Péter Márki-Zay’s 12 point program for a post-Orbán Hungary

Péter Márki-Zay, the newly-minted Mayor of Hódmezővásárhely, formerly a Fidesz bastion, has launched a website entitled “Regime Change 2018.” The site’s main purpose is to encourage full coordination among the opposition candidates in all 106 electoral districts and to inform citizens as to which candidate to vote for in a given riding, if they wish to defeat the Orbán government. Mr. Márki-Zay’s website also provides a 12-point program for how to rebuild Hungary after the eventual defeat of the Orbán regime–a program developed not only by the mayor, but by both left and right-wing intellectuals, including Gábor Matlák, Péter Ákos Bod and Kálmán Mizsei. My aim is to provide an English-language summary of this program for our readers.

  1. Electoral reform, allowing for a just system for elections, and the restoration of a system of checks and balances. The authors of this manifesto write that this is critical, so as to ensure that “never again will a political minority gain a power monopoly and appropriate the nation’s assets and honour.”
  2. Removal of the Chief Prosecutor of Hungary, Péter Polt, from office and the appointment of an independent prosecutor to investigate corruption during the Orbán regime. The authors write: “We cannot allow ever again for the prosecutor’s office, based on partisan considerations, to let criminals run free or to imprison and persecute innocent people.”
  3. The return of national assets and holding people accountable: the authors of this manifesto aim to map out how national assets and public funds were passed illegally to individuals associated with Fidesz and would also investigate the “network of stooges” that have allowed Fidesz politicians to amass their wealth over the last eight years. The manifesto calls for a slogan that can be adopted by all people and parties interested in eliminating the Orbán regime and this slogan is “you will be jailed.” (In Hungarian: “ülni fogtok,” which literally means “you will sit.”)
  4. Press freedom and an end to the politically-motivated, lavish funding of propaganda publications. Government ads placed in publications would be limited and better regulated, and a post-Orbán Hungary would also end discrimination against independent, critical journalists.
  5. A reaffirmation that Hungary is part of the western world, rather than an autocratic east led by Russia, Turkey or China. “In the last century, Mátyás Rákosi and János Kádár, and most recently Viktor Orbán, wanted to change” Hungary’s long-standing traditional alignment with West, dating back to King Stephen.
  6. A reassessment of secret contracts and agreements signed by the Orbán regime, including Paks 2. The manifesto accuses Mr. Orbán and Fidesz of representing the interests of Vladimir Putin and those of “Russian imperialism.”
  7. A true free market economy and predictability, where an empowered competition bureau protects economic competition, ensuring that it is free from party politics. “The foundation of success must be creativity and work, not political connections,” write the authors of the document.
  8. The introduction of the euro in Hungary as soon as possible. The authors of this document believe that it is risky and costly for small and open economies to maintain their own national currencies. The manifesto proposes that after a brief, transitional period adopting the euro in Hungary would stabilize the economy and would make the country more internationally competitive.
  9. Investing in education and health care. Public education should encourage upward social mobility and equal opportunity for all youth in Hungary. In terms of health care, the manifesto prioritizes addressing the intense brain drain in the health care sector, where doctors and nurses leave the country in large numbers for work in western Europe.
  10. Making the files of the communist era state security (secret police) fully open and accessible to the public. The authors believe that full openness with it comes to people who once served as informants or agents of community state security is the only way to ensure that contemporary Hungarian parties do not blackmail opponents with such information.
  11. A new relationship with Hungarians living abroad, particularly in neighbouring countries. The authors suggest that never again can we allow Hungarians in Romania and elsewhere to become political pawns of a ruling party. The manifesto suggests that the way to halt the assimilation of these Hungarian minorities is to make Hungary economically successful and a leading force in the region, like it was after 1989, thus serving as a source of pride for Hungarians abroad.
  12. Defending Hungary from illegal immigrants. The manifesto suggests that Mr. Orbán’s anti-migrant rhetoric is merely a smokescreen, while the regime has allowed upwards of 20,000 Arabs, Chinese and Russians to buy their way to settlement and permanent residency in Hungary, many of whom are believed to have pasts involving criminal activity back home.

Péter Márki-Zay

It appears as though the Mayor of Hódmezővásárhely has his eyes on national politics. At the moment, as an avowedly conservative politician he certainly enjoys a level of respect in both left-wing and anti-Fidesz right-wing circles and has shown himself as capable of cooperating with both–a true rarity in Hungary.

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