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Peace March Organizer defends Nuclear Pact

January 30th, 2014

A pro-government columnist claims that the pro-opposition media is distorting the message of Peace March organizers, because their planned rally is not about the expansion of the Paks Nuclear plant but about support for the government and a foreign policy that looks for balance between the great regional powers.

Opposition media and politicians have ridiculed the organizers of the pro-government rallies called ’Peace Marches’ for their planned demonstration in favour of the Russian-Hungarian pact (see BudaPost January 27). The first Peace March was organized in early 2012 in response to a large anti-government demonstration in January of that year. (See BudaPost January 24, 2012).

Tamás Fricz, one of the organizers of the pro-government rallies, refutes the opposition charges in his column for Magyar Nemzet. The rally, scheduled for March (just before the general elections) “is not a love letter to Russia” but a statement of support for the government, he argues. He dismisses the opposition demand to submit the Paks expansion to public debate and a referendum as unreasonable, on the grounds that any elected government can legitimately decide on a large infrastructural investment. He also deems the “attacks” by the opposition hypocritical, as the last two left-wing prime ministers, Gyurcsány and Bajnai were both in favour of a Russian-designed expansion of the Paks nuclear power plant, he claims. He also believes that the leaders of the opposition overlook the fact the objective is to strike a balance between regional powers to safeguard Hungary’s independence. Fricz also thinks the terms are favourable with the large Russian loan, and if there are questions concerning the viability of the project, “who has ever seen a large infrastructural project where costs and returns could be precisely calculated in advance?” All in all, he says, what Peace March organizers want to support is not an infrastructural investment but a government “that protects values important to civil society, such as national sovereignty, civic rights, democracy and the public good”.

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