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Democratic Coalition (Hungary)

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Democratic Coalition
Demokratikus Koalíció
LeaderFerenc Gyurcsány
Executive Vice PresidentCsaba Molnár
Vice Presidents
Founded22 October 2011; 12 years ago (2011-10-22)
Split fromHungarian Socialist Party
Headquarters1066 Budapest, Teréz körút 46.
NewspaperNyugati Fény[1]
Youth wingDemokratikus Lendület
TV stationDK TV
MembershipIncrease15,000 (2022)[2]
IdeologySocial democracy
Social liberalism[3][4][5]
European federalism[8]
Political positionCentre-left[9]
National affiliationUnited for Hungary
European affiliationParty of European Socialists
European Parliament groupProgressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats[10]
ColoursYellow, purple, and blue
National Assembly
16 / 199
European Parliament
4 / 21
County Assemblies
36 / 381
General Assembly of Budapest
7 / 33
Party flag

The Democratic Coalition (Hungarian: Demokratikus Koalíció, DK) is a social-liberal[11] and social-democratic[12] political party in Hungary[5] led by former Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány. Founded in 2010 as a faction within the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP), the Democratic Coalition split from the MSZP on 22 October 2011 and became a separate party.[13] It has fifteen MPs in the National Assembly and four MEPs in the European Parliament.


Within the Socialist Party

On 5 October 2010, Ferenc Gyurcsány announced to the Socialist Party (MSZP) party executive that he was founding a platform named the Democratic Coalition within the party. He stated that he would organize "a broad, open social community for 1989 Democrats", and political representation for them. The mood at the meeting was calm, but several party officials expressed disagreement with him.[14] The plan, however, pushed through.

The Democratic Coalition held its inaugural meeting at 2 p.m. in the Szent István Park in the 13th District on 22 October 2010. Meanwhile, MSZP deputy chairman András Balogh told newspaper Népszava that the party performed poorly at the elections due to several mistakes which included incompetence of Gyurcsány's while in government, the abandonment of left-wing values, complacency, and the fact that Gyurcsány was involved in corruption.[15] The former prime minister's group became the MSZP's seventh platform.

The platforms within the MSZP held a debate in May 2011 on whether the party should develop as an alliance between left-wing groups or a collective party welcoming non-leftist groups and politicians – a broader alternative to the ruling party Fidesz. The latter idea was only supported by the Democratic Coalition Platform. Representatives from all seven platforms of the party agreed that the Socialists did not need a "chieftain", an "Orbán of the Left", but a team leader. This was according to István Hiller, the head of the Social Democratic Platform, in an interview with reporters during a break of the meeting. He dismissed Gyurcsány's idea of embracing liberal and conservative trends, stating that Gyurcsány's model would make the party dysfunctional.[16]

New party

On 22 October 2011, Gyurcsány announced he was leaving the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) and would set up a new parliamentary group after persuading the necessary number of lawmakers to join him. The new Democratic Coalition party was to be a "Western, Left-wing" formation with ten lawmakers. Gyurcsány announced on the first anniversary of the founding of its forerunner, the Democratic Coalition Platform. He stated that he had decided to leave the MSZP because the party had failed in its efforts to transform itself. Socialist representatives strongly condemned Gyurcsány, who had signed a pledge to stay on in the party the previous week. In his speech Gyurcsány branded the new constitution as "illegitimate" and insisted that members and heads of the independent branches of state such as the constitutional court and the public prosecutor "exclusively serve Viktor Orbán".[17]

The former Democratic Party (Demokrata Párt) changed its name to Democratic Coalition (DK) and elected Gyurcsány its leader on 6 November 2011.[18] At a press conference, Gyurcsány announced that the renewed party had elected Tamás Bauer, József Debreczeni, Csaba Molnár and Péter Niedermüller as deputy chairmen. The announcement stated that DK would be Hungary's "most democratic party" with all the members electing its officials directly at the party congress, adding that the authority of each member in the party's 12-strong presidium and the chairman itself will be virtually the same. The new party initially received over 3,800 membership applications.[19]

The Democratic Coalition was not allowed to form a new party faction until the spring after leaving the MSZP, based on the parliament's Constitutional and Procedural Committee decision on 7 November 2011. According to the parliamentary rules, any parliamentarian that leaves or is expelled from a party faction must sit as an independent candidate for six months before joining another faction.[20] However, in April 2012, ruling party Fidesz approved new House rules which required that 12 MPs – rather than 10 as per previous rules – were needed to form a faction, thus blocking DK from forming a parliamentary group. Gyurcsány described this as "petty revenge on the part of the prime minister." Csaba Molnár said they might take the matter to the Constitutional Court and European forums.[21]

