After months of uncertainty and several embarrassing communication slip-ups, the two biggest left-wing opposition parties finally reached an agreement on Tuesday on their strategy for the 2018 national election. Democratic Coalition (DK) and the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) agreed to coordinate individual electoral districts, reports index.hu. Although each party will run its own list of candidates, there will be only one MSZP or DK candidate in each of Hungary’s 106 electoral districts.
Both parties have reportedly agreed to back the candidacy of Dialogue for Hungary (PM) co-chair and Budapest District XIV mayor Gergely Karácsony for prime minister.
Although the agreement still has to be accepted by the respective boards of the two parties, information leaked to date suggests:
- The parties have agreed on the list of the 106 individual candidates. The ratio of MSZP and DK candidates is not yet known.
- The two parties will not compete against each other in the individual electoral districts: there will be only one MSZP or DK candidate in each district.
- DK has accepted PM’s Karácsony as an official prime ministerial candidate.
- There will be no joint party list.
- Other left-wing parties such as Együtt (Together), which had previously voiced its willingness to cooperate, were left out of the deal.
MSZP was reportedly pushing for the two largest of Hungary’s so-called democratic opposition parties (excluding far-right Jobbik) to run a joint list of candidates. DK, however, insisted on running its own list but agreed not to run candidates in those electoral districts where the MSZP candidate had a better chance of defeating the governing Fidesz-KDNP candidate.
The agreement supposedly leaves open the possibility of other coordinating candidates with other, smaller opposition parties such as Együtt later in the election campaign.
Karácsony previously stated that he does not want to be included on MSZP’s list of candidates. In the absence of a joint party list, however, Karácsony cannot officially lead the opposition alliance. MSZP is reportedly opposed to running a joint list of candidates with Karácsony’s party, as this step would raise the parliamentary threshold for the two parties from five to ten percent.