Szentkiralyi vows to ‘free Budapest from Gyurcsany’s grip’

"We will free Budapest from the grip of [Ferenc] Gyurcsany," Alexandra Szentkiralyi, the ruling parties' candidate for mayor in the upcoming municipal elections, said at her campaign opener held at the Balna centre on Wednesday.

“It is high time we turned off the Gyurcsany show in Budapest,” Szentkiralyi said, adding that right-wing parties “have already demonstrated what this city is like when they control it”.

Concerning her programme, Szentkiralyi said she would “stem corruption at City Hall”, eliminate a “wasteful” municipal bureaucracy and a “chaos” in its traffic, while her administration would make the city “tidy, orderly, and liveable”.

She said she would create a municipal budget council to control the city’s financial stability, as well as provide a WiFi service in public areas free of charge.

Szentkiralyi vowed to dismiss all “cronies” of Gyurcsany from City Hall, which she said had become “the Gyurcsany family’s supplier”.

“Now Gyurcsany has a mayor and Budapest residents don’t … Budapest’s coffers are empty, the city is dirty, a large part of the residents are stuck in traffic jams or waiting at bus stops … services have been cut,” she said.

She said if she won the election she would strive for “cooperation with the government in the interest of Budapest residents rather than waging wars” and pledged a “responsible management” of the city’s finances.

Concerning traffic, the candidate said “drivers, cyclists, and users of public transport cannot be enemies in the street,” and said she would eliminate the “chaos” through increasing the number of services, building P+R parks around the city, and re-introduce a road renovation fund. She said she would double the city’s budget for cleaning streets, employ more staff and buy further machinery. “The problem of homelessness could also be resolved as we did before 2019,” she added.

Szentkiralyi said she would create a new body to keep public places “cared for, clean, and safe”, as well as provide more places in kindergartens and seniors’ homes in cooperation with the districts.

“I want a city that takes care of its residents, provides education to its young and respects the elderly, in which everyone feels at home,” she said.

Mate Kocsis, Fidesz’s parliamentary group leader, said Budapest was “incredibly rich in architectural and cultural assets”, but the current administration had made the city “unliveable”.

He said it was not true that the capital was underfunded, arguing that Istvan Tarlos, the former mayor, had handed over the city with reserves of around 200 billion forints in 2019.

Kocsis said the movement headed by incumbent mayor Gergely Karacsony had been the first in Hungarian history to have “offered up the homeland to foreign interests”, and if this had not happened, the issue of sovereignty protection would not have become as important as it was now.

He said Fidesz would make it clear to voters until the election that “the fact that the city administration resembles a comedy is less of a problem than the fact that Budapest has a pro-war leader financed from abroad.”

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