Gergely Karacsony - Photo: MTI

October 23 – Karacsony: ‘We won’t compromise on Hungary becoming a republic’

Addressing a demonstration on the anniversary of Hungary's 1956 uprising in downtown Budapest on Monday, Gergely Karacsony, the city's mayor, said: "We won't compromise on our country one day becoming a republic, the common home of free and equal citizens."

At the event held at Oktogon, Karacsony vowed to form an alliance of the opposition parties in Budapest for next year’s local elections.

“October 23 is the celebration of the republic, of the republic born out of the revolution of 1956, of the Third Hungarian Republic established on October 23, 1989, and of the Fourth Republic we carry in our hearts,” Karacsony said.

“Living in a republic means striving to treat each other well,” the mayor said, adding this was the kind of homeland the heroes of 1956 had wanted.

He said the symbol of the revolution, the Hungarian flag with a hole, sent the message that unity was only possible if no one was being told in the name of any ideology how they ought to love their homeland.

The revolutionaries of 1956 knew that only a courageous nation could be free and that only unity could give a nation courage, the mayor said.

He called it a “historical paradox” that “the Hungary of 1956 could not become free despite being worthy of it, and though the Hungary of 1989 did become free, after more than three decades … it unfortunately appears that the country could not be worthy enough of being free”.

“The Third Hungarian Republic between 1989 and 2010 was our most hopeful attempt in Hungarian history to finally live in a real republic,” Karacsony said, adding that the attempt had ultimately failed.

“We were the ones who made it fail, because we didn’t believe in it enough,” he said.

The mayor said the republic had been “removed from the name of our country and, step by step, from the functioning of the state”. He said the state today represented private, rather than public interests and was “invading spaces where it has no business, but pulling out of spaces where it should act”.

“Though the republic has been exiled from laws, it’s still there in the teacher and student movements, in unions, in the civil groups supporting the needy, in the protests against polluting investments, in civil rights movements, in civil society and free local governments,” Karacsony said.

“Today it’s not the opposition that’s in power in Budapest, but Budapest residents,” he said.

“That’s why Budapest is and will remain a republic.”

He said Monday’s event was an “important bridge” between local councils and civil groups, but was incomplete without the opposition parties.

“I take it upon myself to form an alliance of opposition parties in Budapest for next year’s local elections within weeks,” Karacsony said.

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