Attila Mesterhazy said in the interview given after the Socialists held a congress at the weekend to decide on the party’s future direction that the ruling centre-right Fidesz party would not change in the meantime.
He insisted that more and more people were now showing interest in the Socialist party’s ideas and increasingly agreeing with them, while at the same time the social space surrounding the party itself was expanding to include agreements with civil groups and unions. This meant that the Socialist party was now becoming a genuine contender as an alternative government, Mesterhazy said.
“Between two elections, the only measure that can orientate people and warn the governing parties is whose support is growing,” he said.
According to the latest Szonda Ipsos poll, the Socialists have added eight percentage points to its core base since April, though the ruling party still commands a huge lead.
At Saturday’s congress delegates asked former prime minister and party leader Ferenc Gyurcsany to withdraw his call for a congress vote on a set of proposals, including a direct election of party leadership.
Gyurcsany and his Democratic Coalition Platform wants direct elections for the party leadership and county leaders and to make the party financing more transparent with strict controls.
Mesterhazy told the congress that efforts should concentrate on building a “strong and united Left”, which he said was instrumental in replacing the “detrimental” Fidesz government.
In the Nepszava interview Mesterhazy said that the congress had managed to draw a line under many hitherto unresolved issues dividing the party.
“It has become clear that the Socialist party has defined itself as a modern, democratic, left-wing people’s party,” he said.