Another two new parties announced in run-up to 2018 national elections

March 16, 2017

Gödöllő mayor György Gémesi

Two new political parties will be founded in Hungary leading up to the 2018 national election.

István Pukli, principal of the Blanka Teleki high school, announced Tuesday his intention to start a new party. Pukli became something of a household name two years ago when he became the face of a teacher-led movement for reforms to Hungary’s public education system (Tanitanék, or I Would Teach).

According to Pukli, the party will formally incorporate later in spring and will focus its platform on education and health-care.

The second party will be formed by Gödöllő mayor György Gémesi, who will call it New Start. The party is an offshoot of Gémesi’s 12 Points of Common Sense Revolution Facebook group.

Gémesi, who has served as Gödöllő’s mayor for seven terms, has been a vocal critic of the Orbán regime. However, according to Index.hu, he has not been as successful at generating the support of other mayors as he had hoped.

In an interview on HírTV’s Egyenesen with Olga Kálmán, Gémesi said the party’s creation would be officially announced at a press conference on Saturday, where both the party’s executive board and election steering committee will be debuted.

Together with these two new parties, Hungary’s “democratic” opposition includes the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP), Politics Can Be Different (LMP), the Democratic Coalition (DK), Együtt, Movement for a Modern Hungary (MOMA), Párbeszéd (PM), the Hungarian Liberal Party (MLP), and Momentum.

Peter Krekó, a political scientist with Political Capital, a Budapest-based think-tank and consultancy, commented: “There is a lot of dissatisfaction with the Orbán government, and opposition parties simply haven’t been able to take advantage of it. There is a need for new [political] players if the Orbán government is to be ousted.”

Little is known about the political persuasion of the two new parties, but neither Gémesi nor Pukli are considered to espouse “left-wing” politics, which, according to Krekó, may not be a problem.

“A significant portion of Hungarian voters are not ideological in the sense that they would care where these new players position themselves on the political spectrum,” Krekó said. “Voters are looking for credibility in candidates and whether the candidates are able to mobilize. In this respect, Gémesi represents consistency. His long and successful career as a mayor makes him a much more formidable politician than István Pukli.”