March 6, 2009
Hungary is a parliamentary democracy with five parties in the national assembly. The Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) is the only party which is represented in the Party of European Socialists (PES), which has the second largest group in the European Parliament. MSZP has also the second largest group in the Hungarian national assembly.
The Hungarian Socialist party has been the major force of the three consequtive governments since 2002. Between 2002-2006 it was on governemnt with the Free Democrats (ALDE), after the 2006 parliamentary elections this was the first reelected government in Hungary’s post-Communist democracy. The coalition broke up in 2008 and the MSZP is leading a hugely unpopular minority government with the occasional support of the Free Democrats or MDF (EPP), a small middle-right party. The various opinion polls put its main rival, Fidesz (EPP) 30% ahead of MSZP for years with 60:30 lead. The MSZP is facing a national election in 2010 and is eager to show force and prove its supporters an ability to go into the national campaign with at least some chance of re-election.
Given these circumstances MSZP has a strong and European oriented list. It is lead by Ms Kinga Göncz, who is the foreign minister in the minority cabinet and the most popular, or rather least non-popular member of the cabinet. She is also the daughter of Hungary’s very popular former Liberal president, Mr Árpád Göncz. She is nota very strong member of the current Cabinet, where the foreing policy is dominated by the prime minister. Ms Göncz is followed by two women. Ms Edit Herczog (2) is a current MEP and a vice-president of the party. Ms Zita Gurmai (3) is another MEP, who is also a member of the French (!) Socialist shadow government, which has chosen a foreign politician to a junior role to show its EU commitment. Mr Csaba Tabajdi MEP (4) is the current head of the Hungarian socialist group in the EP and a former MP in Hungary. Mr Gyula Hegyi MEP (5) has been the leader of the Christian group within MSZP. During his colorful political carrer he has been involved in the Hungarian work of Amnesy International and also the anti-globalization group ATTAC. Mr Csaba Fazekas MEP (6) is the current questor of the European Parliament and a former indusry and trade minister in the Socialist-Liberal government between 1996-1998. He is also a vice-president of the Hungarian Atlantic Council, a pro-NATO NGO. The further candidates have currently little chance to be elected.
The Socialist list cannot be branded either as lightweight or as a retirement list for national politicians. Since the current government is very unpopular, national politicians would have little appeal beyond the core base, except for Ms Kinga Göncz, who as a foreign minister is largely absent from the deadly domestic political debates, and who also has an appeal for the Liberal voters. The Socialist list will demonstrate the MSZP, dispite its pro-business government, and very unpopular fiscal austerity measures still shows left-wing values, or the values of the Hungarian left-wing for the electorate: gender equality and a commitment to the EU. Apparenetly the over-representation of women and MEPs tries to show a peaceful list in the dramatic domestic political arena.
Former posts: An overview of the parties running for MEP seats in Hungary.Author : Dániel Antal