Christian Democratic People's Party (Hungary)

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Christian Democratic People's Party
Leader Zsolt Semjén
Founded 1943, 1989 (refoundation)
Headquarters 1072 Budapest, István utca Dózsa György út sarok
Ideology Christian democracy[1][2]
National conservatism[1]
Social conservatism
Political position Centre-right
European affiliation European People's Party
International affiliation None
European Parliament group European People's Party
Colours Red, White, Green (Colours of the Hungarian flag) and Gold
National Assembly:
17 / 199
European Parliament:
1 / 21
Politics of Hungary
Political parties
Coat of arms of Hungary.svg
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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 let it slip that Fidesz doesn't consider the government to be a coalition government.[8]


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 anti-communist organisation. In 1949, Mátyás Rákosi asked Barankovics for the party's leaders to help him in the show trial against Cardinal Mindszenty, who was still in prison yet. 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]

Re-foundation and present[edit]

The party was re-founded 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 re-activation. It was part of the Parliament between 1990 and 1998. From 1998 on, it has been closely associated with the Hungarian conservative party Fidesz. In 2005 Fidesz and the KDNP signed an agreement for election cooperation, as a result of which the KDNP obtained seats in the Hungarian 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 cooperates closely with the Fidesz faction. As of 2012, the party leader is Zsolt Semjén, deputy prime minister.

Parliamentary representation[edit]

National Assembly[edit]

Election year National Assembly Government
# of
overall votes
 % of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
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]


External links[edit]