Prime Minister Viktor Orbán - Photo: MTI

Election 2024 – Orbán: Peace or war, a ‘pan-European issue’, at stake

Today's European parliamentary election is "the first European vote on a subject that affects almost all of the member states", Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said after he cast his ballot in Hungary's EP and municipal elections in Budapest's District 12 on Sunday. "The campaign is around the war in each country, it has become a pan-European issue," Orbán said.

Answering a question, the prime minister said peace in Ukraine could be achieved in two steps: “first the election in Europe needs to be won, and its results should be interpreted as people’s opinion about war and peace.”

“This is the first part of the job; the second half will have to be completed by Americans at the US presidential election,” the prime minister added.

“Now that we are facing the question if Europe should go to war or not, if we Hungarians should go with them or rather stay out, this is a matter over which people can express their opinion,” Orbán said. He added that if the next European Parliament had a “pro-peace majority” it could strongly influence the prime ministers of “the large European countries that are still pro-war”.

The vote will also be an indicator or residents’ confidence in the government, Orbán said, adding that for him personally “it is important to know if the trust seen two years ago is still there”. He said he had voted for David Vitezy, one of three candidates for Budapest mayor, and for his Fidesz party “for peace and against war”.

Answering a question he said he had not engaged in any prior negotiations with Vitezy. Concerning Alexandra Szentkiralyi, Fidesz’s candidate for Budapest mayor, who has recently withdrawn from the race, Orbán said Szentkiralyi had been in charge of the campaign for the post and “I have always accepted her decision and I trust that her assessment of the situation was correct.” He said he considered her “the best candidate in decades”, adding that he was “very proud” of her achievements. He also said he hoped she would continue in municipal politics and “have a great future and become a strong leader of Fidesz.”

On another subject, Orbán said Hungary was “a democratic rather than a divided country”, adding that “this is what we wanted to achieve in 1990: to have many opinions rather than one; now we have many.”

Asked what he would do “if a battery factory were built 1,200 metres from his own house” Orbán said he would expect the constructor to abide with all environmental regulations and “ensure healthy conditions”.

Concerning large numbers of supporters turning up for Peter Magyar’s campaign rallies, the prime minister said he was glad that “turnout at the EP election will be higher than earlier; this is good for Hungary’s democracy”.

Answering a question on another matter, Orbán said “a genocide was committed in Srebrenica, as testified by a United Nations document; Hungary did not support the initiative to introduce a memorial day to the genocide because it wished to belong to the majority, which did not vote for it.”

Touching upon an attempt to break into the IT systems of the foreign ministry, Orbán said in each of many attempts “all necessary measures are taken both diplomatically and through the secret services,” but added that “those are not usually discussed in public.”

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