Former Orbán Ally Leads Mass Protests, Plans Political Challenge

Prominent Fidesz insider Péter Magyar leads massive protests against Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán, signaling a potential shift in the country's political landscape.

Mazhar Abbas
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Former Orbán Ally Leads Mass Protests, Plans Political Challenge

Péter Magyar, Former Orbán Ally, Leads Massive Protests Against Hungarian Prime Minister in Budapest

In a significant shift in Hungary's political landscape, Péter Magyar, once a member of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán's inner circle, is now leading massive protests against the Hungarian leader in Budapest. The demonstrations, which have drawn tens of thousands of people, reflect growing discontent with Orbán's policies and his government's alleged backsliding on democracy.

Magyar, a businessman who previously aligned himself with Orbán's ruling Fidesz party, has emerged as a fierce critic of the prime minister. He plans to launch a new political party to challenge Orbán's power, citing a moral, political, and economic crisis in Hungary. Magyar claims that the majority of Hungarians have lost confidence in the country's political elite.

The protests come as Hungary prepares to take over the European Union's rotating presidency on July 1, and amid Orbán's strengthening ties with Russia, which have soured relations with Brussels. Opposition politicians and the widow of Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny have also addressed the crowds, criticizing Orbán's close relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Why this matters: The protests led by Péter Magyar highlight the growing opposition to Viktor Orbán's rule in Hungary. As a former insider of Orbán's system, Magyar's leadership in the demonstrations underscores the shifting political dynamics in the country and the potential for a significant challenge to Orbán's power.

Magyar's prominence has grown in recent months, particularly in light of a child abuse scandal involving Orbán's former justice minister, Judit Varga. He has also released a recording allegedly implicating a top minister in a high-profile corruption case and called for the chief prosecutor's resignation. A recent poll suggests that Magyar's new party could secure between 11 to 15 percent of the vote in Hungary, where elections are due by 2026.

Budapest Protests: The protests in Budapest represent the biggest political crisis of Orbán's 14-year premiership since the child sex abuse case scandal. As tens of thousands rally in support of Magyar, the future of Hungary's political landscape appears to be at a critical juncture, with the potential for significant changes in the coming years.

Key Takeaways

  • Péter Magyar, ex-Orbán ally, now leads massive protests against Hungarian PM
  • Protests reflect growing discontent with Orbán's policies and democratic backsliding
  • Magyar plans to launch new party to challenge Orbán, citing crisis in Hungary
  • Protests come as Hungary takes EU presidency, Orbán strengthens Russia ties
  • Magyar's new party could secure 11-15% of vote, posing challenge to Orbán