Christian Democratic People's Party (Hungary)

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Christian Democratic People's Party
Kereszténydemokrata Néppárt
Abbreviation KDNP
President Zsolt Semjén
Deputy President Péter Harrach
Miklós Seszták
Founded 13 October 1944 (1944-10-13)
Legalised 1989
Preceded by United Christian Party
Headquarters István Street out corner Dózsa György,
1072 Budapest
Youth wing Young Christian Democratic Alliance
Ideology Christian democracy[1][2]
Social conservatism
Political position Right-wing
Religion Roman Catholicism
European affiliation European People's Party
European Parliament group European People's Party
Colors           Green and gold
Slogan Több fényt! ("More Light!")
Seats in the
National Assembly
16 / 199
Seats in the
European Parliament
1 / 21
Website
kdnp.hu

The Christian Democratic People's Party (Hungarian: Kereszténydemokrata Néppárt, KDNP) is a political party in Hungary. It is officially a coalition partner of ruling party Fidesz, but in reality it is a satellite party of Fidesz,[3][4] and has been unable to get into the Parliament on its own since 1994 when it barely passed the election threshold of 5% of votes. Without Fidesz, its support cannot be measured,[5][6][7] and even a leading Fidesz politician, János Lázár stated that Fidesz doesn't consider the government to be a coalition government.[8]

History[edit]

The party was founded under the name of KDNP on 13 October 1944 by Hungarian Catholic statesmen, intellectuals and clergy, and was a successor to the pre-war United Christian Party.[9] Among the founders were Bishop Vilmos Apor, Béla Kovrig (president of the University of Kolozsvár), László Varga, General József Pálffy, ethnographer Sándor Bálint and political journalist István Barankovics. It was an offshoot of the Catholic Social Folk Movement (KSzN), a civil organization. At the beginning of 1945 they elected Barankovics as principal secretary.

The new KDNP enjoyed just four or five months of semi-legality towards the end of World War II. At the end of the war, the communist-dominated post-war authorities refused to legalize it or permit it to operate further. Despite attempts by Varga and Barankovics, they were refused official permission to operate and take part in elections. Some of the party's founders, including Varga, were imprisoned for some days by detachments of the Arrow Cross Party.

Meanwhile, some party members were saying that Barankovics conceded too much to the communist-influenced authorities in return for too little, and there was growing friction between two factions: the Christian socialist left wing led by Barankovics and the conservative-clerical right wing led by József Mindszenty's confidant, József Pálffy. The left wing gained increasing ascendancy in the party, and on 8 May 1945, Barankovics replaced Pálffy as president. The party changed its name to the Democratic People's Party (DNP), while a group led by Pálffy founded a new party called KDNP, which, however, failed to remain legal in an atmosphere of increasing Soviet influence. The 1947 elections saw the DNP finish second in the popular vote, winning 60 of the 411 seats.[10]

DNP was a democratic and anticommunist organisation. In 1949, Mátyás Rákosi asked Barankovics for the party's leaders to help him in the show trial against Cardinal Mindszenty, who was alreadyill in prison. Barankovics refused and, abandoning his party, escaped to Austria in an American diplomat's car. Many people followed his example; others were imprisoned by communists. The party was subsequently dissolved in January 1949.[11]

Refoundation and present[edit]

The party was refounded in 1989 with its present name. The link between the historical party and the present one is disputed, although prominent members of the original party, like László Varga, took part in its refoundatuon. It was part of the Hungarian National Assembly between 1990 and 1998. From 1998 on, it has been closely associated with the Hungarian party Fidesz. In 2005 Fidesz and the KDNP signed an agreement for election cooperation, a result of which the KDNP obtained seats in the National Assembly. In the 2006 elections this alliance gained strength, winning 42.0% of the list votes and 164 representatives out of 386 in the National Assembly. The party decided to form a self-contained parliamentary faction with 23 representatives. It is the third largest faction in the National Assembly and co-operates closely with the Fidesz faction. As of 2017, the party leader is Zsolt Semjén, deputy prime minister.

