Commentary Politics

Hungary’s Socialist party leaders want to stay despite historic defeat

Despite its worst-ever showing at the May EP elections, the leadership of the Socialist Party did neither offer its resignation nor do they plan to do so, political analyst Zoltán Kiszelly told Magyar Nemzet in an interview.

At the EP election, the party only garnered 6.6 percent of the votes, enough for a single MEP seat in the 21-strong Hungarian group. At a recent party conference they said that if the party improves on that performance at the autumn municipal elections, they will stay in position until the next Hungarian parliamentary elections in 2022.

But the party is clearly in disarray, lacking both a comprehensive agenda and charismatic leaders. Party leaders told Magyar Nemzet that an overhaul of both the structure and direction is unavoidable.

The former – now inactive – leaders of the party said the Socialists should team up with one of the two forces on the left that scored major victories (mainly by winning over previous Socialist voters), the Democratic Coalition (DK) or newcomer Momentum.

The only member of the old leadership, Tibor Szanyi (formerly an MEP for the party) has recently been extremely critical, after party president Zoltán Újhelyi was given the group’s single MEP mandate. Szanyi said the party was “undead”.

Political analyst Zoltán Kiszelly said that while the party was on the verge of collapse, much would depend on the upcoming municipal elections. If they lose further ground in the countryside, the fate of the party is almost certainly sealed, regardless of what leadership emerges.

Title image: Socialist Party leaders at a recent conference (Magyar Nemzet/Zoltán Havran)

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