Christian Democratic People's Party (Hungary)

Christian Democratic People's Party
Kereszténydemokrata Néppárt
Abbreviation KDNP
President Zsolt Semjén
Deputy President Péter Harrach
Miklós Seszták
Founded 13 October 1944 (1944-10-13)
Legalised 1989
Preceded by United Christian Party
Headquarters István Street out corner Dózsa György,
1072 Budapest
Youth wing Young Christian Democratic Alliance
Ideology Christian democracy[1][2]
National conservatism[3]
Social conservatism[1]

Political position Centre-right to right-wing
Religion Roman Catholicism
National affiliation Fidesz–KDNP
European affiliation European People's Party
European Parliament group European People's Party
Colors           Green and gold
Slogan Több fényt! ("More Light!")
National Assembly
16 / 199
European Parliament
(Hungarian seats)
1 / 21

The Christian Democratic People's Party (Hungarian: Kereszténydemokrata Néppárt, KDNP) is a Christian democratic[1] political party in Hungary. It is officially a coalition partner of the ruling party, Fidesz, but is in reality a satellite party of Fidesz,[4][5] and has been unable to get into the Parliament on its own since 2006. For several elections prior to the pact they had been unable to pass the election threshold of 5% of the vote. Without Fidesz, its support cannot be measured,[6][7][8] and even a leading Fidesz politician, János Lázár, stated that Fidesz doesn't consider the government to be a coalition government.[9]


The party was founded under the name of KDNP on 13 October 1944 by Hungarian Catholic statesmen, intellectuals and clergy, and was a successor to the pre-war United Christian Party.[10] Among the founders were Bishop Vilmos Apor, Béla Kovrig (president of the University of Kolozsvár), László Varga, General József Pálffy, ethnographer Sándor Bálint and political journalist István Barankovics. It was an offshoot of the Catholic Social Folk Movement (KSzN), a civil organization. At the beginning of 1945 they elected Barankovics as principal secretary.

The new KDNP enjoyed just four or five months of semi-legality towards the end of World War II. At the end of the war, the communist-dominated post-war authorities refused to legalize it or permit it to operate further. Despite attempts by Varga and Barankovics, they were refused official permission to operate and take part in elections. Some of the party's founders, including Varga, were imprisoned for some days by detachments of the Arrow Cross Party.

Meanwhile, some party members were saying that Barankovics conceded too much to the communist-influenced authorities in return for too little, and there was growing friction between two factions: the Christian socialist left wing led by Barankovics and the conservative-clerical right wing led by József Mindszenty's confidant, József Pálffy. The left wing gained increasing ascendancy in the party, and on 8 May 1945, Barankovics replaced Pálffy as president. The party changed its name to the Democratic People's Party (DNP), while a group led by Pálffy founded a new party called KDNP, which, however, failed to remain legal in an atmosphere of increasing Soviet influence. The 1947 elections saw the DNP finish second in the popular vote, winning 60 of the 411 seats.[11]

DNP was a democratic and anticommunist organisation. In 1949, Mátyás Rákosi asked Barankovics for the party's leaders to help him in the show trial against Cardinal Mindszenty, who was alreadyill in prison. Barankovics refused and, abandoning his party, escaped to Austria in an American diplomat's car. Many people followed his example; others were imprisoned by communists. The party was subsequently dissolved in January 1949.[12]

Refoundation and present

The party was refounded in 1989 with its present name. The link between the historical party and the present one is disputed, although prominent members of the original party, like László Varga, took part in its refoundation. It was part of the Hungarian National Assembly between 1990 and 1998. From 1998 on, it has been closely associated with the Hungarian party Fidesz. In 2005 Fidesz and the KDNP signed an agreement for election cooperation, a result of which the KDNP obtained seats in the National Assembly. In the 2006 elections this alliance gained strength, winning 42.0% of the list votes and 164 representatives out of 386 in the National Assembly. The party decided to form a self-contained parliamentary faction with 23 representatives. It is the third largest faction in the National Assembly and co-operates closely with the Fidesz faction. As of 2017, the party leader is Zsolt Semjén, deputy prime minister.


