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Who are the candidates for party leadership at Hungarian Democratic congress

de V.O.
Vineri, 25 februarie 2011, 16:01 English | Politics

The Hungarian Democrats (UDMR), a political group which is part of the governing coalition, elects its new leadership this weekend after 18 years in which UDMR president Marko Bela stood at the helm of the group. Three candidates are trying to take his place, with Kelemen Hunor, Marko Bela's protege, a favorite to take over.

The main stake of the UDMR congress is how the future president of the party would position himself in relation with other parties. The alliance of Social Democrats (PSD) and National Liberals (PNL) have been courting UDMR to withdraw from the governing coalition, while the governing Democratic Liberals need UDMR support to stay in power. The position of UDMR towards PDL would be decisive should it come that a technocratic prime minister be pushed to replace incumbent PM Emil Boc.

The favorite to take over UDMR leadership, Kelemen Hunor, says a collaboration between his party and the Social Liberal Union of PSD and PNL is out of the question and that the agreement with PDL will stay in place. He was quoted by news agency Agerpres as saying that as long as the far-right Greater Romania Party is in any way connected with the Social Liberal Union, the prospects of UDMR collaborating with the Union were not good.

And he was quoted as saying that UDMR had no intention to leave the governing coalition. But beyond official statements, UDMR has been refusing to sign a protocol of political collaboration with PDL until 2012.

Still, should Kelemen Hunor take over the presidency of UDMR, the one to have the de facto lead of the party will be Laszlo Borbely, known to be close to PSD. Hunor has allegedly promised Borbely the position of political vice-president. The political collaboration of UDMR and PDL will be cleared after this weekend's congress.

Other candidates for the UDMR presidency are deputy Olosz Gergely and presidential aide Eckstein-Kovacs Peter. Olosz Gergely is supported by FIDESZ, the party led by Hungarian PM Viktor Orban. Eckstein-Kovacs Peter has focused on young ethnic Hungarians with a campaign launched on the Internet. He has been calling for UDMR to leave the governing coalition to avoid a risk that the Union fail to enter Parliament in 2012. He is supported by the Cluj organization of the party.

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