Hungarian Social Democratic Party

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For the "Historical" Social Democratic Party (tSZDP), see "Historical" Social Democratic Party (Hungary).
For the Hungarian Socialist Party, see Hungarian Socialist Party.
Hungarian Social Democratic Party
First leader Pál Gábor Engelmann
Last leader Schmuck Andor
Founded 7 December 1890
9 January 1989
Dissolved 26 May 2013
Succeeded by Hungarian Social Democrats' Party - Szocdemek
Headquarters 114. Pf. 709, 1535 Budapest
Ideology Social democracy, pensioners' rights
Political position Centre-left
International affiliation Socialist International
European affiliation Party of European Socialists
European Parliament group None
Colours Red
Politics of Hungary
Political parties
Coat of arms of Hungary.svg
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The Hungarian Social Democratic Party (Hungarian: Magyarorszagi Szociáldemokrata Párt, MSZDP) was a small social-democratic[1] political party in Hungary. Since 2002, the MSZDP had no longer contested elections independently at a national level and only rarely contested elections at a local level, and was widely considered to be practically defunct as an electoral force. Despite this weakness, the MSZDP retained its membership of both the Socialist International and the Party of European Socialists. Both the MSZDP and Social Democratic Party (SZDP) had laid claim to the same heritage: the Social Democratic Party which was part of a governing coalition in Hungary between 1945 and 1948, and a short period in 1956, which itself was renamed from the Hungarian Social Democratic Party, previously established in December 1890. At the party's peak, traditional areas of support have been the industrial areas of Budapest, especially Obuda, Pesterzsébet and Angyalföld. The legal status of the MSZDP is currently unclear.



Hungary as part of Austria-Hungary:

  • 1868–1890 The General Workers Association (Általános Munkásegylet)
  • 1890–1918 The Hungarian Social Democratic Party (Magyarországi Szociáldemokrata Párt) - independent party

Hungary as an independent country:

  • 1918–1939 The Hungarian Social Democratic Party (Magyarországi Szociáldemokrata Párt) - independent party
  • 1939–1948 The Social Democratic Party (Szociáldemokrata Párt) - merged with Hungarian Working Peoples Party
  • October 1956 - November 1956 The Social Democratic Party (Szociáldemokrata Párt)
  • 1989 Hungarian Social Democratic Party (Magyarországi Szociáldemokrata Párt)

Election results[edit]

Since 1990[edit]

History up to 1989[edit]

The party grew in power and influence until the First World War, which resulted in the party fracturing into pro-war and anti-war factions. The chaos which followed the war resulted in the collapse of the Dual Monarchy. The MSZDP leadership entered into government as part of an unsuccessful post-war socialist administration. Revolution and counter-revolution resulted in a brutal backlash against opposing political camps. This led to both the Red Terror and the White Terror. Many MSZDP supporters were killed during the White Terror. The entire left-wing boycotted the elections of 1920, which resulted in a right-wing victory and continued right-wing government for the inter-war period.

The MSZDP made their peace with Miklos Horthy's government in 1921 with the Bethlen-Peyer pact. More radical elements were suppressed, and trade union activity was increasingly driven underground during the 1930s. After 1939, the party became known as the SZDP, dropping the "Magyarorszagi" moniker. The environment became increasingly hostile during the Second World War and activity virtually drained to a halt. With the Nazi takeover of Hungary in 1944, the party was declared illegal. Many of the leadership were executed, with the remainder imprisoned or driven underground.

The party was a member of the Labour and Socialist International between 1923 and 1940.[2]

The MSZDP fought the election of November 1945, finishing in a strong second place. From 1945-1948, the MSZDP governed in association with the Smallholders Party. They were placed under increasing pressure to merge with the Hungarian Communist Party. Eventually, the right-wing were forcibly excluded from the MSZDP - and this allowed the party to officially join the Soviet-sponsored Hungarian Working People's Party. With the establishment of the police state, members were increasingly pressured to co-operate with the Communists. The grouping became the largest party in 1947, but by the end of 1948 the MSZDP had ceased to function independently.

