The opposition Democratic Coalition (DK) called on the government to scrap plans to restructure the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA) and start public consultations aimed at ensuring academic freedom. Gergely Arató, DK’s deputy group leader, reacted to press reports that the government would strip MTA of all 15 of its research institutions on August 1, and set up a state-owned research network. At a press conference, Arató insisted that the plans evoked “the practice of the 1940s and ’50s” and that “the government seeks to seize independent assets by force “. The government “no longer cares about pretence” and is “trying to reduce one of the most respected institutions to zero”, he said.
Asked about the upcoming municipal elections, Arató said his party wanted to see one opposition candidate pitted against one ruling party candidate in the vote. “DK is open to negotiations but basically we have found good candidates for all districts in Budapest,” he added.