Fidesz MPs boycott emergency meeting on City Park

July 20, 2016

Budapest, 2016. július 20. Az Országgyûlés rendkívüli plenáris ülése 2016. július 20-án. A Liget-projekt kapcsán ellenzéki képviselõk kezdeményezték a rendkívüli vitanapot. MTI Fotó: Kovács Tamás
No sign of Fidesz or KDNP MPs at the emergency meeting of Parliament. Photo: MTI/Kovács Tamás

An emergency meeting on the Liget Project could not even begin in Parliament, as members of Fidesz and their Christian Democratic allies refused to participate in the debate, wrote Hungarian news website Index.hu.

The meeting was initiated by independent MP Tímea Szabó, co-chairman of Párbeszéd Magyarországért (Dialogue for Hungary, PM). Her efforts were backed by all other opposition parties, including the Socialists, radical right-wing Jobbik and left-wing Lehet Más a Politika (Politics Can Be Different, LMP).  Lajos Kósa, floor leader of Fidesz, announced: “Fidesz would not participate in such a circus.”

Long-time controversy

Controversy surrounding the Liget Project is nothing new. The government plans to demolish buildings, cut down trees and create a new museum quarter in Budapest’s biggest city park.  But its actions have been met with increasingly fervent protests. A few weeks ago, demonstrations turned violent when members of a civil group protecting the park (Ligetvédők) chained themselves to trees and buildings.

Budapest, 2016. július 6. Rendõrök viszik el a Ligetvédõk nevû civil mozgalom egyik aktivistáját a városligeti Hungexpo irodaházaknál 2016. július 6-án. Az épületek bontását megkezdték, a hatóságok kiürítették a Liget Budapest projekt ellen tiltakozó aktivisták által elfoglalt területet. MTI Fotó: Balogh Zoltán
Civil groups protested against plans to demolish buildings and cut down trees. MTI Fotó: Balogh Zoltán

Opposition politicians hoped to revoke the law that enables the project to continue, for which they would have needed more than half of the MPs to participate in the debate.  In the absence of governing party MPs, the meeting was declared invalid.

Frivolous bluff

At a press conference Kósa called the emergency meeting a “frivolous bluff”.

“Calling the meeting together was a good opportunity for the opposition to receive media attention in the middle of the cucumber season,” he told Hungarian state news agency MTI.

Szabó, on the other hand, vowed to continue and promised to call another meeting together soon.

Members of park protectors Ligetvédők said Fidesz “does not want to hear the wish of the people”.