Are you sure?

Free Democrats poised to retain seats in Parliament

The liberal Free Democrats (SZDSZ) seek to retain their seats in Hungary's next Parliament to be elected in the spring, party leader Attila Retkes told MTI in an interview published on Tuesday.

He said that the liberals, now in opposition, would be able to field candidates in all the 176 individual constituencies, and acquire 20 to 25 parliamentary mandates, mostly from national and regional lists.

At present the party, which formed a governing coalition with the Socialists from 2002 to 2008, has 19 seats in Parliament.

Retkes said the Free Democrats, whom he called the only truly liberal force in Hungary, had already chosen someone to top their national list but declined to disclose the candidate's name before January 11.

Asked about the party leaders' conflict with the parliamentary group, Retkes said that the majority of the Free Democrat MPs continued even last autumn with what he called an incorrect policy of going along to the end with the Socialists and Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai. “We no longer consider the parliamentary group as of our own,” he said.

In defiance of party leaders, most Free Democrat MPs supported Bajnai's crisis-management measures and approved the 2010 budget bill. (MTI)