Cooperation negotiations of 2014

In September 2013, the MSZP declined to sign an election deal with DK and Gábor Fodor's Hungarian Liberal Party because both parties presented excessive expectations in proportion to their electoral support. Attila Mesterházy told a forum held at the party headquarters, broadcast by commercial news channel ATV, that in order to win the next year's election, the MSZP need to win over uncertain voters. He added that the party board decided that running with Gyurcsány would keep uncertain voters away. Gyurcsány said the MSZP had instead proposed alliances of four rather than nine constituencies, all of which were impossible to win. In addition, they offered every 25th place on their party list and would have banned Gyurcsány himself from running either individually or on a list. Another request was that DK should not present a platform of its own. The party could not accept these conditions, the politician said.[22]

On 14 January 2014, centre-left opposition parties agreed to submit a joint list for the spring 2014 general election. The list was headed by MSZP leader Attila Mesterházy, the centre-left alliance's candidate for Prime Minister. Mesterházy was followed by Gordon Bajnai (Together 2014) as second and Ferenc Gyurcsány as third. Liberal leader Gábor Fodor was entered at fourth place and co-leader of the E14-PM alliance and the Dialogue for Hungary (PM). Tímea Szabó was entered at fifth place on the joint list of the MSZP, E2014-PM, DK, and Liberals. The Hungarian Liberal Party also received two additional places (56th and 58th) on the list.[23] The party eventually won 4 seats.

In the 2014 European election, DK received 9.75% of the vote,[24] and had two MEPs returned. On 26 May 2014, Csaba Molnar announced that DK had applied to join the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats.[25]

Independent performance and united opposition

The party ran alone in the 2018 parliamentary election, scoring 5.38% and electing 9 MPs in the National Assembly.

In the 2019 European election, DK did very well, scoring 16.08%, overtaking the Hungarian Socialist Party and Jobbik and becoming the leading opposition party.[26] In 2019 local election, the party had its best performance in Tatabánya and in Budapest, where 3 district mayorships were won.

In 2020, two more mayorships in Budapest were added to DK after two mayors, elected as MSZP candidates, joined Democratic Coalition. After this DK became the second largest party in General Assembly of Budapest (after Fidesz–KDNP alliance) and the largest party in opposition's coalition, which is ruling in the Budapest.

In 2020, Hungarian Liberal Party member Anett Bősz joined DK's political group in the National Assembly.

In late 2020, the party joined joint opposition list along with the Momentum Movement, MSZP, Jobbik, the Dialogue, LMP and Hungarian Liberal Party.

In 2021, the party took part in Hungarian opposition primary. In these elections DK joined forces with the Hungarian Liberal Party. This joint ticket came first by number of constituencies (32) and votes and its candidate to the Prime Minister Klára Dobrev won the first round but lost the run-off.

In October 2022, the party became an associate member of the Party of European Socialists.[27]

Ideology and international relations

Party leader and former Prime Minister of Hungary Ferenc Gyurcsány is a supporter of Third Way politics. The party platform also adopted elements of social liberalism and strongly pro-European themes. During the 2019 European Parliament election campaign, the leader of the Democratic Coalition's EP list, Klára Dobrev, announced to the press, that during her party's mandates, they would pursue to build the United States of Europe, thus making her party a European federalist as well. During the campaign, DK included several centre-left proposals in its Platform, including action against child poverty, an EU-wide minimum pension, an EU minimum wage, a new EU tax on multinational corporations and EU funds for affordable housing, thus moving to a more social democratic program.[28][29][30][31][26]

The party is a full member party of the Party of European Socialists and its MEPs are members of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D). Following the 2019 European election, the Democratic Coalition dismissed an invitation to join the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe and chose to remain in the S&D group.[32]

Election results

National Assembly

Election Leader Constituency Party list Seats +/– Status
Votes % Votes %
2014[a] Ferenc Gyurcsány 1,317,879 26.85% (#2) 1,290,806 25.57% (#2)
4 / 199
New Opposition
2018 348,176 6.33% (#4) 308,161 5.38% (#5)
9 / 199
Increase 5 Opposition
2022[b] 1,983,708 36,90% (#2) 1,947,331 34.44% (#2)
15 / 199
Increase 6 Opposition
  1. ^ Run within Unity coalition.
  2. ^ Run within United for Hungary coalition.

