The first election to the European Parliament in Hungary was held on 13 June 2004 – a truly historic event which, however, most voters seemed to see as little more than yet another round of the same old domestic political battle. Four of the eight parties presenting lists in the election are represented in the current Parliament for the legislative 2002–06 term: the Hungarian Socialist Party and the liberal Alliance of Free Democrats in government, and Fidesz-Hungarian Civic Alliance and the Christian-democratic Hungarian Democratic Forum in opposition. These parties were widely expected to win all mandates available to Hungary in the EP, although it was doubtful whether the smallest of the four, the Democratic Forum, would be able to secure the necessary minimum share of the vote (5 per cent) for electing an MEP. Since the mid 1990s, Hungarian political life has been dominated by the confrontation of the two major parties, the Socialist Party (the socialdemocratised successor of the pre-1989 state party) and Fidesz (a right-wing catch-all party), with the two together generally receiving over 80 per cent of the votes in national elections. The Free Democrats and the Democratic Forum, the dominant forces of the democratic transition and the early 1990s, had gradually become allies and default junior coalition partners for the Socialists and Fidesz, respectively.
KeywordsMajor Party Socialist Party Social Democratic Party European Election Governing Party
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