Christian Democratic People’s Party

KDNP President Zsolt Semjén.

KDNP President Zsolt Semjén.

The Christian Democratic People’s Party (Kereszténydemokrata Néppárt, or KDNP) is the junior member of the Fidesz-led party alliance that won two-thirds super majorities in the National Assembly of Hungary in both 2010 and 2014 general elections. 

The KDNP forms independent caucuses in the National Assembly following elections, which the party has contested in alliance with Fidesz since 2006.

Roman Catholic theologian and sociologist Zsolt Semjén has served as the president of KDNP since 2003.

Roman Catholic theologian Péter Harrach has served as the chairman of KDNP’s National Assembly caucus since 2010.    

History

Count József Pálffy and associates covertly founded the anti-fascist Christian Democratic People’s Party in German-occupied Budapest on October 13, 1944, two days before the Arrow Cross government came to power in Hungary. The KDNP was established on the ideological foundations of Christian socialism that emerged in the Dual Monarchy-era Kingdom of Hungary in the 1890s under the leadership of Roman Catholic cleric and theologian Ottokár Prohászka.

KDNP ideological forefather Bishop of Székesfehérvár Ottokár Prohászka.

The ideological forefather of the KDNP: Bishop of Székesfehérvár Ottokár Prohászka.

The KDNP initially operated openly only in the expanding portions of Hungary under the authority of the Provisional National Government formed in December 1944 to govern the parts of the country that the Soviet army had liberated from Arrow Cross and German control. However, the KDNP received official authorization to function as a political party only in September 1945.

The party participated in general elections for the first time in 1947, winning 16.5 percent of the popular vote and 60 of 411 seats in the National Assembly under the name Democratic People’s Party (Demokrata Néppárt). The István Barankovics-led Democratic People’s Party was the largest party sitting in opposition to the Hungarian Communist Party-led governing coalition in the National Assembly during the 1947–1949 parliamentary cycle.

Hungarian Workers’ Party General Secretary Mátyás Rákosi forced the Democratic People’s Party to dissolve itself through threats to the security of party officials in February 1949.

The KDNP formed again during the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, though functioned for only a few days before Hungary’s reconstituted communist dictatorship compelled the party to cease operations.

Post-Communist Era

DownloadedFileThe KDNP formed for a third time in September 1989 during Hungary’s transition from communism to democracy. The party has participated in all seven National Assembly elections held in Hungary since then, the first four independently and the last three in alliance with Fidesz.

The KDNP served as the smallest party in the Hungarian Democratic Forum (MDF)-led governing coalition in the 1990–1994 parliamentary cycle after winning 21 of 386 National Assembly mandates in the 1990 general election. The party sat in opposition during the 1994–1998 parliamentary cycle along with the MDF, the Independent Smallholders’ Party (FKgP) and Fidesz after winning 22 mandates in the 1994 general election.

The KDNP failed to reach the five-percent ballot-threshold required for representation in the National Assembly in both the 1998 and 2002 general elections.

The party has gained representation in the last three parliamentary cycles in electoral alliance with Fidesz, forming independent National Assembly caucuses composed of 23 representatives in the 2006–2010 parliamentary cycle, 34 representatives in the 2010–2014 parliamentary cycle and 16 representatives in the 2014–2018 parliamentary cycle.  

The KDNP provides three of the 12 ministers in the current Orbán government: Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén; Defense Minister István Simicskó; and National Development Minister Miklós Seszták

Last updated: April 25, 2016. 

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