"Intellectual Civil War": Debate Between Budapest Mayoral Candidates Demanded

  • 15 Apr 2024 11:33 AM
  • Hungary Matters
"Intellectual Civil War": Debate Between Budapest Mayoral Candidates Demanded
Opposition LMP has called on Gergely Karácsony, Budapest’s incumbent mayor, and Alexandra Szentkirályi, ruling Fidesz’s mayoral candidate, to accept a debate with Dávid Vitézy, the green party’s candidate.

Máté Kanász-Nagy, LMP’s deputy parliamentary group leader, told a press conference on Saturday that the race between Karácsony and Szentkirályi was “sinking Budapest into the swamp of an intellectual civil war”, adding that this was costing the capital “a lot of opportunities”.

He insisted that Karácsony’s administration was “preoccupied with the intellectual civil war it is waging against Fidesz” instead of focusing on the city’s affairs. A debate with Vitézy, he added, would also present the opportunity to “hold Karácsony and Szentkirályi to account”.

Kanász-Nagy said Karácsony would be asked why he had waited until now to announce the connection of the tram network on Pest side of the capital, why he wanted to sell a student hostel building in south Buda, why his administration had not investigated irregularities in connection with the metro upgrades and why “they stuffed the supervisory boards and boards of directors of Budapest-owned companies with party politicians”.

He said Szentkirályi would be asked why the government was diverting resources from the capital and why it was only allocating funding to projects like the plan to redevelop the Rákosrendező area in Budapest’s 14th district.

Budapest residents deserve to hear the candidates debate their plans in public, Kanász-Nagy said.

Fidesz: Szentkirályi to Hold Budapest Mayoral Campaign Launch Event on Wednesday

Alexandra Szentkirályi, ruling Fidesz’s candidate for mayor of Budapest, will launch her campaign at an event at the Bálna cultural centre on April 17, the party said.

Szentkirályi will announce her seven-point plan to bring change to Budapest at the event, Fidesz said on Facebook.

The party said Budapest needed a mayor that was capable of working together with the government in the interest of the city.

Wednesday’s campaign event will also be addressed by László Baán, director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Máté Kocsis, Fidesz’s parliamentary group leader, and István Tarlós, Budapest’s former mayor.

Meanwile, DK, Socialists, Párbeszéd Hold Election Campaign Launch Rally

The opposition Democratic Coalition (DK), Socialist Party and Párbeszéd held a joint rally to launch their European Parliament and local council election campaigns in Budapest.

Addressing the event, DK MEP Klára Dobrev said voters would be judging Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s government in the June 9 ballot.

“If the majority on June 9 says they don’t want any more part of this kind of governance, then we will start fighting for early elections and won’t rest until we oust them,” Dobrev said.

She said that though the three parties were diverse, they were united in their goal “to end the Orbán regime”.

Dobrev said the alliance between the three parties was not just about the ongoing campaign, but had been formed with the purpose of “dismantling Orbán’s regime and then creating a liveable, European Hungary”.

The MEP said she wanted Hungary to be a strong state that gave everyone access to free education and health care.

Gergely Karácsony, the mayor of Budapest, called on voters to support free local councils and “a European Hungary” on June 9, saying free local councils were the “bridgehead” of the idea of the republic and a European Hungary.

He said Budapest was a republic and would remain so, adding that the city could only grow if voters decided to “keep it free” in the June election. Karácsony said he was proud of his five-year term as Budapest’s mayor, saying “we do what we say and we say what we think.”

Nicolas Schmit, the spitzenkandidat of the Party of European Socialists (PES), said the stakes of an EP election had never been higher. He said the election would be a choice between a right-wing Europe held by the “far right” and a progressive Europe led by social democrats.

Ruling Fidesz said in reaction that DK leader Ferenc Gyurcsány and the left had “wrecked the country once already”.

The party said in a statement that if it were up to Gyurcsány and the left, they would “take Hungary to war”, arguing that Gyurcsány himself had written that those who did not want to die for Ukraine were “bad people”.

At stake on June 9 is whether there will be war or peace, Fidesz said.

​​​​​​​ The government and the ruling parties want peace, while the left is on the side of war, the statement said.

MTI Photo: Zoltán Máthé


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