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New head of the Socialist Party elected

June 28th, 2016

After Saturday’s party congress analysts think the Socialists have a long way to go before they can successfully challenge Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz in 2018.

The MSZP is shaped by local and personal impulses, and there is no defining principle that would enable the party to plan ahead, writes László Török in Magyar Nemzet’s editorial analysing the MSZP’s chances after the change in its leadership on Saturday. Save for an extraordinary event, it is very probable that this situation will not be remedied by new president Gyula Molnár either, the author predicts.

The Congress of the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) on Saturday chose Gyula Molnár as the new president of the party (replacing embattled party head József Tóbiás see BudaPost june 8th, 2016). István Hiller became head of the party elect committee (replacing László Botka). Gyula Molnár is well-known in his party for his vision to create a closer alliance of left-wing parties for the next parliamentary election. After Saturday’s congress he said the ‘democratic side has to challenge Viktor Orbán with a single candidate, but it is too early to say how this will happen in 2018.

Molnár’s task is no less, the author argues, than making the party competitive, while braving infighting in the MSZP, while facing the hegemony of Fidesz in the state administration. At the same time, Török warns, Molnár has to find a prime ministerial candidate who can successfully challenge Viktor Orbán. Thus the party starts the race with a major handicap, Török asserts, which they cannot really hope to overcome for many years to come.

In Népszabadság István Tanács is totally pessimistic about the MSZP’s prospects. The Szeged based journalist lambasts the Mayor of his city, who was voted out as chairman of the MSZP National Council and attributes the result to what he calls Mr László Botka’s arrogant leadership style. He takes the oppostunity to compare him to the Prime Minister whom he depicts as a leader who claims to protect his country against  Brussels’ tyranny, while Mr Botka claims being a lonely democrat braving Fidesz’s dictatorship, with suspicious financial affairs are piling up around the mayor. István Tanács is not really optimistic about the prospects of the party anyway, and he does not exclude the possibility of Gyula Molnár selling out the leadership later on to party renegade Ferenc Gyurcsány.

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