Tensions spark between Dobrev and Márki-Zay, Hungarian government tackles the EU twice, and president of Momentum steps down

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Tension builds up between Dobrev and Márki-Zay in second round of opposition primaries

Tension was building up between the two remaining standing candidates of the opposition primaries, Klára Dobrev (DK), and Péter Márki-Zay (MMM), as they clashed in a heated debate Wednesday night on commercial television RTL Klub.

The first part of the debate was full of sizzling tension, which was not at all surprising given the mood of the campaign in the past few days. Dobrev kept repeating that Márki-Zay was not suitable for the post of prime ministerial candidate, as he lacked “mental stamina.” She also compared him to Donald Trump, and said he disrupted the opposition coalition and said what he had done in recent days was “running amok.”

Péter Márki-Zay remained stoic during the accusation and said that personal lies were being spread about him while the DK was blackmailing politicians, including Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony.

The fierce level of the competition is a good indication that Dobrev could no longer behave as she had in previous debates, where she did not have to attack others in the comfortable knowledge of her leadership position. Now she went at Mark-Zay, then tried to assure the viewers that she was the key to the opposition's cohesion.

Dobrev presented more concrete plans and steps than her rival, but surprisingly many of her plans were almost in harmony with Márki-Zay’s. While the opposition between the still-competing actors and their supporters in the primaries seems tense, there is little to no program-based disagreements between the promises of the DK social democrat or the MMM’s center-right liberal-conservative governance.

The basics are a restoration of the State of Law in Hungary, the purge of the Basic Law from its parts that serve nothing but cementing the power of Fidesz, the equitable and transparent distribution of resources, and of course to make former leaders and straw-men accountable.

In four days, some 345,000 people voted in the second turn of the opposition primaries. Organizers said in a Thursday morning report, even though Tuesday’s record was not reached on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, a total of 85,708 people voted for one of the two opposition prime ministerial candidates, 66,938 people in person and 18,770 people online. This is the third-highest turnout.  High participation is said to favor MZP, and a lower one tends to be better for Dobrev, analysts have said before the vote.

Results are expected late on Sunday.

Hungary has vetoed the EU strategy on the rights of the child. The reason: LGBTQ lobby

At the meeting of the Ministers of Justice in Luxembourg, the Polish and Hungarian governments vetoed the strategy on the rights of the child presented by the European Commission, local weekly paper HVG reported. According to Justice Minister Judit Varga, the strategy serves the purpose of admitting LGBTQ activists to schools. But there is no such thing in the strategy.

“Action against violence against children or child prostitution, but even ensuring the rights of children with special educational needs or disabilities, and even rejecting any form of discrimination, was no more important to them than granting extra rights for the LGBTQ lobby,” she wrote on her Facebook page.

Slovenian Justice Minister Marjan Dikaučič, on behalf of the Presidency, said that it had not been possible to win the support of all Member States so that negotiations on the proposal should continue at a technical level. According to Dikaučič, serious efforts were made to persuade the two vetoing ministers to find a compromise solution, but to no avail.

Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders said non-discrimination was an essential element of any EU strategy. They want to prevent any citizen from being discriminated, and this also applies to discrimination based on sexual orientation.

On 24 March, the European Commission presented a strategy on the rights of the child, proposing thematic actions in six areas. Among other things, it includes the right of children to benefit from their talents, regardless of their social background, their right to a life free from violence, or even their right to child-friendly justice.

The document repeatedly mentions the acronym LGBTI and LGBTQ, that make the Hungarian government see red, for example: “Some other groups of children, such as children with disabilities and LGBTQI children, may have special needs for mental and physical health that need to be addressed appropriately. "

After the visit of the LIBE Committee last week, Brussels will now send to Hungary their Commissioner for Justice, Mr Didier Reynders. Commissioner Reynders will come to Hungary to continue the professional dialogue on rule of law.

Wednesday, Judit Varga underlined that three steps were needed from Brussels in order to restore credibility to the dialogue:

  • They must withdraw the infringement procedures that have been launched against our country over the management of the migration crisis. In fact, they are now supporting other Member States for the very same actions.
  • They must withdraw those judgments of the Sargentini report, which were made against our country because of the management of the migration crisis. The same measures have already been put into practice by other Member States too.
  • They must withdraw the infringement procedure launched over the Child Protection Act, they must stop blackmailing!

Hungary backs Polish constitutional court ruling versus EU

Hungary on Saturday backed a Polish constitutional court ruling that challenged the primacy of EU law, urging the bloc to “respect the sovereignty of members.”

Poland's Constitutional Court last Thursday challenged the primacy of EU law over Polish law by declaring several articles in the EU treaties "incompatible" with the largest former communist member state’s constitution.

In a decree, the Hungarian government also warned EU institutions not to "act beyond the scope of their competences" by interfering with reforms of Poland's judiciary -- a major source of discord with Brussels.

In the decree welcoming the Polish court's decision, Viktor Orban called on Brussels "to respect the limits of the sovereignty of the member states," according to his press chief Bertalan Havasi.

The decree signed by Orban accuses the EU of "bad practice", seeking to "deprive" members' rights "by stealthy extension of powers”.

“The decree of the Hungarian government states the decision of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Poland was prompted by bad practice of the European Union institutions, which disregards the principle of subsidiarity and seeks to deprive the rights of the Member States, rights never conferred to the European Union, by stealthy extension of powers without amending the Treaties of the European Union,” according to the text.

“The primacy of EU law can take precedence only in areas where the European Union has competence, the framework of which is laid down in the Treaties of the European Union,” the decree specified.

Orban, a strong ally of Polish right-wing Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, has frequently been at odds with Brussels over rule-of-law, refugee, and other issues.

Poland's government last Friday insisted it wanted the country to stay in the European Union as it faced a growing backlash against the court ruling that analysts said could lead to a so-called “Polexit”.

However, polls and a number of rapidly staged massive demonstrations suggest that the overwhelming majority of Poles prefer the EU.

President of Momentum steps down after poor election results

Following his weak performance at the first round of the opposition primaries, Momentum called back András Fekete-Győr from the party presidency. In a vote of confidence on Sunday evening, the General Assembly voted against Fekete-Győr. The party' new president will be elected later.

"András Fekete-Győr resigned from the position of chairman of Momentum,” the liberal party informed in a statement, however, the resignation is formal, as before that the party president failed to rally support of the majority in the vote of confidence.

Fekete-Győr requested a vote of confidence from the Momentum Delegates' Assembly following his feeble results, he came in last in the race of the prime ministerial candidates.

The majority of the Assembly of Delegates decided that a new leadership was needed in the next phase of the election campaign. András Fekete-Győr accepted the result and resigned with immediate effect.

The six members of the Momentum presidency will continue their work, and a new position will soon be announced for the presidency.

“Together we built a nationwide movement from scratch, on a generational basis, a centrist party. A party that believes in the solidarity of communities, the performance of individuals, and social peace,” Fekete Győr said following the vote.

“I am confident that the next president and leadership of the party will make the Momentum and the new political generation even stronger, even more successful. And I will do my best for the success of the next president, the Momentum, and the collaboration of opposition parties,” he added.

The former vice-president of the party, Anna Orosz, will be acting as interim president of the party.

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