Hungarian Socialist Party

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Hungarian Socialist Party
Magyar Szocialista Párt
Abbreviation MSZP
President Gyula Molnár
Vice President Zoltán Gőgös (hu)
Parliamentary leader Bertalan Tóth (hu)
Founded 7 October 1989
Preceded by Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party
Headquarters 1073 Budapest, VII. Erzsébet krt. 40–42. fsz. I-1.
Youth wing Societas – Baloldali Ifjúsági Mozgalom
Ideology Social democracy[1]
Political position Centre-left[2]
European affiliation Party of European Socialists
International affiliation Progressive Alliance
Socialist International
European Parliament group Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats
Colors      Red
National Assembly
28 / 199
European Parliament
2 / 21
County Assemblies
56 / 419
Party flag
Flag of the Hungarian Socialist Party.svg
Website
mszp.hu
Coat of arms of Hungary.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Hungary
Foreign relations

The Hungarian Socialist Party (Hungarian: Magyar Szocialista Párt), known mostly by its acronym MSZP, is the social-democratic[3][4][5][6] political party in Hungary.

It was founded on 7 October 1989 as a social democratic party by the reform wing of the ruling socialist Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party. As a result of the 1994 parliamentary election, MSZP won an absolute majority and entered a coalition with the liberal Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ); thus the post-communist party was released from a so-called "political quarantine" (by being the former state party the socialists were in a quarantine by the other democratic parties). MSZP was one of the two major parties in Hungarian politics until 2010; however, the party lost much of its popular support as a result of 2006 protests and the 2008 economic crisis. Since then, the MSZP has been the strongest opposition party in the parliament since 2010, when its long-time right-wing rival Fidesz won a two-thirds majority.

History[edit]

It is the partial successor of the communist Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party (or MSZMP), which ruled Hungary between 1956 and 1989. The decision to declare the party a successor of the MSZMP was controversial, and still carries repercussions for both the MSZP and Hungary. Another source of controversy is that some members of the former communist elite maintained political influence in the MSZP. Indeed, many key MSZP politicians were active members or held leadership positions within the MSZMP (like Gyula Horn and László Kovács), the party is not to be confused with the Workers' Party, a marginal party of hardline communists and another successor to the MSZMP.

On economic issues, the Socialists have often been greater advocates of liberal, free market policies than the conservative opposition, which has tended to favor more state interventionism in the economy through economic and price regulations, as well as through state ownership of key economic enterprises. The MSZP, in contrast, implemented a strong package of market reforms, austerity and privatization in 1995-96, called the Bokros package, when Hungary faced an economic and financial crisis. According to researchers, the elites of the Hungarian 'left' (MSZP and SZDSZ) have been differentiated from the 'right' by being more supportive of the classical neo-liberal economic policies, while the 'right' (especially extreme right) has advocated more interventionist policies; in contrast, issues like church and state and former communists show alignment along the traditional left-right spectrum.[7] It is also noteworthy that, according to research, the MSZP elite's positions used to be closer to voters of the SZDSZ than to their own.[8]

Besides a more liberal approach to the economy overall, the MSZP differentiated itself from the conservative opposition through its more recent focus on transforming state social policy from a collection of measures that benefit the entire population, such as subsidies available to all citizens, to one based on financial and social need.

Besides Gyula Horn, the MSZP's most internationally recognized politicians were Ferenc Gyurcsány and László Kovács, a former member of the European Commission responsible for taxation.

At the 2006 elections, MSZP won with 43.2% of party list votes, which gave it 190 representatives out of 386 in the Parliament. The MSZP was therefore able to retain its coalition government from the previous term; in earlier elections, the MSZP polled 10.89% (1990), 32.98% (1994), 32.92% (1998) and 42.05% (2002).

After the successful fees abolishment referendum, MSZP formed the first minority government of Hungary, following the SZDSZ's backing out of the coalition with a deadline of May 1, 2008.

2010s decline[edit]

On 21 March 2009 Gyurcsány announced his resignation as Prime Minister due to failure management of the economic crisis.[9][10] Gordon Bajnai became the nominee of MSZP for the post of prime minister in March 2009[11] and he became Prime Minister on 14 April. Gyurcsány also resigned from his position of party chairman, which he had occupied since 2007.[12]

MSZP has lost half of its supporters during the European Parliament election in 2009, when the party received only 17,37% of the votes and gained four seats, compared to the previous nine seats. This electoral defeat marked the end of the de facto two-party system in Hungary, which lasted since 1998.

