“Part of the reason for the current state of politics is that there is simply no debate. There is not enough public debate. Fidesz regularly allows itself the luxury to absent itself from TV programs, debates. They try to avoid these situations because they are afraid.” – Bernadett Szél, LMP (Politics Can be Different) candidate for prime minister
Bernadett Szél will be LMP’s candidate for prime minister in next year’s general election, reports ATV. The LMP co-chair announced her candidacy on ATV’s Egyenes Beszéd (Straight Talk) program on Monday, although it must still be approved by LMP’s general assembly on September 30.
In an interview with Egyenes Beszéd host Zsuzsa Demcsák, Szél defended her party’s steadfast opposition to cooperating with other opposition parties, telling the independent broadcaster:
“On the one hand change of government is required and we are eager to cooperate with anyone who is interested in the change. On the other hand we cannot cooperate with anyone who has not learned from the rock-hard mistakes of the past thirty years”.
According to Szél “a totally new approach in politics is needed in Hungary” to solve the current political crisis. She partially blamed opposition parties for the state of the country, claiming that “instead of doing their jobs as politicians, they are occupied with their polling position while the race is already on”.
Responding to the claim that LMP cannot present itself as a constructive alternative to other parties, Szél said: “We have seven months until the election. Seven months in politics is like seven years in a person’s life.”
She said she has been contacted by many people throughout the summer and, based on her experience, voters “would like to see someone in power whom they can trust, a person who is transparent, someone who has not deceived them”.
Although Szél acknowledged that it is a valid question whether it is realistic to expect LMP to govern after 2018 given the current situation, she insisted that the election is still far from over. According to the latest polls, LMP would barely make it into the parliament, let alone form a government.
“I stand ready, moreover I call on the other prime minister candidates to debate, even in this studio, let’s bring in more chairs,” she said. “We should not meet in smoky little rooms and discuss matters in cafes. Instead we should stand out in front of voters and say to their faces what would we do with this country. Part of the reason for the current state of politics is that there is simply no debate. There is not enough public debate. Fidesz regularly allows itself the luxury to absent itself from TV programs, debates. They try to avoid these situations because they are afraid.”
The LMP co-chair declared that politicians should abandon the custom of “asking for a blank check”, and presented the most crucial steps in her first 100 days in office should she become prime minister. This includes a wage correction program worth a total of HUF 1440 billion (USD 5.6 billion) that would tackle the wage crisis in Hungary and include social measurements as well. After this, according to Szél, her government would allocate significant funds to education and public healthcare. Citing LMP’s 12-point anti-corruption agenda, she vowed to crack down on corruption. “From then on, the gentlemen and ladies currently in power would be able to observe the country from a completely different place,” Szél said with a broad smile.
When asked whether it was realistic to run a female candidate for prime minister, Szél gave an impassioned answer. “Do you think I would have taken up the responsibility if I had not thought it is realistic? Naturally, I think it is realistic. I feel the strength in myself, the determination and the commitment as well.”