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Main opposition Socialists in financial trouble

As the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) tries to position itself to lead the opposition in 2018 national elections, reports of the party's significant financial debt are causing concern about its ability to unseat governing party Fidesz.

Conservative daily Magyar Nemzet reports that MSZP had an outstanding debt of HUF 1.2 billion (USD 4.1 million) as of summer 2016, nearly three times as much as the party received in state support that year. While the party reported a HUF 300 million profit in 2015, it is reportedly in the hole to a number of private individuals, businesses, and financial institutions, including the state-owned Hungarian Development Bank (MFB), which holds an unpaid line of credit worth HUF 260 million (USD 896,000) for MSZP with which the party purchased office properties. MSZP has already sold several of those properties to pay off some of that debt to the bank.
The party is also entangled in court with various companies seeking payment for services. For example, outdoor advertising firm Hungaroplakát is seeking HUF 120 million from MSZP from their 2014 elections advertising campaign. D-NET, an IT firm, is seeking some HUF 100 million from the party for unpaid services, and another HUF 100 million is being sought by consultancy firm Vizeum Kft. As Magyar Nemzet notes, these sums are small change to a parliamentary party and MSZP disputes them all on legal grounds, but the party must devote time and resources to litigating the claims. MSZP states that several of the cases have already been settled in court.
The party's financial woes were inherited by chairman Gyula Molnár when he took control of the party from József Tóbiás last summer, and now the leader must deal with his party's internal headaches while developing a strategy for winning a key election. Last month MSZP nominated Szeged mayor László Botka to be its prime ministerial candidate in the 2018 elections. Botka, popular across party lines, aims to unite the democratic opposition to defeat Fidesz, but other opposition parties are thus far unwilling to comply with his demands that they run on a common voting list instead of as individual parties. The party, the second-largest in the country, has been neck and neck with radical right-wing party Jobbik in recent popularity polls.

Source: Magyar Nemzet, budapestbeacon.com

Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 January 2017 10:12

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