Although shaken hard to its core before a founding congress, that was supposed to cement its unity, the Party of the Hungarian Coalition (SMK) seems to have overcome its leaders' personal animosities and will enter the election campaign as a single, though fragile, party.
Although the June 21 congress in the southern Slovak town of Dunajská Streda eventually approved a founding charter for the SMK, a joint party of the former three ethnic Hungarian parties, it appeared to be biting the dust just one day before, when eight top officials of the Hungarian Civic Party (MOS) resigned from their posts in protest of the other two coalition parties, Hungarian Christian Democratic Movement (MKDH) and Együttélés-Coexistence (E-C) movement, forming a single platform without previous trilateral discussions.
"The MKDH never mentioned at the coalition talks that they were interested in merging with the E-C," said László Nagy, the former MOS Chairman who, at the congress was elected the SMK Civic Platform Chairman. "The MKDH and E-C made their agreement behind our back, and in our disfavor."
But MKDH and E-C officials claimed the decision rested exclusively with the involved parties. "If I wanted to marry Gabrielle or any other lady, it's my own business," explained Béla Bugár, former MKDH Chairman and current SMK Chairman. "I wouldn't discuss it with a third party."
"[The MOS officials' resignation] was due to tensions within the MOS itself," noted Arpád Duka Zolyómi, the SMK First Deputy Chairman who hails from the E-C.
Nagy admitted that different conceptions of entering the elections had divided the MOS into two camps. Nagy's opponents had proposed a merger with the E-C back in February, while his supporters advocated individual entries of all coalition parties on an equal basis. "After the MKDH and E-C formed a joint platform, the opposition within the MOS blamed me for the failure of my conception and called on me to resign," explained Nagy.
The MOS congress delegates, however, expressed full support to all officials who submitted their resignations. "It gave me strength and a feeling that we are on the right track," said Nagy, whose post was confirmed in a secret vote.
At the congress, the SMK members agreed on a joint candidates list. Out of the expected 17 Parliamentary seats that the SMK plans to take in September, 14 will go to the MKDH-E-C platform and two to MOS representatives. According to Nagy, the last mandate is still subject to negotiations.
2. Jul 1998 at 0:00 | Ivan Remiaš