ⓘ Together (Hungary)

                                     

ⓘ Together (Hungary)

Together, officially Together – Party for a New Era, formerly also known as Together 2014, was a social-liberal political party in Hungary formed on 26 October 2012 for the 2014 Hungarian parliamentary election by Gordon Bajnai, the former Prime Minister of Hungary, to contrast Viktor Orbans government. Together was founded as a coalition of left-wing and liberal political movements and civil organizations that transformed itself into a party in March 2013.

The party had formed an electoral alliance with the Dialogue for Hungary PM and they won together four seats in the national assembly and one seat in the European Parliament in 2014. The Together dissolved after its poor performance in the 2018 parliamentary election.

                                     

1. Members

During its foundation, the coalition consisted of three civil society organizations:

  • One Million for Press Freedom Milla led by Peter Juhasz, originally a Facebook group, which formed against the Viktor Orbans cabinet Media Act on 20 December 2010. Milla officially abolished in April 2014 following an annual passivity.
  • Patriotism and Progress Association led by Gordon Bajnai. The Patriotism and Progress Public Policy Foundation formed after the 2010 elections, which prepared several professional programs and proposal for the government. The organization transformed to association in October 2012.
  • Hungarian Solidarity Movement led by Peter Konya, a social and trade union movement, based on the Polish Solidarity, formed on 4 October 2011. Solidarity left the Together party in February 2015, because disagreed with the partys internal integration and abolition of the Togethers coalition platform system which led to the formation of an unified image party.
                                     

2. History

Gordon Bajnai announced his return to politics on 23 October 2012, during the anti-government demonstration of the One Million for Press Freedom Milla. On the protest, he called for an anti-Orban coalition so as to form a supermajority in Parliament with the help of which the changes done by Orbans ruling party, Fidesz could be undone.

In his speech, Bajnai repeatedly used a variant of the term, when he proclaimed his support for such a "cooperation between hopeful left-wingers, disappointed rightwingers, politically abandoned free-thinkers and committed Greens" that his organization along with two other civilian body named Together 2014 as a reference to the date of the next general elections in Hungary. In December 2012, Bajnai announced that he intends to be a parliamentarian candidate in the 2014 general election.

According to plans, Together 2014 would have been an umbrella organization of centre-left parties, similar to the Olive Tree in Italy which established against Silvio Berlusconis right-wing coalition in 1995. However Politics Can Be Different LMP had rejected the cooperation in November 2012 and January 2013, and the Hungarian Socialist Party led by Attila Mesterhazy gradually took over the initiative.

The Together movement transformed itself into party on 8 March 2013, as only parties could take part in the election according to the rules. Three co-presidents were elected: Viktor Szigetvari Patriotism and Progress Association, Peter Konya Solidarity and Peter Juhasz Milla. The party was registered as "Together – Party for a New Era" because several other organizations overtaken the name "Together 2014" at the National Election Office.

On 14 January 2014, five opposition parties, including Together, entered into a coalition and formed Unity alliance. Contrary to his earlier plans, Bajnai could not reach to become joint Prime Minister candidate of the left-wing opposition since Attila Mesterhazy MSZP was appointed to that position. The Unity suffered a heavy defeat and Together won only three mandates within the alliance and was unable to form a parliamentary group. The Together–Dialogue for Hungary alliance received 7.25% of the votes in the 2014 European Parliament election and gained one seat Benedek Javor, co-leader of the Dialogue for Hungary.

Following the retirement of Gordon Bajnai in September 2014, Viktor Szigetvari became the only key leader of the party. He was elected sole president in February 2015, against Levente Papa.

On 24 September 2016, the delegate assembly decided to participate in the next parliamentary election with a separate national list. Together also announced its intention of selection of joint opposition individual candidates through primaries in each constituencies.

On 4 February 2017, Peter Juhasz was elected as the partys new leader. On the same day, Balazs Berkecz and Nora Hajdu were elected as vice-presidents, and Viktor Szigetvari as the leader of the partys National Political Council the board of the party. Since March, Juhasz urged the election cooperation of those "democratic opposition parties", which refuse both the Orban regime and the former governing left-wing parties, who represent the "world before 2010". Juhasz called his concept as "New Pole" uj Polus, with the possible participation of the Politics Can Be Different LMP, the Dialogue for Hungary PM, the Hungarian Two-tailed Dog Party MKKP and the Momentum Movement, in addition to his party. With that statement, Juhasz refused the cooperation with the Hungarian Socialist Party MSZP, the Democratic Coalition DK and the Hungarian Liberal Party MLP. According to a Median opinion poll published in July 2017, this hypothetical alliance would receive 16 percent of the vote in the next election. While the Together and the PM renewed their alliance in accordance with Juhaszs "New Pole" concept on 4 October 2017, both LMP and Momentum Movement had rejected the election cooperation with other parties.

On 23 June 2017, MP Zsuzsanna Szelenyi announced that she resigned from her position in the party leadership and quit Together, after losing the election for the party leadership in February against Peter Juhasz. She also disagreed with the new direction and method of politics, installed by Juhasz and criticized the new presidents guerrilla campaign methods and media PR campaigns and "ostentatious performances". She also said that she would retain her parliamentary mandate.

In January 2018, leaders of the party announced that Together will participate in the 2018 national election separately. Former president Viktor Szigetvari was nominated the partys candidate for the position of prime minister. The party failed to reach 5% electoral threshold, receiving 0.66 percent of the vote, albeit an individual candidate Szabolcs Szabo obtained a mandate, becoming his partys only MP. Subsequently, Szabo joined the LMP parliamentary group. According to the laws, Together had to repay the state aid of HUF 150 million to the state budget, as a result Juhasz organized a fundraising campaign. The Together ceased to exist on 2 June 2018.

                                     

3. Leadership

  • Co-presidency: Viktor Szigetvari, Peter Konya and Peter Juhasz 2013–2015
  • Peter Juhasz 2017–2018
  • Viktor Szigetvari 2015–2017
  • Leader of the alliance: Gordon Bajnai 2012–2013
                                     

4. Alliance

On 8 March 2013, the Dialogue for Hungary PM has established an electoral coalition with the Together, which was formed as a political party. Benedek Javor and Timea Szabo, co-chairs of the green party also became members of the Togethers board. The two parties registered a joint national list for the 2014 European Parliament election too. Dialogue for Hungary broke off the permanent nature of alliance between the two parties on 9 November 2014. The two parties renewed their election cooperation for the 2018 national election on 4 October 2017. However after PM politician Gergely Karacsony became the Socialist Partys prime minister-candidate too, the Together has terminated the cooperation agreement on 8 December 2017.

                                     

5. Election results

For the Hungarian Parliament:

For the European Parliament:

1 In an electoral alliance with Dialogue for Hungary, Hungarian Socialist Party, Democratic Coalition and Hungarian Liberal Party.

2 In an electoral alliance with Dialogue for Hungary PM. They gained one seat, PM politician Benedek Javor.