Så arbetar Momentum Movement för demokrati i Ungern

Foto: Momentum Movement

Sedan 2010 har demokratin systematiskt urholkats i Ungern. Som ett svar på den politiska situationen grundades Momentum Movement, ett systerparti till Centerpartiet, år 2015. Trots att partiet är ungt har Momentum nått stora framgångar, bland annat har Momentum kommit att bli det första politiska partiet som öppet tagit ställning för medborgerliga rättigheter och tolerans, anordnat anti-propagandakampanjer och vunnit två platser i Europaparlamentsvalet 2019.

Centerpartiet har intervjuat Anikó Paróczai, international officer, för att få svar på hur de arbetar för att säkerställa demokrati och frihet i Ungern samtvilka utamningar de möter.

Momentum emerged as the strongest opposition party to the Fidesz - KDNP regime at the end of 2019, according to a poll by Nézőpont Institute. Momentum has no seats in the Hungarian Parliament. How does Momentum work to secure liberal values and what strategy does the party use to strengthen the public opinion?

After the election of 2018, the party did an internal structural change, and from the second half of the year, we started to prepare for the European Parliamentary elections. We gained two seats in the European Parliament Election of May 2019, and then went on to coordinate candidates on a local level. We believe that parties need candidates representing them on a municipal level in order to be successful, more specifically, parties need candidates who connect with voters that they wish to represent. Baring this in mind, Momentum organized a strong door to door campaign, where the party got a chance to talk to people and share our program and values.

Regarding the limited freedom of speech and press in Hungary, has it been difficult to communicate your politics and your values?

Yes, the biggest challenge is Fidesz’s restriction in independent media. We believe that citizens, as taxpayers, have the right to receive a quality public service. However, the Hungarian public media of today is nothing but a propaganda from Fidesz. The majority of commercial channels have been bought by oligarchs loyal to the Fidesz, which means that these channels are most likely to spread the message of the government. The channels that are left are not accessible to everyone, and lack of information is a serious problem in Hungary. Therefore, face to face contact with the people is crucial, otherwise our voice will not be heard. We are trying to engage voters by hosting forums with our MEPs and party leaders, who of course also canvass together with our activists, moreover, Momentum tend to organize rallies and stunts, which consider more radical and new-wave methods of freedom of expression.

In addition to the government’s attempt to inhibit an independent media, Fidesz has further approved a bill to allow the government to rule by decree without a set time limit, citing the urgency of Covid-19. What does the bill mean and is there anything Momentum and other parties in opposition can do to ensure democracy?

The government’s handling of the crisis is irresponsible and dangerous. Even in the middle of a deadly pandemic, Viktor Orbán only sees an opportunity to tighten his grip on power. By doing this, Orbán bashes the opposition, making the creation of national unity impossible. So far Orbán deprived local councils from their revenue, so as decreased the funding for parties. For example, a city called Göd (governed by the opposition with a mayor from Momentum) last 20 percent of the tax revenue, because the rights to decide on the taxes have been given to the regional council (governed by Fidesz majority). Furthermore, the government has radically cut free seats in hospitals and sent people who need constant care home, and handing over responsibility to their families.

With your two seats in the European Parliament and as a member of the Alde, how do you want the EU to act in order to protect fundamental rights and thereby ensure that the government’s necessary measures are limited?

As a member state of the EU, the investigation of Article 7 must keep going. The procedure has been going on for a long time with no greater results. The situation is urgent, and the EU must act now. It is time for EPP to draw a red line and exclude Fidesz from the group. Momentum also want the current redistributing system to be revised. More direct funds would be essential in Hungary, since the government punishes municipalities lead opposition with by cutting their EU funds.