MSZP-P withheld own list of strongest democratic opposition candidates by electoral district

March 27, 2018

MSZP-P commissioned a list showing the strongest individual candidates, decided to withhold it
“On your feet Hungarians!” a participant in MSZP-P’s commemoration of the revolution of 1848 holds a banner with logos of the left-wing opposition parties on March 15, 2018 | Photo: Facebook/MSZP

The Hungarian Socialist Party-Dialogue (MSZP-P) electoral alliance was going to distribute a map showing which left-wing candidate has the best chance of beating the Fidesz-KDNP candidate in numerous electoral districts, reports index.hu. However, as the map contained numerous candidates MSZP-P did not wish to endorse, the campaign team decided against it.

Earlier in the campaign for the April 8 general election, left-wing print and online daily Népszava, owned by former MSZP “treasurer” László Puch, commissioned a poll measuring the popularity of the left-wing candidates in individual electoral districts. According to index.hu’s information, in the last two weeks of the campaign, MSZP-P was going to distribute the maps as a special annex of Népszava in order to help the electorate choose the strongest “democratic” candidate, but decided against it.

The reason why MSZP-P’s campaign coordinators decided to withhold the map might have to do with the fact that in some cases the strongest democratic opposition candidate is neither the MSZP nor the Democratic Coalition (DK) candidate.

According to index.hu’s information, many MSZP leaders and electoral district campaign managers only saw the results of the polls once thousands of maps had been sent to the party offices. Fearing that the map might cause yet another conflict with DK in the last days of the campaign, campaign managers decided not to distribute them.

President of MSZP’s Budapest chapter Ágnes Kunhalmi confirmed to index.hu that the maps would not be distributed in Budapest. She argued that “there is content in the Népszava publication that currently does not meet the joint standpoint of MSZP-Dialogue and DK, therefore we cannot put it out on our desks.” Kunhalmi also stated that currently in all 18 Budapest electoral districts the strongest democratic opposition candidates are those of MSZP-P and DK, at least until additional candidates withdraw.

It is not yet known whether MSZP-P would reprint and distribute the maps with updated information and, if so, how the party alliance would cover the costs of reprinting.