European Parliament

Election year European Parliament EP group
No. of
overall votes
% of
overall vote
No. of
overall seats won
2014 226,086
2 / 21
Increase 2 S&D
2019 557,081
4 / 21
Increase 2 S&D

Local elections


  1. ^
  2. ^ Facebook. 27 August 2022 ((cite web)): Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ Beáta Bakó, ed. (2022). Challenges to EU Values in Hungary: How the European Union Misunderstood the Government of Viktor Orbán. Taylor & Francis. p. 187.
  4. ^ Paul Lendvai, ed. (2012). Hungary: Between Democracy and Authoritarianism. Hurst Publishers. p. 248. ISBN 9781849041966. The former Prime Minister and nine other Socialist MPs broke with the MSzP and on 22 October 2011 set up a new left-liberal party called the Democratic Coalition.
  5. ^ a b Nordsieck, Wolfram (2018). "Hungary". Parties and Elections in Europe.
  6. ^ "Orbán fights for his political life". Futurity. 14 February 2022. Retrieved 12 February 2023. United for Hungary – a broad coalition including the far-right Jobbik party as well as the progressive Democratic Coalition – has put partisanship aside in a bid to send Orbán packing.
  7. ^ Bede, Ábel (4 April 2018). "Corruption and populism: Hungary's road to the elections of 2018". Palatinate.
  8. ^ Szabolcs, Dull (26 February 2019). "Dobrev Klára: Az Európai Egyesült Államokat fogjuk építeni".
  9. ^ "Hungary: anti-Orbán alliance leads ruling party in 2022 election poll". The Guardian. 28 October 2021. Retrieved 12 February 2023. He defeated Klára Dobrev of the centre-left Democratic Coalition in an opposition primary this month. She has since pledged to support him in a "coalition of the clean" intended to clamp down on corruption and bridge social divisions.
  10. ^ "List of MEPs".
  11. ^ Ulf Hedetoft (2020). Paradoxes of Populism: Troubles of the West and Nationalism's Second Coming. Anthem Press. p. 133. ISBN 978-1-78527-216-5.
  12. ^ Miklós Sebők; Zsolt Boda, eds. (2021). "Appendices". Policy Agendas in Autocracy, and Hybrid Regimes: The Case of Hungary. Springer. p. 286. ISBN 978-3-030-73223-3.
  13. ^ Tom Lansford, ed. (2014). Political Handbook of the World 2014. SAGE Publications. p. 612. ISBN 978-1-4833-3327-4.
  14. ^ "Gyurcsány to form Socialist faction". Archived from the original on 23 December 2016. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
  15. ^ "Gyurcsány's new faction forms today". Archived from the original on 23 December 2016. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
  16. ^ "Socialist platforms discuss future strategy". Archived from the original on 23 December 2016. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
  17. ^ "Gyurcsány announces departure from the MSZP, formation of new "Western, civic center-left" party". Archived from the original on 14 February 2015. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
  18. ^ Tom Lansford, ed. (2015). Political Handbook of the World 2015. SAGE Publications. p. 2651. ISBN 978-1-4833-7155-9.
  19. ^ "New Democratic Coalition party officially elects former PM Gyurcsány as first leader". Archived from the original on 3 September 2017. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
  20. ^ "Parliamentary committee tells Gyurcsány to wait until April to form new faction". Archived from the original on 3 September 2017. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
  21. ^ "Parliamentary caucus rule change deals new blow to party of former PM Gyurcsány". Archived from the original on 23 December 2016. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  22. ^ "Opposition DK-Socialist election talks break down". 10 September 2013. Archived from the original on 23 December 2016. Retrieved 12 September 2013.
  23. ^ "Opposition leaders agree on joint list for general election". 14 January 2014. Archived from the original on 15 January 2014. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
  24. ^ "Emjk".
  25. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 29 May 2014.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  26. ^ a b "Ferenc Gyurcsány's Democratic Coalition becomes largest opposition party in Hungary". Hungarian Free Press. 27 May 2019. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
  27. ^ "PES Congress welcomes new PES leadership team and four new member parties". 15 October 2022.
  28. ^ "A DK szerint az Európai Egyesült Államok programjának megvan a többsége". (in Hungarian). Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  29. ^ "Dobrev: Álmunk az Európai Egyesült Államok álma | Mandiner". (in Hungarian). 12 April 2019. Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  30. ^ Eurológus, Peszto (20 March 2019). "Az Európai Egyesült Államokkal kampányol Dobrev Klára Brüsszelben". (in Hungarian). Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  31. ^ "Rónai Sándor: Egy erősebb Európa képes lehet megvédeni tagállamait, még saját kormányukkal szemben is « Mérce". Mérce (in Hungarian). 25 May 2019. Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  32. ^ says, Máté Pál (31 May 2019). "Opposition Democratic Coalition to stay with European Socialists and Democrats". Daily News Hungary. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
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Democratic Coalition (Hungary)
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