May 21, 2024

The opposition in Hungary – a massive protest against Viktor Orban in Budapest – news

  • Tens of thousands of Hungarians demonstrated in Budapest against the government of right-wing populist Prime Minister Viktor Orban, calling for new elections.
  • Former political insider Peter Magyar, who recently turned Orban critic, called for one of the largest protest marches in recent decades.
  • “The government must return power to the hands of the people and give them the opportunity to choose,” Magyar said in a speech that lasted nearly an hour.

At Saturday's rally, Magyar shouted into the crowd: “We demand our country and our national symbols back!” He encouraged people to join his new movement “Up, Up, Hungary!” To participate. The Hungarian cannot run with his party in the European elections scheduled for June 9 because he cannot meet the deadlines for establishing a party. But he is negotiating with the existing parties to enable him to run. Magyar added that the result of the European elections in Hungary would be “the first nail in the coffin” of Orban's regime.

Magyar was married to former Justice Minister Judit Varga and himself held management positions in government and state-linked institutions and companies. In February, he abruptly broke with his previous political environment. According to his account, the immediate cause was the case surrounding the pardon of a pedophile aide, which led to the resignation of President Katalin Novak and the end of his ex-wife's political career.

Since his public appearance as a critic of Orbán's government, Magyar has accused those around the prime minister of corruption and abuse of power. To back up his claims, last month he published a recording of a conversation he had with Varga at the beginning of the previous year, when she was justice minister and he was still married to her.

In his book, the politician describes how followers of Orbán's powerful chancellery minister, Antal Rogan, are said to have interfered in the prosecutor's investigations and deleted passages from the files incriminating the minister. Varga did not deny the authenticity of the conversation, but claimed that Magyar manipulated him and forced him to make untrue statements.

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