Photo: MTI

Opposition parties mark anniversary of 1848 revolution

"In a shared homeland the laws apply to everybody, while burdens and responsibilities are also shared; it is that common homeland that the incumbent regime has stripped us of," Klara Dobrev, MEP of the opposition Democratic Coalition (DK) said in her speech marking the March 15 national holiday and broadcast online on Friday.

“The leaflets that upturned Hungary 176 years ago carried the words ‘equality, freedom, brotherhood’ and showed to the world what the Hungarian nation wanted … and we cannot be a nation with a homeland unless the same rules apply to everybody and nobody is above the law,” Dobrev said.

Hungary’s current regime is “based on the denial of those values … those in power could do everything, they can even commit heinous crimes without consequences,” she said.

Dobrev added, however, that “often there does not appear to be hope for change, and it was like that 176 years ago; but as poets, politicians, journalists, cafe owners and printers found association in 1848, it could just as well happen today”.

Agnes Kunhalmi, co-leader of the Socialist Party, spoke at a commemoration held at the monument of revolutionary poet Sandor Petofi in central Budapest. In her speech, she said “rebuilding the faith in democracy and the rule of law” was of paramount importance. “Today’s fight must be fought against an authoritarian regime dividing the country from inside,” she said.

“Living in a civil democracy is not enough; freedom, equal rights, as well as welfare and employee rights and a radical reduction of the gaps in society are also needed,” she said.

“Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is working to drive Hungarian society back into the past and take the European Union back to an earlier state,” she insisted. The upcoming EP elections could decide if “Orban, seeking association with far right circles, could dismantle a Europe of welfare . if he can prevent further European integration and reforms,” she added.

Erzsebet Schmuck, co-leader of the LMP party, said in a video message that the heroes of the revolution and war of independence should be in the focus of commemorations. “There are some that think this is the day to oust the ruling elite,” she said, and called for a proper way to pay tribute to “those that fought for Hungary’s independence, those that sparked the wave of revolutions in Europe”.

Marton Gyongyosi, the head of conservative Jobbik, said at his party’s commemoration that “changes today could be achieved through peaceful means, by going to vote”. “Hungarians of today will have an opportunity to demonstrate that they are a European, freedom-loving people at the polls on June 9,” he said.

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