Ferenc Gyurcsany – Photo: Facebook

Gyurcsany: ‘Democrats obliged to cooperate’

"Democrats are obliged to cooperate in the fight against [Prime Minister Viktor] Orban's regime, but not everyone thinks the same way about this cooperation," Ferenc Gyurcsany, the leader of the opposition Democratic Coalition (DK), said in a speech assessing the past year on Saturday.

Gyurcsany said those in the opposition who wanted to fight both the government and the rest of the opposition were setting themselves up for defeat and their opponents for victory.

He added that those who employed civil activists over their parties’ organised teams were “committing suicide” and paving the way for the government’s victory.

Gyurcsany said 2023 had been a difficult year for the world, but “the most rubbish year” for Hungary in a long time. He said the government and “democrats” disagreed on the reasons for the international order coming unbalanced.

He said it was right for a country to try to manoeuvre between the global powers in a complex and contradictory international situation, adding, at the same time, that manoeuvring “cannot be treason”.

Gyurcsany said the one aspect of any international conflict DK and the government agreed on was that Israel had a right to defend itself after Hamas’s terrorist attack, even if what was happening in Gaza right now “gives cause for concern”.

Turning to domestic politics, Gyurcsany said the fierceness of political debates in Hungary was about deciding whether the country should be “Christian, as [ruling] Fidesz says, or civic, which sums up what democrats want”.

“Hungary is the country of believers and non-believers, Christians and non-Christians,” he said, arguing that “if the homeland belonged to everyone, it could not identify itself solely with the faith of a single group”.

Gyurcsany said DK considered Fidesz’s system “unconstitutional” because “they strive to obtain and hold absolute power”. “It aims for a state capture and control and the intimidation, humiliation, and, if possible, the elimination of its opponents,” he insisted.

He said DK would not view Tamas Sulyok, the ruling parties’ nominee for head of state, as president if he is elected, but as “Viktor Orbán’s employee”, arguing that Sulyok, as head of the Constitutional Court, had already been playing “an active role in creating, consolidating and upholding Orbán’s unconstitutional power”.

Meanwhile, Gyurcsany said the past three weeks had been “shocking”, as it had come to light that individuals close to the government had abused children, “and the highest-ranking state officials tried and are trying to . cover up these crimes”. He insisted that this “permanently tarnishes Viktor Orbán’s regime, making the prime minister the number one leader of dishonesty”.

He said the resignations of “the leaders chosen personally by Viktor Orbán” did not put an end to the case, insisting that the ultimate responsibility lay with the prime minister.

Gyurcsany said DK wanted to “let people live, while at the same time taking care of them” adding that this also meant paying decent wages and pensions. He said his party also believed that more wealth came with more obligations, and that billionaires should pay more taxes.

Ruling Fidesz in response said in a statement that Gyurcsany was still the leader of the “dollar left”, and they “still refuse to take responsibility for their crimes”.

In the statement, the party said Gyurcsany’s speech was “once again all about their aim to gain power at all cost”.

“They still refuse to take responsibility for their actions.,” Fidesz said, adding that with Gyurcsany “crimes have no consequences”. Gyurcsany wants to enter into power again, a politician who as prime minister had “pushed the country into a crisis in eight years, scrapped one-month of pension and eliminated family support”, said Fidesz.

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