Hungarian Socialist Party

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Hungarian Socialist Party
Magyar Szocialista Párt
Leader Attila Mesterházy
Founded 7 October 1989 (descendant of the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party)
Headquarters 1066 Budapest, VI. Jókai utca 6.
Youth wing Societas – Új Mozgalom
(Societas – New Movement)
Ideology Social democracy[1]
Political position Centre-left[2]
International affiliation Socialist International,
Progressive Alliance
European affiliation Party of European Socialists
European Parliament group Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats
Colours Red and Green
National Assembly:
29 / 199
European Parliament:
4 / 22
Politics of Hungary
Political parties
Coat of arms of Hungary.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Foreign relations

The Hungarian Socialist Party (Hungarian: Magyar Szocialista Párt, MSZP) is a social-democratic[3][4][5][6] political party in Hungary.

Foundation and 1990s[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, a factor which is still true today[citation needed]. Indeed, many key MSZP politicians[who?] were active members or held leadership positions within the MSZMP. 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 Gyurcsány, the MSZP's most internationally recognized politicians were Gyula Horn and László Kovács, currently 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).

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

Since 2010[edit]

MSZP lost the 2010 elections (won by Fidesz with a 2/3 majority), gaining only 19,3% of the votes, and 58 seats in the parliament. Currently, they are the biggest opposition party in Hungary.

Katalin Szili, a former Speaker of the National Assembly of Hungary formed the Movement of Alliance for the Future in 2010 and had own candidates in some areas in the 2010 Hungarian parliamentary election. Szili was elected to the Parliament of Hungary via the Baranya County Party list where she was chairperson of the local MSZP chapter. After the 2010 local elections, held on the 3rd of October, she founded the Social Union and became its first chairperson. As a result, she quit the Hungarian Socialist Party and their parliamentarian group. Continuing the parliamentarian work as formally independent MP.[9]

On 22 October 2011 Ferenc Gyurcsány announced he was leaving the Socialist Party and will set up a new parliamentary group after succeeding in persuading the necessary number of lawmakers to join him. The new Democratic Coalition (DK) party is to be a “Western, civic centre-left” formation with ten lawmakers, Gyurcsány announced on the first anniversary that its forerunner, the Democratic Coalition Platform, was set up.[10]

In September 2013, the MSZP declined to sign an election deal with the DK and Gábor Fodor’s Hungarian Liberal Party because both parties presented excessive expectations compared to their social support. Mesterházy told a forum held at the party headquarters, broadcast by commercial news channel ATV, that in order to win next year’s election, the Socialists need to win over uncertain voters. The party board decided that running with Gyurcsány would keep uncertain voters away, he added. Gyurcsány said the Socialists had proposed cooperation in four instead of nine constituencies, all of which were impossible to win. In addition they offered every 25th place on their party list and would have banned Gyurcsány himself from running either individually or on a list. Another request was that DK should not present a platform of its own. The party could not accept these conditions, the politician said.[11]

On 14 January 2014, centre-left opposition parties agreed to submit a joint list for the spring general election, party leaders announced. The list will be headed by MSZP leader Attila Mesterházy, who is the centre-left alliance’s candidate for Prime Minister. Mesterházy is followed by Gordon Bajnai (Together 2014) as second and Ferenc Gyurcsány as third on the list. Liberals leader Gábor Fodor will be entered at fourth place and co-leader of the E14-PM alliance and the Dialogue for Hungary (PM) Tímea Szabó at fifth place on the joint list of the MSZP, E2014-PM, DK and Liberals. The Hungarian Liberal Party also received two additional places (56th and 58th) on the list.[12] Antal Rogán, leader of the Fidesz parliamentary group, said the result of the agreement is that the Hungarian centre-left has been unable to nominate "a real prime ministerial candidate" or "present any new face," according to MTI.[13]


In political terms, the MSZP differentiates itself from its conservative opponents mainly in its rejection of nationalism. The party, along with its minority liberal partner in the governing coalition, campaigned against extending Hungarian citizenship to ethnic Hungarians living in neighboring countries in a December 5, 2004 referendum. The referendum failed due to insufficient voter turnout, but tensions remained over the fate of Hungarian minorities abroad, which in some countries have faced hostility or even a degree of persecution at the hands of majority cultures, particularly when nationalist or populist governments have been in power in those countries.[citation needed]

The party is a member of the Socialist International and the Party of European Socialists, and it holds a chairmanship and several vice-chairmanships in committees at the European Parliament.

Parliamentary representation[edit]

Election year National Assembly Government
# of
overall votes
 % of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
1990 419,152
10.9 %
33 / 386
in opposition
1994 2,921,039
33.0 %
209 / 386
Increase 176 in government
1998 1,497,231
32.9 %
134 / 386
Decrease 75 in opposition
2002 2,361,997
42.0 %
178 / 386
Increase 44 in government
2006 2,336,705
43.2 %
190 / 386
Increase 12 in government
2010 990,428
19.3 %
59 / 386
Decrease 131 in opposition
20141 1,282,337
25.69 %
29 / 199
Decrease 30 in opposition

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).



Deputy chairman:

  • Vacant

Vice chairmen:

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


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Parties and Elections in Europe: The database about parliamentary elections and political parties in Europe, by Wolfram Nordsieck
  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. pp. 71–. ISBN 978-1-136-34039-0. Retrieved 14 July 2013. 
  4. ^ José Magone (26 August 2010). Contemporary European Politics: A Comparative Introduction. Routledge. pp. 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. pp. 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. pp. 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. ^ ibid. p. 424
  9. ^ Szili Katalin kilépett az MSZP-frakcióból
  10. ^ Gyurcsány announces departure from Socialists, formation of new “Western, civic center-left” party
  11. ^ "Opposition DK-Socialist election talks break down". 2013-09-10. Retrieved 2013-09-12. 
  12. ^ "Opposition leaders agree on joint list for general election". 14 January 2014. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  13. ^ "Quotable: Antal Rogan on the opposition coalition". 14 January 2014. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 

External links[edit]