According to the latest polls, four equal forces share the opposition space after the Democratic Coalition (DK) and Momentum strengthened in the EP elections, while MSZP and Jobbik weakened. What do you think, will the municipal elections accelerate or stop the rearrangement of the opposition side?
Let me ask you something in return: why is the EP election the reference point?
Because it was the last act that voters directly declared who they support.
I think it would be a mistake to ignore the June Budapest mayoral opposition pre-election where Gergely Karácsony won and which mobilised tens of thousands of people.
But only in the capital.
Where DK and Momentum are strongest, and this is an important consideration when asking about the rearrangement of the opposition side. Our intensive campaign has shown everyone that the MSZP community has the strength to fight for its goals.
Now, let me refer to Budapest: there are some who believe that the Hungarian Socialist Party is also strongest in the capital.
I think László Botka would argue strongly with this in Szeged, nonetheless, we are doing quite well in Budapest. However, the Socialist Party is the only opposition force that has a national network behind it and is strongly present in local governments.
Could you elaborate on this?
Five years ago, 63 mayors ran and won in MSZP colours and independently, but with the support of the Socialist Party. In addition, 404 municipal representatives are our people.
Will there by as many come autumn?
If not more! We have excellent candidates! Of course, we can build on places most efficiently where opposition forces win. Fortunately, the formula is there: victory requires parties to join forces in as many places as possible and collaborate to replace Fidesz overlords. I am particularly proud that in most of the settlements the local organizations of MSZP are the engines of this cooperation.
Still, after the EP competition, new opposition deals would be made on the basis of the results in Brussels. What is MSZP’s approach to these?
Indeed, almost everywhere there have been suggestions for the renegotiation of previous agreements, but in these cases too the key question is whether we want to replace the local Fidesz leadership and whether we want a better local government that pays attention to people.
I understand, but how does the MSZP relate to the renegotiations?
With sensible compromises. That is why successful agreements were reached in Budapest and in the big cities. MSZP, DK, Momentum and possibly Jobbik will run mayoral candidates in the big cities, but there are places where parties all lined up behind an independent candidate, such as in Pécs.
All along, we stood for our local organizations finding a broad spectrum form of opposition cooperation that has a chance of winning. I will never allow for a situation to arise where anyone would think that MSZP is “pushing the Fidesz cart.”Again, the most important goal for us is to free the highest number of settlements possible from Fidesz' captivity. Everything is secondary to this.
In the seventh district, the chances of the opposition are being lowered by the fact that György Hunvald, who recently left the party, runs as an independent candidate. Many believe that this serves the interests of Fidesz. Is there a chance he could be persuaded to back down?
György Hunvald is no longer a member of MSZP; he left this community. I trust he will realize that there will be no consensus regarding him. In the seventh district, in the framework of a wide-ranging agreement in Budapest, MSZP supports Peter Niedermüller, the candidate of the opposition cooperation.
What is your guess, when will the mayoral candidates be finalised in all major cities?
90 per cent of cities with county rights, most major cities, districts, and Budapest already have agreements in place, and I think this is a huge achievement. We are working day and night on the remaining places, too.
Have you talked to József Tóbiás, a commuter from Tenerife, how he decides on remaining a Member of Parliament?
I was clear earlier: József Tóbiás has to make it clear before the autumn session of Parliament whether he finishes his mandate in office.