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Unity against the floods (except Esztergom)

June 11th, 2013

As the record high floods were reaching their apex in Budapest, the dailies praised professionals and volunteers who fought the waters in exemplary unity.  The Prime Minister was criticised for ignoring the Mayor of Esztergom during his presence in her city.

In Magyar Nemzet, György Pilhál likens the collective struggle against the rising Danube to the unity with which Hungarians started rebuilding their country after World War II. Despite all divisions, he says, in times of deep crisis, Hungarians have repeatedly shown that they are able to overcome ideological differences. For the second time in a row (See BudaPost, June 10) , Magyar Nemzet welcomes a comment by left-wing Népszava encouraging its readers to support the government in its efforts to resist the flood.

In its front page editorial, Népszabadság criticises the Prime Minister who did not spare one minute to meet the city’s mayor. Éva Tétényi was elected in 2010 to replace the local Fidesz leader, and there has been a standoff between the Fidesz  majority in the municipal assembly and the mayor ever since. Népszabadság believes the inhabitants of Esztergom are being punished by the government for having elected the wrong mayor. However, on a day of national unity in fighting the floods, the left wing paper believes the prime Minister should not have ignored her . (They actually met and shook hands, but without discussing the situation in the city.)


HírTV, a pro-government cable TV station released video footage on Thursday, June 13, showing the mayor and the Prime Minister on the bank of the Danube at Esztergom, with Mr Orbán asking her if she had any suggestions or complaints and Ms Tétényi answering that everything was fine “for the moment” and the city was getting everything it needed from the authorities. The Mayor then told HírTV that she had been misquoted by the daily, and it was “an exaggeration” to allege that she had been ignored by the Prime Minister.

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