It Has Happened! Zsolt Borkai Has Resigned!

Zsolt Borkai resigned on 6 November. A number of factors may have contributed to this decision, and one of them is the approximately 7,000 people who have signed the initiative demanding his departure. According to our experience, this is a very large number for a political (or somewhat more political) petition, and also the largest so far on the SzabadaHang website.

We did not let the matter subside or slip away, we were working on it every single day. aHang, the only NGO taking action, and the thousands who joined the initiative, made sure that wouldn’t happen. Our members raised funds to cover the printing cost of 2500 stickers, and a dozen enthusiastic Győr residents put out those stickers all around the city. We went even further and gathered money for billboards, raising enough funds for 2 billboard ads; we were already close to an agreement on the schedule of the placements and the locations [1]. As far as we know, the news of those billboard ads also reached the mayor (by the way, there were billboard companies that refused to place the ads – they got frightened and refused to display an otherwise perfectly legal content).

It all comes down to the fact that the power of unity has worked again – the petition and the associated tools to exert pressure greatly contributed to Zsolt Borkai’s announcement.

Let us thank everyone who signed the petition, shared the news and donated. Let us be glad that something has finally happened in Hungary that is natural in healthy democracies. It may have taken a couple of weeks, but it has happened. Maybe we will have to wait less next time. But in reality we should not wait at all, but act right away. This is what aHang has been trying to provide a platform for, for the last 2 years. We would not have been able to spend even a penny on stickers, advertisements, posters, and to put pressure on Borkai, if it hadn’t been for the people amongst the signatories who decided to support us. That is how all our campaign spending works.

Of course, Győr will not be rid of corrupt politicians at one fell swoop, and neither will it immediately become a stronghold of transparency and community-based decision-making. But one thing is sure, the next time a matter like this goes public, we will know what to do. We can learn from this campaign, and we’ll be able to develop even further what we have seen here.

And one of the biggest gains from aHang’s perspective is that we have connected with a few dozen local residents who have taken the time and courage to request stickers which they started putting out all around in the city. Although we have never met them in person, if a similar thing happens in Győr next time, one we have the same opinion about, we know we can count on each other. We also thank them, and you, in the name of the signatories!

[1] Since the poster campaign was no longer necessary, we informed donors in a separate e-mail about the possibility of a refund.

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