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Veteran leader urges the MSZP to start again from scratch

May 5th, 2018

A former top Socialist politician suggests that the Socialist Party should rebuild itself as an organisation with strong grassroots throughout Hungary, if it wants to lead a successful alliance against the incumbent government.

Commenting on his party’s electoral defeat in a Népszava OpEd piece, Imre Szekeres who was among the most influential MSZP leaders from 1990 to 2010 writes that the Socialists ‘got from the electorate what they deserved’. In an effort to please urban intellectuals, they neglected both the rustbelt towns and rural Hungary. Their resulting absence from the daily life of large swathes of Hungarians, made it impossible for the MSZP to exert a commanding influence on other opposition parties, Szekeres writes. This resulted, he believes, in the refusal of other opposition parties to coalesce with the Socialists in a united opposition alliance. The MSZP should now start rebuilding itself, he suggests, just as it did in 1990 when it received only ten per cent of the popular vote. He urges Socialist MPs to spend half of their time in their constituencies in order to rebuild the party. “This will be a long detour”, Szekeres admits, “but there is no other way”.