Alliance of Free Democrats

Alliance Of Free Democrats

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Alliance of Free Democrats

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The Alliance of Free Democrats – Hungarian Liberal Party (, abbreviation SZDSZ) is a liberal party in Hungary, led since July 2009 by Attila Retkes (and previously by Gábor Fodor). The SZDSZ is a member of the ELDR and of Liberal International. It draws its support predominantly from Budapest among the middle classes, liberal intellectuals and entrepreneurs.

Its origins lie in the illegal Democratic Opposition under the communist rule of János Kádár. This gave rise to the loosely organized Network of Free Initiatives (Szabad Kezdeményezések Hálózata) on May 1, 1988 and to the foundation of the SZDSZ as an opposition political party on November 13, 1988. The party initially suggesting a radical agenda for changing the political, social and economic system in the country. It suffered a close defeat at the first free general elections of the Third Republic in 1990, thus becoming the leading opposition force in the first free Parliament. After the fall of the conservative government at the following 1994 elections, SZDSZ surprised many by entering into a coalition with the socialist party MSZP, legal successors to the communists MSZMP. Thus began a strategic alliance between the two parties that lasted for 14 years, ending only in 2008.

The heyday of the SZDSZ may be thought to have ended when it suffered heavy losses in the 1998 general elections. In 2002, it gained only 5.5% of the vote, returning 20 deputies to Parliament. Until its withdrawal from the coalition in...
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