MSZP announces partial boycott of parliament

October 12, 2017

MSZP announces partial boycott of parliament
Photo: MTI/Zoltán Máthé

Bertalan Tóth (pictured), the Hungarian Socialist Party’s (MSZP) parliamentary group leader, announced on Wednesday that his party would boycott several state institutions and would stop availing itself of certain tools at its disposal as an opposition political party, although its parliamentary delegation will continue to attend parliamentary sessions.

According to Index.hu, Tóth said:

  • The party will no longer turn to the Constitutional Court, which has been stacked by Fidesz-appointed justices. Tóth said MSZP has submitted 14 cases to the court since 2014 and not a single ruling has been issued in any of them.
  • The party will no longer turn to the Office of the Presidency because János Áder “is a servant of Fidesz,” condones corruption, and signs into law unacceptable legislation.
  • Until the upcoming national election in 2018, MSZP will no longer call for parliamentary debates because Fidesz has allegedly made a mockery of the institution and there is no point to opposition parties arguing among each other.
  • The party will no longer take part in five-party discussions on grounds that the government only hosts these for theatrical purposes and any attempts for proposals are meaningless.
  • The party will be organizing mock “partial national assemblies” outside of parliament, where they will welcome local NGOs and intellectuals. The first such event will be held in Eger, where they will discuss the situation of pensioners. There will be more similar events before year’s end – in Kazincbarcika, Ajka, Szeged, Pécs – to discuss issues ranging from healthcare and employment to municipal development and EU issues.
  • The party will submit a proposal in parliament on Thursday to improve the situation of pensioners. This proposal would increase the minimum pension to HUF 50,000 (USD 180) a month, provide an extra pension check per year (commonly referred to as the 13th-month pension check), and would do away with restrictions forbidding retirees who work from receiving pension checks.
  • Beyond the aforementioned plans, MSZP’s parliamentary group does not plan on availing itself of tools afforded to them as members of parliament.

MSZP’s move follows that of the Democratic Coalition, whose MPs have boycotted the National Assembly for a year.

Csaba Molnár, an MEP and member of the Democratic Coalition, welcomed MSZP’s decision.

“It’s about time the Hungarian Socialist Party admitted that the Orbán government has hollowed out the institution of the National Assembly, which by now only serves as a stage prop for [Prime Minister] Orbán’s power,” Molnár said. “While we do think that MSZP’s decision would be complete if the party boycotted parliament as a whole, we do welcome the party moving in this direction. We owe it to the people to not play democracy with Fidesz on the ruins of the republic.”