The Alliance of Young Democrats (Hungarian acronym: Fidesz) was founded in Budapest during the early stages of Hungary’s transition from communism to democracy on March 30, 1988. Thirty-seven people, mostly students from the Loránd Eötvös University Department of Law and Political Sciences in Budapest, signed Fidesz’s founding declaration. Five of these signatories—Viktor Orbán, László Kövér, Tamás Deutsch, József Szájer and Zsolt Németh—currently hold senior government or parliamentary office. Prominent pro-Fidesz journalist and main organizer of the pro-government Peace March demonstrations, Zsolt Bayer, is also a founding member of the party.
Viktor Orbán has been the undisputed leader of Fidesz since the party’s foundation. He has been president of Fidesz since this office was created in 1993 for all but three years during and immediately after his first period as prime minister from 1998–2002. (László Kövér served as president of Fidesz in 2000 and 2001, Zoltán Pokorni in 2001 and 2002 and János Áder in 2002 and 2003.)
Prime Minister Orbán won unopposed reelection to the post of president of Fidesz with 99.7 percent of the 1,177 votes cast at the party’s 26th congress on December 13, 2015 (source in Hungarian) and 99.2 percent of the 1,369 votes cast at the party’s 27th congress on November 12, 2017 (source in Hungarian).
Fidesz started as a liberal party before Viktor Orbán gradually transformed it into a conservative, Christian-nationalist party between 1992 and 1998. Fidesz was a member of the Liberal International, the international federation of liberal and progressive democratic parties, from 1992 to 2000 (source in English). During this period, Orbán served as the vice-chairman of the organization (source in English).
Fidesz has been a member of the conservative, Christian-democratic European People’s Party since 2000 and has been a member of the European People’s Party political group within the European Parliament since Hungary joined the European Union in 2004.
Fidesz has won mandates in Hungary’s National Assembly in all eight general elections held in Hungary since the country’s transition to democracy in 1990. Of the eight parliamentary cycles since that time, Fidesz has been in opposition four times (1990–1994, 1994–1998, 2002–2006 and 2006–2010) and been the ruling party four times (1998–2002, 2010–2014, 2014–2018 and 2018 to present).
The party contested the first three post-communist general elections independently and the last five in electoral alliance with other parties—the Hungarian Democratic Forum (MDF) in 2002 and the Christian Democratic People’s Party (KDNP) in 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018.
Last updated: April 19, 2018.