- Title: Hungary's Socialists make leftist turn to challenge Orban
- Date: 26th May 2017
- Summary: BUDAPEST, HUNGARY (MAY 26, 2017) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (Hungarian) SOCIALIST PARTY PRIME MINISTER CANDIDATE, LASZLO BOTKA, SAYING: "Look, if something is built then dismantling it is also a big expense when one is certain that it is not necessary (QUESTION OFF CAMERA: Is it needed now?) Now, it is already built. If you put the question like that: I would not have built a fence because it was not the fence that saved Hungary - not one single migrant wanted to flee to Hungary itself. I would say that we will do everything we can to further strengthen the European co-operation in handling this situation and then all fences will become unnecessary." BOTKA SPEAKING (SOUNDBITE) (Hungarian) SOCIALIST PARTY PRIME MINISTER CANDIDATE, LASZLO BOTKA, SAYING: "We would like to see guarantees that the situation becomes stable in the hottest crisis zones like Syria and in the Islamic State dominated regions, this is from where most migrants come from and we would like to see stability there. Dismantling this fence will cost several millions of Forints. If you ask me whether we would have built the fence, then I can firmly say - no."
- Embargoed: 9th June 2017 10:39
- Keywords: election wall migration Orban
- Location: BUDAPEST, ROSZKE, SZEGED, HUNGARY
- City: BUDAPEST, ROSZKE, SZEGED, HUNGARY
- Country: Hungary
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0036IH66NT
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Hungary's opposition Socialists aim to bolster support with their new, more leftist programme before forming any alliances to try to unseat Prime Minister Viktor Orban in elections next year, their candidate for premier said.
Orban, who has locked horns with Western partners over his unwinding of democratic checks and balances and his harsh rhetoric in the recent migration crisis, is runaway favourite to win a third straight term in elections next April, against a fragmented opposition.
Laszlo Botka, the 44-year-old mayor of the southern city of Szeged, told the Reuters Central & Eastern Europe Investment Summit on Wednesday that the only way to beat Orban is to have a single leftist challenger.
He said there would be absolutely no cooperation with Jobbik, whose politics he called unsuccessful and inauthentic.
The Socialist began to unveil their programme this month, pledging to bring back a progressive personal income tax, to replace the current flat tax regime that would re-route about 350 billion forints ($1.3 bln) per year to the poor and the middle classes.
Botka also said he would dismantle a fence along the border with Serbia - which Orban put up to keep migrants from entering Hungary - as soon as European Union border protection controls are in place and the situation in the Middle East calms down. He said he would never have built the fence in the first place but now that it is there they need to see guarantees that the EU-Turkey co-operation is working so the fence would not be necessary.
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