Hungary’s left-wing opposition parties agreed to submit a joint list for the spring general election, party leaders announced on Tuesday.
The list will be headed by Socialist leader Attila Mesterhazy, who is the left alliance’s candidate for prime minister.
Mesterhazy is followed by E-PM leader Gordon Bajnai and Democratic Coalition (DK) leader Ferenc Gyurcsany as third on the list.
Liberal Party leader Gabor Fodor will be entered at fourth place and co-leader of the E-PM alliance and the Dialogue for Hungary (PM) Timea Szabo at fifth place on the joint list of the Socialists, E-PM, DK and Liberals.
The next ten places will be occupied by Socialist politicians. The E-PM will have the 16th and 36th places on the joint list and five additional places between the 40th and 60th.
DK can name five more politicians in addition to Gyurcsany among the first 60 on the list.
Under the agreement, the Socialists can field candidates in 71 individual constituencies, the E-PM 22 and DK altogether 13.
Mesterhazy said after the announcement that the talks had been “intense, fast and effective”, and had focused on drafting a programme to build a “new republic” by resolving Hungary’s social, economic and democratic deficiencies.
The Socialist leader said he believed the opposition agreement had brought about “a structure in which each participant can trust each other”. The deal did not mean that any party would be forced to give up its political identity, he said. Rather, it set the conditions for the parties to act together in the interest of shared goals, he added.
Bajnai said that forming an electoral alliance was crucial to changing the government. He argued that “all democrats” had been “forced to act together” due to Hungary’s new election rules.
Gyurcsany said: “We have come to a good agreement … the goals of which we can and should work to meet with all our strength.” He interpreted the agreement as one signed by the whole democratic opposition rather than by just three parties.
Gyurcsany said he believed Mesterhazy would be “an excellent leader” of the joint list and a good prime minister. He added that signatories to the agreement would “retain their political positions but subordinate their views to the goal of replacing the government”.
Responding to a question, Bajnai admitted that there had been disputes as to whether Gyurcsany should be included on the list, but he insisted that those disputes were not of a personal nature. “Changing the government is more important than any personnel issue,” Bajnai said.
Gyurcsany said he was aware that both the Socialists and E-PM had a different position concerning some issues such as dual citizenship or a police attack on anti-government protesters in 2006, and said that his party would not raise those issues during the election campaign.