it was “hugely disturbing” that ethnic Hungarian citizens had the right to cast their votes by post while hundreds of thousands of Hungarians who have emigrated in recent years often have to travel hours to an embassy to do so. She proposed that only a couple of parliamentary seats should be up for grabs for ethnic Hungarian citizens.
Ildiko Borbély Bangóné, a Socialist national board member, said
if rich businessmen associated with the ruling Fidesz party such as Lőrinc Mészáros, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s son in law István Tiborcz, and cabinet chief Antal Rogán paid more tax, then there would be enough money for a “normal” level of health care and education.
Lajos Korozs, another national board member, vowed that a Socialist government would restore the disability pension and the early retirement pension.