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Representatives of junior coalition party SZDSZ – Hungarian Liberal Party voted to reelect Chairman Gábor Kuncze (55) at the party’s general meeting last Saturday.

Kuncze’s main rival Gábor Fodor (43), who promotes a change of generations among SZDSZ leaders, managed to collect close to 30% of the representatives’ votes. The third candidate, MP Zoltán Kis received 47 votes, while Kuncze got 447.

Fodor sharply criticized Kuncze’s leadership for not fighting hard enough for the positions of health, justice and finance ministers when SZDSZ formed a coalition government with Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) in 2002. “We are creating an image that we are impotent in practical policymaking and find comfort in parroting grand ideas,” said Fodor explaining that a “practical liberal” attitude is lacking from SZDSZ.

Fodor’s alternative approach, however, does not get represented in the party leadership, as none of the executive committee’s reelected 12 members come from among his supporters. Four former members of the committee – Gabriella Béki, Klára Ungár, Ferenc Wekler, and István Szent-Iványi – did not get reelected. In their places Iván Pető, Gábor Demszky, László Csőzik and Klára Sándor were appointed.

The junior coalition member also amended its founding resolutions; it changed its name to Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ) – Hungarian Liberal Party.

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