Hungary’s opposition parties can only be successful in the next general election if they stay focused on the future, rather than “trying to return to the pre-2010 world”, Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony said over the weekend. “The opposition shouldn’t be competing in who hates [Prime Minister] Viktor Orbán more or how many likes they get when they lure away another party’s politician,” Karácsony, the co-leader of liberal Párbeszéd, told an event focused on green policy. The opposition would attract more votes if it were capable of presenting a worldview of its own, the mayor said, adding, at the same time, that voters today were only capable of retaining the government’s messaging. “They can barely say anything about the kind of world the opposition would strive to create if it came into power,” he said. Karácsony said this meant that the opposition had to be responsible when shaping and implementing policy measures. Since there are three million Hungarians living in municipalities governed by the opposition, he said, the parties had an opportunity to enact policies but were also faced with the possibility of failure. Karácsony said the opposition had to offer “responsible, 21st-century green and left-wing policies”. He said the opposition should conduct primaries before they put together their 2022 candidate list, arguing that last year’s local elections had shown that an election victory required collaboration with civil groups and local organisations.
Timea Szabó, Párbeszéd’s other co-leader, said the difference between true green parties and “those who only brandish themselves as green” was that “real greens” were ready to spend to meet the needs of the people.
Independent lawmaker Bernadett Szél said climate change would create “a new order” in Hungarian politics. “National populism has no answer to the real problems and does nothing but leech off of people’s poverty,” she said.