BUDAPEST (Reuters) – Hungary’s opposition alliance, if it wins elections on April 3, will put the economy on track for the adoption of the euro within five years, the opposition’s prime minister candidate Peter Marki-Zay told commercial television ATV.
Hungary’s nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who rose to power in a 2010 election landslide, faces his first tough race for re-election as six opposition parties have formed a united front to oust him and his ruling Fidesz party.
The six-party opposition bloc encompasses the Democratic Coalition, the Socialists, liberals and the formerly far-right, now centre-right Jobbik.
It is led by Marki-Zay, a Catholic conservative and father of seven, who has said Hungary should strengthen ties with the EU, adopt the euro and join the European Public Prosecutor’s Office to root out corruption.
“We would like to introduce the euro within five years,” Marki-Zay told ATV.
Some of Hungary’s neighbours like Slovakia and Slovenia have already adopted the euro. Hungary has no official target date for introducing the euro.
A small central European country of 10 million people, Hungary conducts some 80% of its trade with the rest of the EU, especially with euro zone members such as Germany.
Orban has said any decision about joining the euro zone would have to be based on “national unity”, noting that a two-thirds majority would be needed to amend the constitution which stipulates that Hungary’s currency is the forint.
The alliance and Fidesz are running neck-and-neck in polls.
Meanwhile, Marki-Zay, said on Wednesday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus and has moved into quarantine.
Marki-Zay said on his official Facebook page that he had mild symptoms resembling a cold, and had received three COVID-19 shots so was hoping to get back on the campaign road in five days if he has a negative test then. Hungary holds elections on April 3.
Photo – Hungarian opposition leader Peter Marki-Zay. EPA-EFE/OLIVIER HOSLET