Socialists, Párbeszéd to form separate parliamentary groups
The opposition Socialist Party and Párbeszéd will form separate groups in the next parliament but will operate as a parliamentary alliance, leaders of the two parties said on Saturday.
The three Párbeszéd (Dialogue for Hungary) politicians, Gergely Karácsony, Tímea Szabó and Bence Tordai, will be joined by Anett Bősz of the Liberal Party and Sándor Burány, who will remain a member of the Socialist Party.
Karácsony, Párbeszéd’s leader and the opposition alliance’s former prime ministerial candidate, told a press conference during a break in a meeting of the Socialist Party’s national board, that the two parties intend to continue their cooperation in separate parliamentary groups but will work as a single alliance.
Assessing the April 8 general election, Karácsony said faith and hope should be given to people who believe in the ideal of social democracy.
He said voters opting for change, however, would have preferred the parties to form a wider alliance than they ended up doing.
The three months the two parties had to campaign together were not enough, he said. But the next four years would leave enough time to form wider alliances and make a breakthrough, he added.
Karácsony said the party groups would set up a joint coordination body headed by the current group leader of the Socialists.
Bertalan Tóth, the Socialists’ group leader, said the two groups will sign an agreement on their parliamentary alliance and “coordinate closely” on their work in parliament. They will meet to conclude the agreement on Monday, he said, adding that the coordination body will be responsible for common policy-making.
They will agree on a common stance regarding specific issues and parliamentary business in advance of voting, he added.
The other opposition parties will also make proposals to seek uniformity on certain issues, he said, adding that a proposal regarding what form this takes, such as an opposition roundtable, will be made next week.
István Hiller, head of the Socialist Party’s national board, said the board on Saturday “held its most important session and made its most important decisions since 1989”, approving fundamental changes to the party. He announced that a Socialist congress will be held on June 17.
Asked which opposition parties the alliance would cooperate with, Karacsony said they considered all democratic opposition parties as allies. Different parties whose world views are similar should show, by example, their ability to act together to represent their values.
He said pre-election pacts were only a technique and the true goal would be to find the best candidate in a democratic debate involving local communities. In the recent election, they were probably wrong not to have employed this method, he said.