“We are ready for government and prepared to lead Hungary out of a crisis generated by Viktor Orbán,” Klára Dobrev, the shadow prime minister of the opposition Democratic Coalition (DK), told an online press briefing on Tuesday. Dobrev said “the longer the Orbán government stays the bigger the problem will grow,” and she insisted that DK’s shadow government was “the only hope for Hungary to find a way out of the cost-of-living crisis”. Dobrev said her shadow government was set up to present “a well-prepared and better performing alternative” to the incumbent government, and “to show that there is another approach in which the government takes responsibility for running the country.” So far the shadow government has held consultations on necessary changes in education, on measures to help pensioners cope with inflation and higher utility costs, as well as suggesting ways the government could rein in inflation, mitigate the effects of draughts, introduce a utility fee moratorium, and reduce fuel prices below 500 forints/litre, Dobrev said. DK’s shadow government also has ideas on how to eliminate Hungary’s dependence on Russian gas imports and promote renewable energies, Dobrev said. She added that DK is paying for the utility bills of 500 needy families before Christmas.
In response, ruling Fidesz said DK was “seeking power and dollars” in a bid to undermine Hungary. Ferenc Gyurcsány, the leader of DK and one-time prime minister, “recently made clear that he controls the entire left wing. He wants to return to power and he is capable of doing anything to that end,” Fidesz said in a statement. DK, it added, would “buy up their opponents by the kilo”, make agreements with foreign powers and “subserviently support the sanctions which are causing the crisis”. Also, they would “toss Hungarians into an energy crisis”, while “refusing to support measures to protect families, pensioners and businesses”, Fidesz added. The leftist opposition, the statement said, wants to eliminate the cap on household energy bills, and “keeps intriguing against Hungary in Brussels to prevent the country from receiving the community funds it is entitled to.”