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Horn Street controversy goes to court

March 29th, 2023

Although Budapest City Hall has refused to rename Gyula Horn Promenade, a pro-government commentator vows that no streets or public squares will be named after the erstwhile Socialist Prime Minister in the future.

Budapest Deputy Mayor Ambrus Kiss rejected a demand by Botond Sára,  the regional Government Commissioner to remove Gyula Horn’s name from the street signs of the small promenade named after him. He said the Commissioner has no authority over the Budapest City Council and is free to take the case to court if he objects to the decision by the elected representatives of the population of the capital. (For the antecedents, see BudaPost, March 25.)

In a short reaction to the conflict, liberal historian Krisztián Ungváry called the decision to name a street after Gyula Horn precipitous and erroneous. The decision, he explained on ATV News, ‘hasn’t been accepted as being OK by even a single historian’.

In Magyar Nemzet, Zoltán Felföldi remarks that the Government Commissioner acted on an appeal by private citizens, although the far-right Our Homeland party has tried to ‘dispossess them’ of the initiative. Felföldi quotes an earlier statement by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences according to which Gyula Horn ‘undoubtedly played an active role in building and maintaining a totalitarian 20th-century régime’. That statement was issued to halt the project of naming a society after Gyula Horn and should be sufficient to force the Budapest Council to rename Gyula Horn Promenade as well, Felföldi writes. At any rate, he concludes, ’we will get the idea of naming streets after Horn off the agenda once and for all’.

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