Socialists to collect signatures against gov’t measures

Budapest, November 27 (MTI) – Hungary’s main opposition Socialist Party will collect signatures and call street protests in the spring against the government’s pension plans and other measures, party leader Attila Mesterhazy told a rally on Saturday.

The party will collect signatures for a petition to protest against the nationalisation of private pension fund savings, the unjust tax system, groundless dismissals, the introduction of legislation with retroactive effect and curbing the authority of the Constitutional Court, Mesterhazy told a gathering in the Papp Laszlo Sports Arena. Mesterhazy asked every person who plans to sign the petition to invite ten others to join.

    ”Our message to the government is that unless they change the arrogant style and politics, we will go to the street in the spring to shout out loud with tens of thousands: That’s enough!,” Mesterhazy said.

    As soon as the Socialists get the opportunity, they will compensate people whose private pension savings the government is now taking away, increase pensions in line with the law, cancel legislation introduced with retroactive effect, put an end to the system of groundless dismissals and restore the independence of public service media, Mesterhazy said.

    However, this will be possible only if the Socialists regain people’s trust, which makes it necessary to create a unified party, he added.

    The renewed Socialist Party will consistently pursue left-wing politics and will work towards becoming a likeable party, Mesterhazy said.

    Deputy chairman of the governing Fidesz party Lajos Kosa said in response to Mesterhazy’s statements that the measures of the Orban government are supported by a decisive majority of Hungarians. The crisis situation that developed in Hungary resulted from the previous Socialist government’s politics and the Orban government is now attempting to remedy the situation. For this, the government has asked the solidarity of banks, and participants in the energy sector and multinational trade chains, he added.

       Commenting on the Socialists’ planned street demonstrations, Kosa said every Hungarian had the right to express his or her opinion peacefully in the street. He added that the current government would not have the police crush peaceful demonstrators “as they did in the past,” referring to the handling of violent anti-government riots in 2006. “Such a thing cannot happen in our case because we take democracy and constitutional principles seriously,” Kosa said.