Budapest, December 13 (MTI) – The opposition Socialist Party (MSZP) should undergo major changes to become a credible force promoting harmony between freedom and welfare, the goal set by its founders 25 years ago, party leader Jozsef Tobias said today.

Addressing a party conference, Tobias said that in its current condition the party is unable to understand the changes under way in all fields of life, attributing the situation to the Socialists’ erroneous decisions rather than external circumstances.

“Our party played a role in Hungary’s transition to democracy a quarter of a century ago, and should do the same now,” he said.

Hungarian democracy has been destroyed by ruling Fidesz but it was also the fault of the democratic system created 25 years ago that it could be destroyed, Tobias said.

He said the Socialist were preparing for victory, not for war. They aim to disassemble the “deceitful and unfair system of a totalitarian state” as neither the left wing nor the majority of Hungarians find their place in a system based on exclusion, he added.

The Socialists should make it clear that they make no compromises to Orban’s regime as the totalitarian state has already destroyed the possibility of compromise, he added.

Starting from 2017, the Socialists will use a transparent and legitimate pre-election system to pick a prime minister candidate, he said.

Tobias criticised the green opposition LMP for making no distinction between the eight years of Socialist government and the Fidesz era. He also criticised the radical nationalist Jobbik for championing unacceptable ideologies and offering social solutions that are based on lies.

Party stalwart Laszlo Botka, the only Socialist mayor at the head of a big city, Szeged, also said that “what was good earlier is no longer sufficient”, calling for a sweeping renewal in the party’s policies, operation and style.

MSZP is “not a hopeless brand but a strong one, stronger than its policies” pursued over the recent period, he said.

Botka noted that Fidesz had lost over 900,000 voters, 40 percent of its electorate, over the past two months. He attributed the “collapse” of the ruling party to “government corruption”, citing the state monopoly on tobacco trade, the new land act, the law on savings cooperatives and the “tailoring of tax laws” to cronies.

Botka said the Socialists supported the demonstrations organised by civil groups and accepted that “for the time being, organisers do not want to see politicians on the stage”. He expressed hope, however, that they would also realise that the Socialists do not want to return to pre-2010 practices in government.

Fidesz said in a statement that Hungarians do not want a return of the left or “Gyurcsany’s parties”. Voters clearly stated three times this year that they want no part of austerity measures, failed economic policies, politicians who betray their country abroad or a country which lives off welfare, the statement said.

Radical nationalist Jobbik said people are just as tired of the Socialists as of Fidesz. Adam Mirkoczki, the party’s spokesman, said in a statement that the Socialists have “fallen to pieces” and are “a thing of the past”. They were just as much part of corruption and the robbery of privatisations seen in the past 25 years as was Fidesz, he said.

Photo: MTI


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