International Press Conference 28.08.2020.

The representatives of Hungary’s opposition parties held a joint English press conference for the international media in Budapest on Friday because the National Election Committee (NEC) blocked Jobbik’s László Bíró from running as a joint all-opposition candidate in the parliamentary by-election in the town of Tiszaújváros.

Jobbik’s executive vice president and MEP Márton Gyöngyösi explained how Fidesz’ blocking the joint opposition candidate was a clear indication of Hungary “being overtaken by a hybrid system that hijacks democratic institutions”.

He said they were looking for a solution to the problem after the High Court of Justice upheld the NEC’s decision to refuse to register Jobbik as the organization nominating László Bíró for the parliamentary by-election in Tiszaújváros. He added thatthe opposition parties assured László Bíró of their continued support.

Jobbik president Péter Jakab wrote about the issue in his Facebook post: László Bíró is officially nominated by all the other opposition parties while Jobbik will deploy hundreds of activists to help the opposition and László Bíró to win.

In the international press conference, Hungarian Socialist Party board member Gábor Harangozó said Fidesz was afraid of the united opposition forces as last year’s municipal elections had shown how the governing party was losing some of its power.

“The Hungarian opposition asks the democrats of the free world and the EU’s freedom-loving citizens to show their solidarity,” he added.

Democratic Coalition (DC) MP László Sebián-Petrovszki said the last ten years had seen Hungary turn from a functioning democracy into a hybrid regime where free and fair political competition is limited, which, according to Mr Sebián-Petrovszki, is a classic case of taking the state as a hostage.

DC’s politician noted that Fidesz had created a favourable election system for itself in 2012 and put its own people in certain positions in such institutions as the National Election Committee so that the governing party could control the supposedly independent organizations.

Politics Can Be Different (LMP) deputy parliamentary group leader Márta Demeter emphasized that hybrid regimes were typically known for the governing party using administrative measures to suppress the opposition forces.

As she put it, Viktor Orbán is afraid of losing his two-thirds parliamentary majority and there was no reason for the court to fail to register the new leadership of a party even several months after it was elected into office.

“We promise to hold the Prime Minister to account after a successful election,” she stated.

Momentum Party’s board member Miklós Hajnal pointed out how important it was to maintain the opposition’s unity, explaining that the governing party’s candidate had only won with a narrow margin in Tiszaújváros in 2018.

In Borsod County, Jobbik nominated a candidate who can organize the local forces, beat Fidesz’ candidate and represent the local citizens. However, what we see is that this candidate is not allowed to run under his party’s colours because Fidesz is blocking him from entering the race,” he said.

Dialogue Party’s spokesperson Richárd Barabás emphasized that the opposition parties’ support for their candidate was unshakeable so no administrative measures could block László Bíró from running.

He added that this election was going to be a good lesson for the democratic forces to learn how to cooperate and then govern Hungary together after Fidesz loses its parliamentary majority.

The NEC’s Monday meeting adopted a resolution with 6 votes against 5 that the Tiszaújváros election committee’s registration of Jobbik as the nominating organization was illegal, claiming that the request for registration was submitted by a representative whose power of representation had not entered into effect. Originally, it was Fidesz who appealed László Bíró’s nomination after the court had failed to register Péter Jakab as Jobbik’s president even though several months had passed since his election into office in January. The High Court of Justice upheld this decision on Friday.

Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén County’s south-eastern District 6, which has the town of Tiszaújváros as its seat, will hold by-elections on 11 October to choose the successor of Ferenc Koncz (Fidesz) who passed away in a motorcycle accident in July. At stake is the two-thirds parliamentary majority of Fidesz-Christian Democrats.

“They can ban Jobbik’s logo from the ballot but they can never ban Jobbik members from the streets! László Bíró will be on the ballot and Jobbik members will be in the streets! We’ll be there from Tokaj to Szerencs, from Taktaköz to Onga, from Tiszaújváros to Szikszó, in all the 42 settlements in Borsod’s District 6! Go László Bíró, Go opposition! We will tear down the two-thirds majority on 11 October!” Péter Jakab posted on Friday.