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MSZP stuck at the crossroads

November 15th, 2014

Writing in a leading left-wing daily, a former head of the Hungarian Banking Association accuses the Socialist Party of disrespecting core social democratic principles and symbolism. His advice, he writes, is offered in the spirit of constructive criticism.

Do MSZP leaders really believe that they can preach about the burden of the poor from their luxurious cars, SUVs and motorbikes, without being found out and losing their credibility?” Péter Felcsuti asks in Népszava. The well-known investment banker contends that in order to restore their support, the MSZP should resolve its image problem. Felcsuti recalls that the upwardly mobile leaders of the Socialist Party often appear in the media wearing expensive costumes and driving luxurious vehicles. The anecdotal evidence illustrates the fact that the lifestyle and habits of MSZP leaders are a far cry from left-wing ideals, Felcsuti notes. He goes on to suggest that the Socialist Party is unlikely to find its social democratic roots as long as its leaders are driven by the philistine desire to join the wealthiest top one per cent. Core left-wing constituencies hesitate before they vote for the Socialists, because they have no clue how the Socialist politicians can afford such an expensive lifestyle, Felcsuti remarks. In conclusion he surmises that the MSZP “needs a complete spiritual, structural and personal overhaul in order to have a chance to regain its popularity”. Without such large-scale reforms, the Socialist Party will remain a “zombie party”: a post-Communist party that is no longer able to connect with everyday voters, Felcsuti concludes.

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