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Socialist Congress Votes for Bertalan Tóth to Head EP List

MTI-Hungary Today 2019.02.18.

Opposition Socialist party leader Bertalan Tóth will head the party list for the European parliamentary elections. A vote was held during a party congress on Saturday, where 72 percent of participants approved the list.

Tóth will be followed by István Ujhelyi, MEP Tibor Szanyi, national board member Kata Tüttő, Independent Student Parliament representative Dániel Kalló and board member Gábor Harangozó.

Head of the women’s chapter and board member Zita Gurmai and the party’s EU expert Barnabás Mester come next. Two former European commissioners, László Andor and László Kovács, are in 9th and 10th place of the list.

Tóth said the list is not considered final because the Socialists expect other parties to join. Párbeszéd has already indicated that it would run on a joint list with the Socialists. He added that he would not take his mandate in Brussels and would not exclude the possibility of withdrawing altogether if the outcome of future consultations demanded it.

Bertalan Tóth and Frans Timmermans, European Socialist Party’s Spitzenkandidat. Photo by Márton Mónus/MTI

Socialist electorate chairwoman Ágnes Kunhalmi said this year’s EP elections would be decisive for the future of Hungary, the EU, the left wing and the Hungarian opposition as a whole.

Deputy parliamentary speaker István Hiller said the Socialists would make every effort in the EP to push for a standard wage and pension system and to scrap wage discrepancies between men and women.

He added that his party would not dismantle Hungary’s southern border fence and would never abandon border-free travel within the EU. The Socialists, he said, would not move migrants to Hungary and would scrap the law that enables “thousands of wealthy migrants” to settle in the country.

Migrants have been brought to Hungary not by us but by the government, with the residency bond scheme”

He also said the Socialists were determined to “open a new chapter after thirty years” and proposed that the congress should ask the party leader to prepare a proposal for a package of reforms by the summer of 2020.

On the featured photo: Bertalan Tóth. Photo by Márton Mónus/MTI