Ideology[edit]

KDNP is a right-wing, conservative Christian party. It is well known in Hungary for its anti-gay-marriage, anti-abortion and anti-immigrant stance, and its representatives voted against the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe because it did not refer to Europe's Christian heritage (although the party doesn't consider itself Eurosceptic).[12]

KDNP has supported the severe restriction on Sunday shopping ("free Sunday", as they called) for a long time, citing Christian values. Parliament voted on the issue on December 14, 2014[13] and the law came into effect on March 15, 2015[14] (a Sunday on which shops would have been closed anyway, the day being a public holiday in Hungary). Public opinion was predominantly against the decision. Three polls done in the spring of 2015 registered an opposition of 64% (Szonda Ipsos), 62% (Medián) 59% (Tárki). By the end of May, according to a poll by Medián, 72% of those polled disliked the new law, even the majority of Fidesz-KDNP voters were against it.[15] Opposition parties and private persons tried to start a public referendum several times. By November 2015 there were 16 such attempts, but none of them were approved, for various bureaucratic reasons,[16] until in early 2016 one of these attempts, intitiated by the Hungarian Socialist Party, was finally successful. The government, rather than being forced to hold the referendum (which could have been interpreted as a huge success for the opposition party, even though the law was opposed by the majority of Fidesz voters too) lifted the ban in April 2016.[17]

Parliamentary representation[edit]

National Assembly[edit]

Election year National Assembly Government
# of
overall votes
 % of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
+/–
19451
2 / 409
in government
1947 824,259
16.5% (#2)
60 / 411
Increase 58 in opposition
1990 317,183
6.46% (#6)
21 / 386
in government
1994 379,573
7.03% (#5)
22 / 386
Increase 1 in opposition
1998 116,065
2.59% (#8)
0 / 386
Decrease 22 extra-parliamentary
20022 219,029
3.9% (#5)
0 / 386
Steady 0 extra-parliamentary
20063 2,272,979
42.03% (#2)
23 / 386
Increase 23 in opposition
20103 2,706,292
52.73% (#1)
36 / 386
Increase 13 in government
20143 2,264,486
44.87% (#1)
16 / 199
Decrease 20 in government

European Parliament[edit]

Election year # of overall votes  % of overall vote # of overall seats won +/- Notes
20093 1,632,309 56.36 (#1)
1 / 22
Increase 1
20143 1,193,991 51.48 (#1)
1 / 21
Steady 0

1 Some members appeared on the national list of Independent Smallholders, Agrarian Workers and Civic Party (FKgP)

2 Joint list with Centre Party

3 Joint list with Fidesz – Hungarian Civic Alliance

See also[edit]

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ Parties and Elections in Europe: The database about parliamentary elections and political parties in Europe, by Wolfram Nordsieck
  2. ^ José Magone (26 August 2010). Contemporary European Politics: A Comparative Introduction. Routledge. pp. 456–. ISBN 978-0-203-84639-1. Retrieved 19 July 2013. 
  3. ^ Alexander Herholz (2012-02-12). "Sanctions on Hungary: What For and Why Now?". 
  4. ^ Dr. Agnes Batory (2010). "Election Briefing no. 51: Europe and the Hungarian Parliamentary Elections of April 2010" (PDF). 
  5. ^ hvg.hu (2010-07-21). "Nemigen mérhető a KDNP támogatottsága". 
  6. ^ Szonda Ipsos polls (2009-07-02). "Javuló Fidesz és Jobbik, stagnáló MSZP". 
  7. ^ "Interjú Harrach Péterrel az Origo.hu hírportálon (Interview with KDNP politician Péter Harrach)". 2011-05-13. 
  8. ^ hvg.hu (2011-07-18). "Lázár a KDNP-nek: "ez nem egy koalíciós kormány" (Lázár: This is not a coalition government)". 
  9. ^ Vincent E McHale (1983) Political parties of Europe, Greenwood Press, p511 ISBN 0-313-23804-9
  10. ^ Nohlen, D & Stöver, P (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, p931 ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7
  11. ^ Nohlen & Stöver, p911
  12. ^ The party KDNP.hu (in Hungarian)
  13. ^ KDNP.hu. "Megszavazta az Országgyűlés a szabad vasárnap bevezetését". 
  14. ^ HVG.hu (2015-03-15). "Vasárnapi boltzár: "Annyian voltak, mint a sáskák"". 
  15. ^ Origo.hu (2015-06-30). "Már a Fidesz-szavazóknak is elegük van a vasárnapi zárva tartásból". 
  16. ^ 444.hu (2015-11-11). "Bármi áron meg kell akadályozni, hogy népszavazás legyen a vasárnapi zárva tartásból". 
  17. ^ usnews.com (2016-04-11). "Hungary's government says it has asked parliament to repeal a very unpopular law banning most retail stores from opening on Sundays". 

External links[edit]