The MSZDP re-emerged defiantly in the 1956 revolution. Under the leadership of Anna Kéthly, Gyula Keleman and Joseph Fischer the MSZDP took a prominent role in Imre Nagy's Provisional Government. For the first time in many years the party newspaper "Népszava" was published independently. Following the suppression of the Revolution in 1956 and 1957, the MSZDP disappeared again under state repression, and much of the leadership escaped into exile.

The gradual softening of the official government policies in Hungary in the 1970s and 1980s led to many in the governing Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party (MSZMP) being associated with reform communism. This was sometimes not easily distinguishable from social democracy.

History after the transition[edit]

In 1989 the MSZDP was re-founded, and took a prominent role in the transitional arrangements before the first elections. The MSZMP, now calling itself the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP), started with a large base of members, plenty of financial resources and a core electorate. The MSZP and MSZDP were in competition for the same left-wing support.

The transition period was marked by chaos in the newly reformed MSZDP. There were many disagreements throughout 1989 regarding the direction of the MSZDP, and a breakaway was established in November 1989 as the "Historical" Social Democratic Party (SZDP). The SZDP claimed to be the ideological successor to the "anti-communist" MSZDP of 1945-1948 and 1956. Another breakaway party also emerged in 1989 - the Independent Social Democratic Party (FSZDP). The results of the 1990 elections under the leadership of Anna Petrasovics was a huge disappointment to the MSZDP, as the reconstituted party failed to reach the 5% parliamentary threshold.

Following this defeat, the MSZDP has failed to cross the threshold into Parliament at every subsequent election. Whilst retaining its separate status, it has become even further linked to the MSZP. Its leader, László Kapolyi, was elected to Parliament in 2002 as part of a joint MSZP–MSZDP ticket. Between 2002 and 2010, he sat with the MSZP in Parliament, as a normal MSZP MP, and after 2007 he was joined by Gabor Hars, a 'defector' from the MSZP.

In 2007 and 2008, further defections from the MSZP to the MSZDP in Óbuda and Zugló resulted in some pressure to more clearly define an independent social democratic perspective to differentiate the party from the MSZP. In response to this, László Kapolyi tried to prevent further defections from joining, under pressure from the MSZP's leadership. However, pressure from the remaining membership of the MSZDP has created tensions. In November 2009, a number of local MSZDP associations made autonomous decisions to form electoral alliances with the Green Left, regardless of the MSZDP's national leadership. Due to the leadership's close ties to the MSZP, the MSZDP was unable to capitalise upon the MSZP's growing unpopularity in the run-up to the Hungarian parliamentary election, 2010, and it is doubtful that it has a membership of more than 100 active subscribers.

On its 45th Congress on October 8, 2011, Kapolyi was re-elected as chairman, and Schmuck Andor was elected as general secretary.[3]

At the 46th Congress on November 24, 2012, long serving chairman Kapolyi was not running again for re-election, Schmuck Andor was elected as his successor.[4]

On 26th May, 2013, an attempt was made to officially dissolve the MSZDP, with a small successor party established as the Hungarian Social Democrats' Party (Szocdemek) under the leadership of Schmuck Andor whilst excluding former leader László Kapolyi. The decision of the Congress has since been challenged.


Party disbanded (1948–1956)

Party disbanded (1956–1989)

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Janusz Bugajski (2002). Political Parties of Eastern Europe: A Guide to Politics in the Post-Communist Era. M.E. Sharpe. pp. 351–. ISBN 978-1-56324-676-0. Retrieved 6 February 2013. 
  2. ^ Kowalski, Werner. Geschichte der sozialistischen arbeiter-internationale: 1923 - 19. Berlin: Dt. Verl. d. Wissenschaften, 1985. p. 332
  4. ^ Schmuck Andor lett az MSZDP elnöke
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