Szanyi told a press conference on Friday that he “planned to run and is determined to win the party elections”.
He said Socialist voters approved of the fact that there will be competition for the top post for the first time in eight years. Szanyi will run against Mesterhazy, the current party leader, who is in for reelection.
In 2010, Attila Mesterhazy was elected party leader without a contender, just as Ildiko Lendvai was in 2009 and Ferenc Gyurcsany in 2007.
Szanyi said his platform will be based on the idea that a Socialist party under his leadership will boast of “activity and strong views”.
The Socialist party elections will be held on March 31.
The Socialist party suffered a blow to membership last autumn when a group headed by former prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsany splintered off and formed the new party “Democratic Coalition”. After the split, party leader Attila Mesterhazy vowed to bring the Socialists badly-needed renewal, as their support level currently stands around 18 percent in polls.