The Hungarian Socialist Party suffered a heavy defeat in the 2010 election (won by Fidesz with a ⅔ majority), gaining only 19,3% of the votes, and 59 seats in the parliament. Following the resignation of Ildikó Lendvai, the party's prime minister candidate Attila Mesterházy was elected Chairman of the Socialist Party.[13] Nevertheless, MSZP became the biggest opposition party in Hungary.

The left-wing fragmented after the 2010 election; at first Katalin Szili left the MSZP to form Social Union (SZU), following the similarly significant defeated local elections in October 2010, nevertheless Gyurcsány's detachment was a much more disaster for the Socialists. Initially, the former PM wanted to reform the party, but his goals remained in the minority, as a result, Gyurcsány, along with nine other members of the parliamentary group, left MSZP and established Democratic Coalition (DK). Thus MSZP's number of MPs reduced to 48.[14]

The Socialist Party entered into an alliance with four other parties in January 2014 to contest the April parliamentary election. Mesterházy was elected candidate for Prime Minister position, but the Unity alliance failed to win, after that the electoral coalition disestablished.[15] On the 2014 European Parliament election, MSZP suffered the largest defeat since the 1990 parliamentary election, gaining third place and only 10% of the votes.[16] After the obvious failure, Mesterházy and the entire presidium of the Socialist Party resigned.[17][18]

József Tóbiás was elected leader of the Socialist Party on 19 July 2014 following the resignation of Mesterházy.[19] He also became leader of the parliamentary group in September 2014, during his leadership, the Socialist Party won a parliamentary by-election (2014) and an important mayoral by-election (Salgótarján), however the party itself was permanently pushed back to the third place by far-right Jobbik according to the opinion polls. Tóbiás did not support the full cooperation and unification of the left-wing opposition parties against Viktor Orbán, during the MSZP party congress in June 2016, he was defeated by Gyula Molnár, a former Socialist MP and mayor, who succeeded him as party chairman.[20] In February 2016, the party decided to sell its headquarters at Jókai Street for financial reasons.

Ideology[edit]

In political terms, the MSZP differentiates itself from its conservative opponents mainly in its rejection of Hungarian nationalism, the party is a member of the Progressive Alliance,[21] the Socialist International, and the Party of European Socialists (PES), and it holds a chairmanship and several vice-chairmanships in committees at the European Parliament.

Election results[edit]

National Assembly[edit]

Election Votes Seats Rank Government Leader of the
national list
#  % ±pp # +/−
1990 419,152 10.9%
33 / 386
±0 4th in opposition Rezső Nyers
1994 2,921,039 33.0% Increase21.9
209 / 386
Increase 176 1st MSZP-SZDSZ Majority Gyula Horn
1998 1,497,231 32.9% Decrease0.1
134 / 386
Decrease 75 2nd in opposition Gyula Horn
2002 2,361,997 42.0% Increase9.1
178 / 386
Increase 44 1st MSZP-SZDSZ Majority Péter Medgyessy
2006 2,336,705 43.2% Increase1.2
190 / 386
Increase 12 1st MSZP-SZDSZ Majority Ferenc Gyurcsány
2010 990,428 19.3% Decrease23.9
59 / 386
Decrease 131 2nd in opposition Attila Mesterházy
20141 1,290,806 25.57% Increase6.37
29 / 199
Decrease 30 2nd in opposition Attila Mesterházy

1As part of the Unity alliance; MSZP ran together with Together 2014 (E14), Democratic Coalition (DK), Dialogue for Hungary (PM) and Hungarian Liberal Party (MLP).

Single Member Constituencies voting consistently for MSZP[edit]

The image shows Single Member Constituencies (or SMCs) voting for MSZP in 1998, 2002, 2006 in dark red, while showing SMCs voting for MSZP in 2002 and 2006 in red, the dark red districts are considered the strongest positions of the party. Most if not all districts shown in dark red and red also voted for MSZP in 1994, a landslide victory for the party. So actually, dark red districts have an even longer uninterrupted voting history of supporting MSZP.

