Orban's new challenger gets green light to run at European elections

A former ally of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Peter Magyar, registered a party late on Thursday to run in the European elections in June, setting out a test for his ability to challenge the nationalist leader.

Publication: 12.04.2024 - 13:34
Orban's new challenger gets green light to run at European elections
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Magyar swooped into Hungary's political scene in February when he accused the government of widespread corruption and running a centralized propaganda machine. Orban aides have rejected his accusations.

In late March, he published a recording of a conversation with Judit Varga, then his wife and Hungary's justice minister, in which she detailed an attempt by Orban aides to meddle in a graft case.

The revelation, which is being investigated by prosecutors, has led to large protests in Hungary and has cast a shadow over Orban's government which had already been reeling from a sex abuse scandal that led to the resignation of the president.

Opinion polls show that Magyar would get about 13% of voters while Fidesz's support was mostly unchanged.

Magyar, who took over an inactive party called Tisza (Tisztelet és Szabadság - Respect and Freedom) is starting a country-wide campaign tour next week, planning to visit six to eight towns a day, he told Reuters.

"There is still a lot of work to do. We are a kind of garage company," he said.

At a rally last week, he told his audience that he wants to "take Hungary back" and restore democracy. He stood up for the reform of the healthcare and education systems and reiterated that he wants to co-operate with the European Union.

Magyar has said earlier that he will be heading his party's list for the European elections as its most popular member, but will not become a member of the European Parliament and stay in Hungary to challenge the government.

If his party won any seats in the European elections, their members would join the European People's Party group, he told ATV in an interview.

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