Budapest Mayor Gergely Karacsony – Photo: MTI

Karacsony: Budapest ‘a republic ruled by Budapesters’

Budapest is a republic ruled by Budapest citizens, Budapest Mayor Gergely Karacsoy said on Friday, marking the anniversary of the 1848-49 revolution and freedom fight.

At the event held together with NGOs and student organisations at the Erzsebet bridge in downtown Budapest, Karacsony said Budapest “is giving refuge to the concept of republic”. The phrase Republic Budapest did not mean the city was turning its back on the rest of the country, he said.

Speaking about the upcoming local elections in June, Karacsony said many Hungarians were unhappy with the government, “but many were unhappy with the opposition, too”. Local elections were about local communities, not parties, he added.

“Budapest citizens will have an easy choice, because all the government has for them is a declaration of war. Budapest is a host to the values the government built its politics on rejecting,” he said.

He called on all Budapest citizens to vote on June 9, and pledged to continue a “positive” politics focusing on health-care: “healthy streets, healthy housing and healthy air”.

He said the country was run as a “company limited rather than a republic”. The republic is “still present in NGOs, civil rights movements that stand up for important issues, and local authorities wanting to serve and not rule”, the mayor said.

Meanwhile, Karacsony said the government had abandoned “people in hopeless situation, such as teachers, students, the poor and the homeless.

“The regime has busted itself and is now teetering on the edge of ruin,” he said. At the same time, he warned that “Hungary is not yet Russia but is getting closer every minute”.

Yulia Navalnaya, the widow of Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny, sent her greetings in a video message and said “democratic Hungary” had allies in the more than 10 million Russians who wanted to live in a democratic and free country. “We are behind you in your fight for your country. Be brave,” she said.

Representatives of student organisations Adom, Fridays for Future and United Student Front also spoke at the event. Several opposition politicians were in the crowd.

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