(MTI) – Ferenc Gyurcsany, the former Socialist prime minister who heads the Democratic Coalition (DK) party, has now again become the leader of Hungary’s left-of-centre opposition, a Fidesz official said on Saturday.
Gyurcsany is now dictating its programme which will put in danger the current government’s tax benefits, maternity support and cuts to household utility bills, Antal Rogan, leader of the Fidesz parliamentary group told a news conference.
Commenting on recent developments in talks between the opposition forces the Socialist Party, E-PM and DK, Rogan said it had become clear that Gyurcsany was now taking the initiative and it was his programme that would come out as the winner.
Gabriella Selmeczi, a Fidesz spokeswoman, told a news conference on Friday that it was clear from an interview given by Socialist MEP Zita Gurmai that the Socialists were planning to scrap the current government’s so-called Gyed-extra maternity benefits.
The left-of-centre opposition is this weekend continuing talks on how to divide individual constituencies between them on their joint list before the spring election. The Socialists and former prime minister Gordon Bajnai’s E-PM electoral alliance recently decided to expand cooperation to include other parties, Gyurcsany’s among them. It is expected that on Wednesday, the Socialists and E-PM will agree on the joint list and they will also be open to proposals put forward by Gyurcsany. The meetings are being held in a private apartment rather than political headquarters in a bid to prevent leaks.
Representatives of the parties involved told MTI that a deal is expected to be reached by the middle of next week. An earlier agreement between the Socialists and E-PM divided up the individual constituencies in a ratio of 75:31 in favour of the former. The parties have also agreed that the Socialists will name the joint candidate for prime minister.
The co-ruling Christian Democrats said in a statement on Saturday that Hungary would not be able to perform better as long as the left wing parties were occupied with themselves rather than the country as a whole.
Whatever the outcome, were the left wing to win power they would introduce austerity and their policies would end up damaging families with several children, pensioners and ordinary people, the statement said.
The Socialist Party said in a statement that should they win power, the Gyed-extra maternity benefit would be safe. In a statement, the party said they would not abolish the benefit but “improve” it instead, saying that in its current form an institution could only extend any real help by prohibiting dismissal. It added that Fidesz had abolished the Gyed-extra in 2011 before reintroducing it in 2013, thereby conceding it had made an error.
The Socialists also accused Fidesz politicians of drawing a deliberately misleading conclusion about Socialist MEP Zita Gurmai’s comments in their response.
Photo: MTI – Lajos Soós