Senior Socialist sends guarded signals about ex-PM Gyurcsany

Budapest, November 13 (MTI) – The Socialists must reclaim the vote of the worker from the far right, and to the extent that former Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany wants to build a liberal-centrist wing, his ideas are at odds with the left-wing mainstream, the opposition party’s deputy chairman told MTI in an interview on Saturday.

Andras Balogh said Gyurcsany’s newly established platform, the Democratic Coalition, sought to open a “big front” embracing liberal and certain conservative forces.

    Balogh did not go so far as to call on Gyurcsany to quit the party, saying the party needed a figure who was able to build up the grass roots; Gyurcsany, he said, was qualified to do this. But he added that Gyurcsany would have to accept the party’s concept of renewal, which revolves around emphasising its left-wing credentials, if he wanted the party’s leadership to cooperate with him. Ominously, he called on party members who were directly responsible for the difficult situation of the Socialist party, and society in general, to quit the party.

    Many on the left bitterly blame Gyurcsany for leading the party on the slippery slope to its ignominious defeat in the April elections.

    The Socialist party led by Attila Mesterhazy, a lawyer by training who is in his mid thirties, is struggling to form a new identity which casts off a tinge of corruption and incompetence associated with its eight-year rule.

    Balogh said the party had to understand that life for the majority of ordinary workers was getting tougher. The party, he said, had allowed “extremist ideas and fascist-type extreme right-wingers to win in places where the Socialist party should have won in the elections,” adding it was now the job of Socialists to reclaim its natural base.