Prime Minister Viktor Orbán - Photo: PMO

Orbán: Pro-peace side won in Europe

The European parliamentary elections were won by the pro-peace side, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in an interview with public television channel M1 on Monday. Orbán said the election had been a chance to slow Europe's drift into the war. He said this had been stopped in France, too, with the pro-peace forces winning by such a large margin that an early parliamentary election had to be called.

“We await President Donald Trump … and then there will be peace,” the prime minister added.

He said that the more than 2 million votes cast for Fidesz meant that the ruling party had received a record number of votes.

Orbán said Hungarian democracy “is alive and well” and he thanked voters for the 57 percent turnout in Sunday’s elections.

Concerning the importance of mobilising the party’s base, the prime minister said there were always voters who had to be mobilised, but this time everyone had been told that this election was a matter of war or peace.

Regarding Peter Magyar’s Tisza Party, the prime minister said: “It complicated our lives.” An already complicated election was made even knottier because they had to beat two oppositions: the old and the new, he said. “And we did, by 14 percent,” he added.

Referring to the local election, Orbán said in some cities trust had been kept and Fidesz had even managed to increase its support and win back big cities, but it also lost cities. “The lesson is to work harder; only work done with humility helps,” he said.

Orbán welcomed not losing more cities than they gained, and he said Fidesz had not been weakened in Budapest.

In the EP election, they won “streets ahead” of the opposition “in this difficult, wartime situation”.

The EP elections were won by the pro-peace side, Orbán said, adding that the election had been a chance to slow Europe’s drift into the war. He said this had been stopped in France, too, with the pro-peace forces winning by such a large margin that an early parliamentary election had to be called, describing this as “a political earthquake”.

“We await President Donald Trump … and then there will be peace,” the prime minister added.

Meanwhile, Orbán said “we must return to the detailed business of governing while also keeping our eyes on the issue of war and peace.”

The prime minister listed protecting the value of pensions, ensuring full employment and home building, saying “you can’t govern by the logic of the [election] campaign; governing is about the calm of everyday life in the country.”

Concerning the state of affairs after the EP elections, Orbán said that if the European Conservatives and Reformists and the Identity and Democracy groups reached an agreement and Fidesz and KDNP joined them, the right would find itself in second place trailing only the European People’s Party.

If a strong right wing could be formed, “that would have a gravitational pull”, and even parties currently in the EPP may join them. “There’s a need for the big players to reach an agreement here, and if they do, it’ll open a clear and straight path for Fidesz as well.”

Commenting on the local elections, Orbán said the ruling parties had performed better than expected, adding, however, that he would have wanted to hold on to all of Fidesz’s localities and win people’s trust in even more municipalities.

Orbán said they had flipped four cities with county seat status but lost three, while becoming the strongest party in all of the county assemblies. “We’ve remained the dominant political force in 20 counties, we ended up with a tie in the Budapest districts, losing one and winning another.”

Orbán added, at the same time, that “in such times of war, with an excruciating wartime inflation behind us, beating the party in second place by 14 percent is a decent result”. The prime minister said he would accept such a result in 2026, because it would give the ruling party a comfortable advantage in the general election.

“That’s how democracy is: all elections are hard, success doesn’t come free, and we should be happy we won yesterday’s,” Orbán said.

Concerning Alexandra Szentkiralyi’s withdrawal from the mayoral race in Budapest, Orbán said Szentkiralyi “was of the opinion that if all three of them remained in the running, there won’t be any change in Budapest”. Szentkiralyi, he added, had “advised that we take the chance given to us by her withdrawal”.

Orbán said there was “a lot of work to do” in Budapest because it was a city that was “financially bankrupt”. “There’s a lot of work to do to allow Budapest residents to live in the kind of city they deserve,” he added.

He said that only time and work mattered in politics. The prime minister said Hungarians valued the “stable and predictable work carried out by the government” which he said was missing “in almost every other European country”. Orbán said only 20 percent of his work was political in nature, with the remaining 80 percent being government-related work, but this was the other way round in western Europe.

“If you have gold cover behind you, you win,” the prime minister said, adding that Hungarians tended to look ahead to the next election, but now it was time to get to work. “When the time comes we’ll fight and we’ll win,” he said.

“We can’t swim a new world record every day, but there isn’t a party in Europe or Hungary today that wouldn’t trade with us,” he added.

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