Opposition parties marked the 30th anniversary of Hungary’s first freely elected parliament after the fall of communism commending first new president, Árpád Göncz. Thirty years ago today, Hungary’s new parliament elected Göncz its speaker and acting president and later, on August 3, Hungarian president, István Hiller said at a statue of Göncz. Göncz was the president not only of Hungary as a republic, but “of the people, of all of us”, Hiller said. Ágnes Kunhalmi, a lawmaker of the party, said the opposition would not attend parliament’s special session commemorating the anniversary, as it considers Hungary’s current political system, “created by the governing parties”, autocratic, which discourages democratic dialogue.
Ferenc Gyurcsány, the leader of the Democratic Coalition (DK), call Göncz “a symbol of regime change”. “Thirty years ago, lawmakers of an entirely new parliament gathered in the chamber in hopes of a world radically different from today,” Gyurcsány said. “But those who gathered in parliament today have desecrated everything from what was at the heart of the regime change. They put an end to western-type civic democracy, to a respect of human dignity, to democratic rule of law, to checks and balances, to social responsibility, and to a cooperation with the world and Europe,” he said.
Gergely Karácsony, the mayor of Budapest, said on Facebook that Göncz “showed as president the better, serene face of democracy”. “Today, we have a president of some sort, but the republic as such suddenly disappeared nine years ago from our country’s name, and from our everyday life later on,” he said. At the time of a pandemic such as the current one we must preserve the strength that lies in community, he said.
Meanwhile, the group leader of the green LMP party told a press conference in front of Parliament that the government “has made a joint celebration impossible”. The declaration adopted by the ruling parties is not acceptable to all party groups, László Lóránt Keresztes said. He said the government did not represent national interests consistently, and that national autonomy was still threatened “by serious issues”.