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Friendly discussions in first debate between prime minister-candidates since 15 year
Gergely Karácsony, Péter Jakab, Klára Dobrev, Péter Márki-Zay and András Fekete-Győr, all players of the opposition, tried to convince voters on Sunday night, reviving a tradition extinct since 2006: the debate of prime ministerial candidates.
The opposition prime ministerial candidates all agreed on the necessity of dismantling the NER system, and on the need to make Fidesz, and the oligarchs close to it accountable in their first televised debate, even if they approached reform of the tax system or the rule of law differently.
Orban evaded every such opportunity since 2006, when he clashed with Ferenc Gyurcsany.
The only real debate developed around the support of Ákos Hadházy and Csaba Tóth in the capital's 14th district Zugló.
The five opposition prime ministerial candidates agreed on almost everything in their televised debate just a week before the start of the primaries on September 18.
Klára Dobrev (DK), András Fekete-Győr (Momentum), Péter Jakab (Jobbik), Gergely Karácsony (MSZP – Dialogue – LMP) and Péter Márki-Zay (Everybody's Hungary Movement) expressed their views on issues such as wages, taxes, pensions and social care, as well as health and education, and corruption and accountability.
Local media outlined that Peter Jakab promised to resign if there was no accountability.Klara Dobrev said she would be tough in Beijing as well, hinting at the all too friendly nature of relationships of the Orban government with Xi's China.According to the youngest contestant, András Fekete-Győr, new faces were needed to induce real change, while Budapest Mayor Karácsony encouraged voters to choose the best candidate that was able to unite Hungarians.According to Péter Márki-Zay, rural and uncertain voters were the ones that will decide the fate of the 2022 general elections.
Government extends the epidemic emergency until January 1, 2022.
The government will initiate the extension of the epidemic emergency until 1 January 2022.
"In order to continue the effective control of the epidemic and enable rapid action, the government will initiate the extension of the law on the control of the epidemic in the Parliament until January 1, 2022," the government said in a statement, following the government's meeting on Tuesday, the statement said.
The extension of the law is necessary because the pandemic continues and the number of infected people is on the rise again throughout Europe and Hungary as well, mostly due to the spread of the delta virus.
The government argues that its experience of the past 18 months has proved that the extraordinary legal frameworks previously adopted have served the fight against the epidemic very well.
The special legal status was earlier extended in May, and will remain in effect until the 15th day after the first day of the autumn parliamentary session.
"If the epidemic situation allows for it, the government will initiate the elimination of the emergency before the law expires," the government's Information Center said in a statement.
According to Gergely Gulyás, the head of the Prime Minister’s office, the extension of the state of emergency does not mean any restriction of personal liberties, but at the same time it is essential for the government's ability to swiftly act until next January.
“People will be able to vote in person during the opposition primaries without any restrictions,” he also assured at a press conference Wednesday.
Pope Francis visits Hungary and meets Prime Minister Orbán
Pope Francis met Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Sunday morning before sending a message of openness to the more than 100,000-strong crowd at the closing of the Eucharistic Congress in Budapest.
The pope met with the Hungarian President János Áder, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, and other senior politicians behind closed doors in Budapest's Fine Arts Museum.
"I asked Pope Francis not to let Christian Hungary perish," Orbán informed following the meeting, in a post on his Facebook page .
The Vatican said the meeting was “cordial", and the participants discussed mainly issues related to the protection of the environment and the promotion of the family.
The head of the Catholic Church has been known for his frank talk when pushing for assisting refugees, as opposed to Orbán who’s stance against immigrants is among the hardest in Europe.
The pope told his followers that he wanted them to be grounded and open, rooted and considerate.
The meeting had been anticipated with much excitement in the local media, not only because the last visit of a pontiff goes back to a quarter of century, but because media close to Orbán have harshly criticized the pope for his pro-refugee opinion.
“Many of my friends did not show up, because they said the pope hated Orbán,” a lawyer in his early 50s told Insight Hungary, following the mass.
The pope spent less than eight hours in Hungary before flying off to Slovakia for a trip that lasted four days in total. Many experts said this was a clear diplomatic message, the type of which was easy to decode for the Hungarian government.
Pope Francis’ visit to Budapest was the first papal trip to Hungary since Pope John Paul II in 1996.
The 84-year-old pontiff's 34th foreign trip is his first longer voyage two months after a colon operation that required a 10-day stay in hospital.
Orbán braces his parliamentary faction for 2022 general elections
“The Gyurcsány era wants to return, and those who have doubts should look at the capital: Karácsony is on display while Gyurcsány's people are at the coffers,” Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said at the Fidesz-KDNP Esztergom faction meeting, according to local daily Magyar Nemzet (close to the government).
The Fidesz-KDNP faction in power had held its season-opening faction meeting Wednesday night, this time in Esztergom, and, as usual, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán gave guidelines to the deputies for the next period.
The president of Fidesz was already in campaign mode, and expected the same from everyone, according to the paper, adding that according to Orbán, Fidesz faced the same opponents it had already defeated in 2010.
It is not a new left that is preparing to govern here, but the Gyurcsány era that wants to return, according to Orbán, who explained that despite the ongoing primaries, it was clear who was leading the left, hinting at former Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany.
Viktor Orbán, a great fan of military vocabulary, also prepared his deputies for the “future battles” in Brussels.
He said that immigration and LGBTQ “propaganda” were the everyday reality of “the fading Western Europe,” but were considered as grotesque, frightening and disgusting to people in Hungary.
Orban reiterated that the many attacks from the EU against Hungary were the results of his government’s policies against immigration, and LGBTQ propaganda.
In fact, the leaders of the European Commission and the members of the European Parliament have always made a distinction between their criticism, underlining that these were clearly and unequivocally directed at the Orban government, and not against Hungary in general, and even less so at the “Hungarian people.”
The bases of the accusations that earned the government are not the issues of immigration or the government’s stance on LGBTQ matters, but a breach of core European values such as the freedom of press, the independence of the judiciary, and the misuse of European funds.