Hungary’s Orbán Faces New Political Opposition as Challenger Garner Supports from Tens of Thousands

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A formidable opponent to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán of Hungary rallied a vast crowd in the nation’s capital on Saturday, promising to unify the country and terminate Orbán’s 14-year reign.

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Peter Magyar, a political novice previously affiliated with Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party, led the charge. He has rapidly gained notoriety in recent weeks, accusing the government of widespread corruption and favoritism. Speaking to thousands who congregated near Budapest’s parliament, Magyar unveiled a new political initiative aimed at consolidating Hungarian conservatives and liberals disenchanted by Orbán’s rule and the divided opposition.

“Step by step, we reclaim our homeland to construct a new, sovereign, modern, European Hungary,” Magyar proclaimed, highlighting the protest as one of the most significant political rallies in recent history.

Magyar, 43, an ex-confidant of Orbán and the former spouse of Orbán’s ally, ex-justice minister Judit Varga, parted ways with the government following a scandal leading to his ex-wife and the president’s resignations. He has since cultivated a substantial following, depicting Hungary’s politics as dominated by a coterie of oligarchs and authoritarian figures.

Labeling Orbán’s administration as a “mafia,” Magyar called for sweeping reforms to curb corruption and foster a more inclusive political landscape.

“For over two decades, our leaders have pitted Hungarians against each other, regardless of our country’s fortunes,” Magyar declared. “This ends now.”

The government has dismissed Magyar’s actions as opportunistic, attributed to his fallout with Varga and subsequent professional setbacks. Nonetheless, his ascent adds to the challenges Orbán faces, including government resignations and a looming economic downturn.

Recently, Magyar disclosed an audio clip purportedly showcasing a conspiracy by senior officials to tamper with court records, covering up a corruption scandal. He has demanded the government’s resignation and the restoration of transparent elections.

Critics, both domestically and in the European Union, have accused Orbán of undermining democratic institutions, commandeering media outlets, and rigging the electoral system to benefit his party. The EU has frozen substantial funds to Budapest, citing democratic regressions, misallocation of EU finances, and the disregard for minority rights.

Zoltan Koszler, a protester, expressed his desire for systemic overhaul: “I yearn to reside in a genuine rule-of-law nation, where such principles are not just theoretical but actual.”

Magyar announced his intentions to establish a new party to contest in the upcoming EU and municipal elections this summer.

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