KDNP is a right-wing, conservative Christian party. It is well known in Hungary for its anti-gay-marriage, anti-abortion and anti-immigrant stance, and its representatives voted against the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe because it did not refer to Europe's Christian heritage (although the party doesn't consider itself Eurosceptic).[13]

KDNP has supported the severe restriction on Sunday shopping ("free Sunday", as they called) for a long time, citing Christian values. Parliament voted on the issue on December 14, 2014[14] and the law came into effect on March 15, 2015[15] (a Sunday on which shops would have been closed anyway, the day being a public holiday in Hungary). Public opinion was predominantly against the decision. Three polls done in the spring of 2015 registered an opposition of 64% (Szonda Ipsos), 62% (Medián) 59% (Tárki). By the end of May, according to a poll by Medián, 72% of those polled disliked the new law, even the majority of Fidesz-KDNP voters were against it.[16] Opposition parties and private persons tried to start a public referendum several times. By November 2015 there were 16 such attempts, but none of them were approved, for various bureaucratic reasons,[17] until in early 2016 one of these attempts, intitiated by the Hungarian Socialist Party, was finally successful. The government, rather than being forced to hold the referendum (which could have been interpreted as a huge success for the opposition party, even though the law was opposed by the majority of Fidesz voters too) lifted the ban in April 2016.[18]

Parliamentary representation

National Assembly

Election year National Assembly Government
# of
overall votes
% of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
1945 2,697,137
57.0% (#1, with FKgP)
2 / 409
1947 824,259
16.5% (#2)
60 / 411
1990 317,183
6.46% (#6)
21 / 386
1994 379,573
7.03% (#5)
22 / 386
1 MSZPSZDSZ Supermajority
1998 116,065
2.59% (#8)
0 / 386
22 FideszFKgPMDF
2002 219,029
3.9% (#5, with Centre Party)
0 / 386
2006 2,272,979
42.03% (#2, with Fidesz)
23 / 386
MSZP Minority
2010 2,706,292
52.73% (#1, with Fidesz)
36 / 386
13 Fidesz–KDNP Supermajority
2014 2,264,486
44.87% (#1, with Fidesz)
16 / 199
20 Fidesz–KDNP Supermajority
2018 2,824,206
49.27% (#1, with Fidesz)
16 / 199
0 Fidesz–KDNP Supermajority

European Parliament

Election year # of overall votes % of overall vote # of overall seats won +/- Notes
2009 1,632,309 56.36 (#1, with Fidesz)
1 / 22
2014 1,193,991 51.48 (#1, with Fidesz)
1 / 21

See also


  1. 1 2 3 Nordsieck, Wolfram (2018). "Hungary". Parties and Elections in Europe.
  2. 1 2 José Magone (26 August 2010). Contemporary European Politics: A Comparative Introduction. Routledge. pp. 456–. ISBN 978-0-203-84639-1. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  3. András Körösényi (1999). Government and Politics in Hungary. Central European University Press. pp. 31–32. ISBN 978-963-9116-76-4.
  4. Alexander Herholz (2012-02-12). "Sanctions on Hungary: What For and Why Now?".
  5. Dr. Agnes Batory (2010). "Election Briefing no. 51: Europe and the Hungarian Parliamentary Elections of April 2010" (PDF).
  6. (2010-07-21). "Nemigen mérhető a KDNP támogatottsága".
  7. Szonda Ipsos polls (2009-07-02). "Javuló Fidesz és Jobbik, stagnáló MSZP".
  8. "Interjú Harrach Péterrel az hírportálon (Interview with KDNP politician Péter Harrach)". 2011-05-13.
  9. (2011-07-18). "Lázár a KDNP-nek: "ez nem egy koalíciós kormány" (Lázár: This is not a coalition government)".
  10. Vincent E McHale (1983) Political parties of Europe, Greenwood Press, p511 ISBN 0-313-23804-9
  11. Nohlen, D & Stöver, P (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, p931 ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7
  12. Nohlen & Stöver, p911
  13. The party (in Hungarian)
  14. "Megszavazta az Országgyűlés a szabad vasárnap bevezetését".
  15. (2015-03-15). "Vasárnapi boltzár: "Annyian voltak, mint a sáskák"".
  16. (2015-06-30). "Már a Fidesz-szavazóknak is elegük van a vasárnapi zárva tartásból".
  17. (2015-11-11). "Bármi áron meg kell akadályozni, hogy népszavazás legyen a vasárnapi zárva tartásból".
  18. (2016-04-11). "Hungary's government says it has asked parliament to repeal a very unpopular law banning most retail stores from opening on Sundays".
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