Hungary opposition pledge anti-Orbán 2022 election pact

File photo. A man holds a placard reading 'Hungarians of Europe' as demonstrators protest against the policies of the Hungarian government in a street overlooking the Parliament building in Budapest, Hungary, 28 September 2018. [Zoltan Mathe/EPA/EFE]

Hungary’s six largest opposition parties pledged Thursday (13 August) to form an unprecedented wide-ranging alliance to challenge Prime Minister Viktor Orbán at the next general election in 2022.

Opposition parties accuse the nationalist Orbán of steering Hungary toward authoritarianism and away from mainstream democratic and European Union values.

The self-styled “illiberal” premier has regularly clashed with the EU over alleged backsliding on rule-of-law, migration, and human rights issues.

Orbán has won three consecutive landslides since 2010, partly due to election rule changes he oversaw.

But with around half of the electorate voting for opposition parties Orbán would be vulnerable to a unified front.

The new alliance, which includes usually bickering leftist, liberal and right-wing parties, said in a joint statement that it had “heard the will of their voters”.

It has agreed to create a common programme for government and stand single candidates against Orbán’s powerful Fidesz party in all 106 electoral districts, it said.

If parties failed to agree on the best candidate during talks then preliminary run-offs could be held.

The opposition’s new strategy was partially applied at municipality elections last October and helped deliver it shock wins in Budapest and several regional cities.

If the alliance won in 2022 the parties pledged to govern together “in the interests of Hungary on the basis of an agreed programme and principles,” said the statement.

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