Consequently, MSZP SMCs won between 1998 and 2006

European Parliament[edit]

Election year # of overall votes  % of overall vote # of overall seats won +/- Notes
2004 1,054,921 34.3% (2nd)
9 / 24
2009 503,140 17.37% (2nd)
4 / 22
Decrease 5
2014 252,751 10.9% (3rd)
2 / 21
Decrease 2

Party leaders[edit]

# Image Name Entered office Left office Length of Leadership Notice
1 Nyers Rezső 1970.jpg Rezső Nyers 9 October 1989 27 May 1990 230 days
2 Gyula Horn (2007).jpg Gyula Horn 27 May 1990 5 September 1998 8 years, 101 days Prime Minister 1994-98
3 MSZP Congress July 2014-07.JPG László Kovács 5 September 1998 16 October 2004 6 years, 41 days
4 Országos kampánynyitó 2010 094.JPG István Hiller 16 October 2004 24 February 2007 2 years, 131 days
5 Gyurcsany Ferenc-mszp-2-cropped.jpg Ferenc Gyurcsány 24 February 2007 5 April 2009 2 years, 40 days Prime Minister 2004-09
6 Lendvai Ildikó 2010-02-20 (crop).JPG Ildikó Lendvai 5 April 2009 10 July 2010 1 year, 96 days
7 Mesterházy Attila 2009-12-14.JPG Attila Mesterházy 10 July 2010 29 May 2014 3 years, 323 days
Horn Gyula temetése Botka László.JPG László Botka
(interim)
31 May 2014 19 July 2014
8 Tobias Jozsef 2013-12-18.JPG József Tóbiás 19 July 2014 25 June 2016 1 year, 342 days
9 Gyula Molnár on a demonstration, 2016-10-01 (crop).jpg Gyula Molnár 25 June 2016 Incumbent 1 year, 174 days

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wolfram Nordsieck. "Parties and Elections in Europe". Retrieved 14 February 2015. 
  2. ^ Freedom House (24 December 2013). Nations in Transit 2013: Democratization from Central Europe to Eurasia. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. pp. 255–. ISBN 978-1-4422-3119-1. 
  3. ^ Dimitri Almeida (27 April 2012). The Impact of European Integration on Political Parties: Beyond the Permissive Consensus. CRC Press. p. 71. ISBN 978-1-136-34039-0. Retrieved 14 July 2013. 
  4. ^ José Magone (26 August 2010). Contemporary European Politics: A Comparative Introduction. Routledge. p. 456. ISBN 978-0-203-84639-1. Retrieved 19 July 2013. 
  5. ^ Petr Kopecký; Peter Mair; Maria Spirova (26 July 2012). Party Patronage and Party Government in European Democracies. Oxford University Press. p. 165. ISBN 978-0-19-959937-0. 
  6. ^ Igor Guardiancich (21 August 2012). Pension Reforms in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe: From Post-Socialist Transition to the Global Financial Crisis. Routledge. p. 95. ISBN 978-1-136-22595-6. 
  7. ^ Bodan Todosijević, "The Hungarian Voter: Left–Right Dimension as a Clue to Policy Preferences" in International Political Science Review (2004), Vol 25, No. 4, p. 421
  8. ^ Bodan Todosijević"The Hungarian Voter: Left–Right Dimension as a Clue to Policy Preferences" in International Political Science Review (2004), Vol 25, No. 4, p. 424
  9. ^ Kulish, Nicholas (22 March 2009). "Hungary's Premier Offers to Resign". The New York Times. 
  10. ^ "Hungarian PM offers to step down". Retrieved 14 February 2015. 
  11. ^ Edith Balazs and Charles Forelle (31 March 2009). "Hungary's Ruling Party Picks Premier". WSJ. Retrieved 14 February 2015. 
  12. ^ "Hungary's PM resigns post as Socialist Party chairman_English_Xinhua". Retrieved 14 February 2015. 
  13. ^ "Mesterházy lett az MSZP elnöke". VG. Retrieved 14 February 2015. 
  14. ^ "Gyurcsány announces departure from Socialists, formation of new "Western, civic center-left" party". Politics.hu. Retrieved 14 February 2015. 
  15. ^ "Socialists to delegate PM candidate for opposition alliance". 8 January 2014. Retrieved 9 January 2014. 
  16. ^ "Egyetlen ábrán megnézheti az MSZP tragédiáját". 25 May 2014. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  17. ^ "Mesterházy: Újabb leckét kaptunk". 25 May 2014. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  18. ^ "Mesterházy lemondott az MSZP vezetéséről". 29 May 2014. Retrieved 29 May 2014. 
  19. ^ "Hungarian Socialists picks Jozsef Tobias to head party". Xinhua. July 20, 2014. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved May 30, 2015. 
  20. ^ "Elzavarták Tóbiást, Molnár Gyula az MSZP új elnöke". Index.hu. 25 June 2016. Retrieved 27 June 2016. 
  21. ^ "Participants". Retrieved 14 February 2015. 

External links[edit]