It is not unusual to see strange things happening in Hungarian election campaigns. In 2024, the European Parliament and municipal elections will take place. The first scandal of the campaign revolves around a public toilet. Do people have the right to use a toilet or should they do what they have to on the streets? This is the debate that we will dive into today.
We are approaching the elections and this is usually when matters are getting more attention. In this case, a public toilet at the newly renovated Blaha Lujza Square. Gergely Karácsony, mayor of Budapest took the risky responsibility to renovate Blaha Lujza Square and the Chain Bridge simultaneously. Despite little hurdles, the square is ready and the bridge allows limited use. The city is developing and the government needs to do something against the opposition mayor. The discussion revolves around the new square and three main topics.
The most significant question regarding the square is whether it will remain a transit zone or will it become a proper public space. This depends on the people, but the new square is relatively good. It is only missing an elevator down to the metro, which creates some accessibility problems. Despite the many changes, Blaha will most likely remain Blaha, hvg.hu writes. However, the square is what it is, first and foremost a transit zone.
The other problem is the cost of the renovation. The whole project cost almost HUF 4 billion (EUR 9.8 million), which is a lot, and it is also costlier than what the original plans stated. About one-fourth of the cost was paid by the state, which is important. However, the fight between the municipality of the capital and the government still caused a lot of problems during the project. Of course, the two sides try to prove that the other is wrong. But nothing created as much debate in recent weeks as the new public toilet.
The leader of the FIDESZ-KDNP group in the capital, Zsolt Wintermantel reported that public toilets were completely left out of the plans. According to him, there are no public toilets in the square. The mayor responded with a selfie with the public toilet at Blaha, which he said will be operational soon. Another supporter of the government, Dániel Bohár, went to the square to report that the out-of-order toilet is out of order. There is also the question of why the toilet is not free, to which the mayor responded that it helps to maintain the quality of the toilet for a longer time.
Gergely Karácsony’s position as mayor remains strong if the greatest problem with his leadership is a public toilet. A lot depends on the municipal elections in 2024 and a lot can happen in one and a half years.