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Debate on election debate

January 20th, 2022

A left-wing commentator claims that Prime Minister Orbán is afraid to participate in a public debate with opposition frontrunner Márki-Zay because he has no meaningful policy vision. A pro-government columnist, on the other hand, contends that PM Orbán should not engage with ‘liars’ in public.

Péter Márki-Zay, the opposition candidate for Prime Minister has challenged Prime Minister Orbán to a televised debate. Fidesz spokesman István Hollik declined the challenge, claiming that the real leader of the opposition is Ferenc Gyurcsány, and therefore it would be futile for Prime Minister Orbán to debate with Márki-Zay.

Népszava’s Miklós Hargitai opines that Prime Minister Orbán refuses to participate in a public debate with opposition frontrunner Márki-Zay because he has no credible vision concerning education, health care or environmental sustainability. The left-wing commentator also thinks the Prime Minister is afraid that a public debate would increase the visibility of his main rival. Hargitai finds Orbán’s behaviour reprehensible, since public debates are the cornerstones of democracy.

In Magyar Hírlap, Károly Bán finds it fully justified for Prime Minister Orbán to abstain from a debate with Péter Márki-Zay.  The pro-government columnist acknowledges that the majority of Hungarians consider it the democratic duty of prime ministerial candidates to participate in televised debates, but thinks that this time, ‘political circumstances’ are not suitable for such a duel. Bán claims Márki-Zay is a puppet of former Prime Minister Gyurcsány, ‘who lied in public’. He adds that Márki-Zay himself has made several false accusations against the government. In light of all this, Bán deems it right that Fidesz has refused the challenge of a public debate.

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