ⓘ National Peasant Party (Hungary)

                                     

ⓘ National Peasant Party (Hungary)

The National Peasant Party was a political party in Hungary between 1939 and 1949. It was led by the writer Peter Veres. The party was revived for a short time during the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 and after the end of communism in 1989–90.

                                     

1. History

The party was established in 1939, but was only formalised as an organisation on 19 September 1944. It won 42 seats in the National Interim Assembly elections in 1944. By the following year it had 170.000 members, although it was reduced to 23 seats in the parliamentary elections that year. However, the following year the party won 36 of the 411 seats in the parliamentary elections.

For the 1949 elections it ran as part of the Communist-led Hungarian Independent Peoples Front, winning 39 seats. The adoption of a new constitution in August 1949 saw the country became a one-party state, with the NPP being merged into the Communist-led Hungarian Working Peoples Party.

Following the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, the party was revived under the name Petofi Party and served in the short-lived new government. During the transition to democracy 1989–90, members of the Peter Veres Society re-established the party under the name Hungarian Peoples Party MNP on 11 June 1989 and participated in the Opposition Round Table Talks. The MNP had high hopes regarding the first democratic elections in 1990, however they received only 0.8% of the vote. After that the presidium took the name of Hungarian Peoples Party–National Peasant Party. Shortly before the 1994 parliamentary elections, two-thirds of the membership joined the National Democratic Alliance NDSZ led by Zoltan Biro and Imre Pozsgay. The MNP–NPP was wiped out by the end of the decade.

                                     

2. Ideology

The partys main policy was land reform. It attracted support from the middle and lower classes in the countryside, as well as intellectuals in the provinces, and was most popular in eastern Hungary. It was sponsored by the Communist Party, as the Communists could attract only small support amongst rural voters. Its supporter base was sympathizing with the Hungarian Communist Party, with some of its leaders, including Ferenc Erdei and Jozsef Darvas, being closet communists.