Hungary: “The opposition is alive!”

by DiEM25 Budapest

“The deadman has arisen, the opposition is alive!”, the Hungarian online paper “24.hu” cheered on Monday. DiEM25 congratulates the Hungarian opposition on its biggest election victory in a decade! 

Nine years after Viktor Orbán took power and started building his corrupt regime of so-called ‘illiberal democracy’, a united opposition has overcome a rigged media environment and a distorted electoral system to give Orbán a bloody nose in Sunday’s municipal elections. Not only did the opposition take the mayoralty of Budapest and its city assembly, a host of major cities throughout the country turned away from Orbán’s Fidesz for the very first time.

“This is the first step towards changing Hungary”, Budapest’s new green mayor Gergely Karácsony said in a Facebook post. “We will take Budapest back to Europe!” 

Karácsony’s party, Dialogue for Hungary (Párbeszéd Magyarországért), previously hosted DiEM25 and Yanis Varoufakis in Budapest at a 2016 event on the future of Europe. 

Until recently, Orbán’s grip on power appeared total. Even bars and venues which are popular among supporters of the opposition have faced intimidation from the authorities. This includes “Auróra” where the local DiEM25 Spontaneous Collective holds its meetings. We owe a big thank you to the people of the district that “Auróra” calls home because their new choice of mayor, András Pikó, has promised to save the crucial community hub. 

We have no illusions about how Orbán and his cronies will react to this situation. Only last winter, clashes between protestors and the police resulted in suspicious arrests, including that of a local DiEM25 member. Even so, we are optimistic, and we are looking forward to the national elections in 2022.

This is the first step on the road back to democracy for Hungary!

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