BUDAPEST – American actress Scarlett Johansson encouraged Hungarians to be brave ahead of local elections and said that voting was a heroic act, especially in places where “democracy is threatened,” according to a statement published in the local digital journal 24.hu Tuesday.
Local elections will be held on 13 October to elect assembly members and mayors in Hungary.
The Hollywood star denied that she supported Istvan Tarlos, Mayor of Budapest and candidate from the ultra-nationalist Hungarian government in the upcoming elections.
“I’d like to set the record straight: Contrary to several media articles, I have not expressed support for Mayor Tarlos in the upcoming municipal election. Rather, I privately shared my sincere appreciation for Budapest’s hospitality, beauty, and charm,” Johansson said in the statement.
On 21 September, a digital journal close to the Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, published an article with photos of the meeting between Johansson and Tarlos and said that the actress expressed her recognition for the mayor’s work.
“Only the citizens of Budapest can choose the next mayor, and it’s an important choice. Wherever democracy is threatened, voting is a heroic act. I urge all citizens of Budapest to stand bravely, be heroes, and vote with their conscience.”
The local elections campaign has been complicated.
In recent days several videos leaked to the media showed the mayor of Györ, Zsolt Borka, apparently taking part in orgies and some deputies of Hungarian opposition talking about corrupt practices while they were allegedly consuming cocaine.
In many parts of the country, the opposition has formed broad coalitions to defeat Viktor Orban’s party.
The polls predict narrow results in Budapest.