Four days before the parliamentary elections, PM of Hungary, Viktor Orbán, who pays two-day visit to Georgia, addressed ruling United National Movement party’s campaign rally at stadium in Kutaisi calling on Georgians not to make a “mistake” and not turn back into the past.
Standing alongside with President Saakashvili in the stadium, packed by the ruling party activists and supporters on September 27, PM Orbán said: “May I just use this possibility to hand over the greetings of the Hungarian nation to the Georgian freedom-loving people.”
“The other side of the coin [is] that I am the vice president of the European People’s Party; so I greet you not just on behalf of the Hungarian nation, but on behalf of the European People’s Party and Europe as well,” said PM Orbán, who leads the center-right Fidesz party. President Saakashvili’s ruling party is an observer member of the European People’s Party.
“We appreciate very much how many efforts you have taken in order to change the character of your post-Communism country to the competitive European one… Results do not come easily, but there is just one mistake that you could do and this mistake was [made] by us in Hungary. Several years ago we decided to turn back and turn back to the past… If you are determined enough, if you believe your leadership, you support your government and your president, you can be successful,” the Hungarian PM said.
“But if you accept the temptation to turn back then it could be a real mistake. Of course it’s your election, you make the decision about your fate,” he continued. “But as a Hungarian friend, believe me – don’t turn back; believe yourself, believe your leadership and do your job.”
“You have plenty of friends all around the world; you are very much supported in Europe as well. I would like to ask you to keep your country on the track of trans-Atlantic European integration,” he said.
One of the key messages of the ruling party in the ongoing campaign is that upcoming elections is about making choice between a return back into the past and going forward into the future towards further development. One of the main lines of attack by the authorities against their major rival in upcoming elections, Bidzina Ivanishvili-led Georgian Dream coalition, is to claim that if this coalition comes into power it will result into derailing Georgia from its reform path and into “throwing the country back into the past.
Participants of the rally at the stadium started chanting the Hungarian PM’s name, “Viktor, Viktor”, after President Saakashvili encouraged them to do so.
In his speech Saakashvili praised PM Orbán as “the brightest political star of Europe.”
“I do not remember any case in Georgia’s history a leader of such level making speech at this type of event and telling Georgians that Georgia’s choice is for Europe and that the entire world is looking at us in order not to turn back,” Saakashvili said.