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Gyurcsány announces departure from Socialists

Gyurcsány Ferenc - DKFerenc Gyurcsány, a former Prime Minister, has announced he is leaving the Socialist Party and will set up a new parliamentary group after succeeding in persuading the necessary number of lawmakers to join him. The new Democratic Coalition party is to be a Western-style, civic centre-left formation with ten lawmakers, Gyurcsány announced on Saturday, the first anniversary of the establishment of its forerunner, the Democratic Coalition Platform.

Gyurcsany said the reason why he had decided to leave the Socialists was because the party had failed in its efforts to transform itself.

In his hour-long speech, Gyurcsány vowed to “wake society from its nightmare,” in which community and individual well-being is “dependent on the will of the government”. Instead, he said he wanted to realise the dream in which each person was clear about his own responsibility to himself and his country.

Csaba Molnár, a one-time party group leader in parliament, will head the new group, which is to be formed this week.

The new political force is to take over the legal apparatus of an already existing one called the Democratic Party, whose name will be changed to Democratic Coalition. The reason for this procedure is that establishing an entirely new party would require the approval of the public prosecutor. Gyurcsány said that the new party group had not asked for the parliamentary speaker’s approval, adding that he trusted that their opposition would not use “underhand and dishonest” means to undermine the decision. Whereas the house rules state that lawmakers who leave a party group must be independent for a period of six months before they can join a new formation, a precedent from 1996 shows that an exception can be made. 

Gyurcsány said friends and enemies remained in his former party. But he also pledged to avoid making statements about the Socialists which could play into the hands of the Fidesz leader and prime minister, Viktor Orbán. Gyurcsány said the left wing in Hungary had been most successful when it had simultaneously represented classical left-wing values and progressiveness, at once civic and Socialist. He insisted that it was impossible to give a traditional left-wing response to a “right-wing Christian course”, and the job should be to organise a “diverse civic centre” instead. He branded the new constitution as “illegitimate”, and insisted that members and heads of the independent branches of state such as the constitutional court and the public prosecutor “exclusively serve Viktor Orbán”.

The Socialist group will be left with 49 seats once Gyurcsány’s ten quit, as against 261 seats for Fidesz, 46 for Jobbik and 15 for LMP.

The main opposition Socialist Party expects 1,500-2,000 of its members to quit and join the Democratic Coalition, daily Népszabadsag reported on Tuesday. An unnamed party stalwart told the paper that Gyurcsány and his followers are “stronger outside the party, in liberal circles, than within the party.” According to the paper, the Socialists will have to re-elect officials at several locations because the heads of local organisations (for instance in Érd near Budapest) have said they would step down to join the Democratic Coalition. Several county heads are also planning to leave the Socialists. Democratic Coalition director László Varjú told the paper that the group is supported by “a small group of more than ten people” in about half of the constituencies.
Source: MT

Last Updated on Friday, 30 August 2013 09:11

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