The Hungarian Coalition Party - Magyar Koalíció Pártja (MKP) was established during a unification congress at Dunajská Streda/ Dunaszerdahely on the 21st June 1998. The party, which became renamed as Party of the Hungarian Community, regarding its political orientation is a centre-right people’s party. MKP is member of the European People’s Party since 2001.
The primary goal of MKP is to make function an effective political representation, which is active towards establishing the conditions necessary for the survival and growth of the (ethnic) Hungarians living in Slovak and of other national minorities. Other than that, it considers as a basic task to develop those regions of Slovakia where Hungarians live, and to contribute to the catching up of the regions which economically lag behind in the country. Besides its minority rights and regional development characteristics, MKP is active for the developments and well-being of the entire country. The party is a strong supporter of the European Union, but also believes that it needs reforms.
Predecessor parties to MKP
At the beginning of the so-called Velvet Revolution, on the 18th November 1989, the Hungarians in Slovakia have established the first free, non-Communist political organization, the liberal Independent Hungarian Initiative - Független Magyar Kezdeményezés (FMK). The FMK later on changed its name to Hungarian Civic Party- Magyar Polgári Kezdeményezés (MPP).
Following FMK, on the 27th February 1990, the Coexistence Political Movement-Együttélés Politikai Mozgalom (EPM), and on the 17th March 1990 the Hungarian Christian-Democratic Movement Magyar - Kereszténydemokrata Mozgalom (MKDM) were formed.
During the 1992 parliamentary elections, while the EPM and the MKDM formed a coalition and made it into the Parliament, the FMK/MPP run alone on the elections and didn’t make it. By the 1994 elections the MKDM-Együttélés-MPP coalition was formed, and became part of the Parliament as the Hungarian Coalition (Magyar Koalíció).
Just before the 1998 parliamentary elections, the three predecessor parties joined into the Hungarian Coalition Party- Magyar Koalíció Pártja (MKP). The merger into a single party, which was even earlier supported by most of the Hungarian voters in Slovakia was speeded up by the election law suggested by the anti-democratic Slovak PM, V. Mečiar, according to which from 1998 coalitions have to reach 5 per cent per member parties to make it into the Parliament. This suggestion put the Hungarian parliamentary representation into danger, the solution was a merger of previous coalition-members.
MKP since 1998 till present
1998 -2002: Hungarians in Slovakia become government forming force for the first time
The Hungarian Coalition Party achieved 15 parliamentary mandates in the 150-seats Parliament during the first elections after its formation, and it became part of the governmental coalition too. Though the party was let into the coalition with a precondition that it will not ask for the establishment of a Hungarian language university, it won’t open the issue of the Beneš-decrees, it won’t demand for ethnically-based territorial autonomy, and it will not ask for heading the Agricultural Ministry, still the governmental role of MKP visible improved the situation of Hungarians in Slovakia and of Southern Slovakia. The MKP became a reliable component with significant stabilizing effect of the first Dzurinda-government, which introduced brave economic and social reforms, and urged for European (EU) and transatlantic (NATO) integration of the country.
Pál Csáky (MKP) became deputy PM, and besides the political coordination of the coalition, he became responsible for human and minority rights, and for regional development issues. The two MKP ministers at Ministry of Construction- and Regional Development, and Environmental Ministry performed professionally well at both the places. Two state-secretary posts were also filled up by MKP, at the Ministry of Labour, Social and Family Issues, and at Education Ministry.
As MKP became a part of the government, the anti-Hungarian sentiments characteristic for the Mečiar-era significantly decreased, at the same time the party proved gradually that it is able to take reponsibility not just for the Hungarians but for the entire country. The minority rights strengthened, Hungarian officers became part of the state administration. The Mária Valéria-bridge has been built between Párkány/Štúrovo (Slovakia) and Esztergom (Hungary), the regional self-governance has strengthened, schools, kindergartens, theatres, museums, churches were renovated and built. Representatives of the Hungarians in Slovakia got into leading circles of the economic sphere. The MKP gained significant prestige at home and abroad too.
2002 -2006: being part of the success-government, co-author of reforms
During the 2002-2006 parliamentary term MKP increased its political influence (20 parliamentary seats). As part of the second Dzurinda-government, it continued with significant reform-changes, as a result of which the country stepped on the road of spectacular economic growth, and it completed the EU-accession process successfully.
Pál Csáky continued his work as a deputy-PM, and besides the earlier ministries, MKP has received the Ministry of Agriculture as well, and also six state secretarial posts. In 2002, MKP candidates got into posts of administrative prefects in districts inhabited by Hungarians, and in two administrative regions the candidate of MKP could fill the post of regional prefect.
Out of five election priorities of the MKP four could be built into the governmental program. Only about the case of post-WWII Beneš-decrees, which were based on the idea of collective guilt, MKP could not arrive to an agreement with the coalition partners. The program included the establishment of a state university with Hungarian language of conduct (got realized), the consolidation of land property issues (partially realized), the realization of the Language Charter approved in the previous period, and the improvement of the infrastructure in Southern Slovakia. In this governmental period, Southern Slovakia received financial support which it never experienced before – due to the indicators guaranteed on the basis of EU-norms.
During the 2004 elections to the European Parliament the party received two mandates (Edit Bauer, Árpád Duka Zólyomi).
2006 - 2010: as an opposition party against the nationalist steam roller
MKP could repeat its previous election results in 2006 (20 mandates, 11.68% historic peak), but continued its activities as an oppositional party. In the Parliament, Gyula Bárdos became the chief whip of MKP (similarly to the previous two election periods). During the 2009 elections to the European Parliament the party gained two representative mandates (Edit Bauer, Alajos Mészáros). In March 2007, Pál Csáky was elected as the head of MKP.
In this cycle, the situation of Hungarians in Slovakia deteriorated significantly, since the government was formed by Robert Fico-led SMER party representing anti-Hungarian politics, the Mečiar-led HZDS, and the extreme anti-Hungarian and xenophobic SNS led by Ján Slota (the so-called ”catastrophic government”). MKP tried to counter-balance the populist, anti-Hungarian governmental politics (tightening of the state language law, Hedvig Malina case, brutal police beat-up of Hungarian football fans, tightening of the citizenship law, etc.) relying on its own resources as well as request for help on international forums.
2010 – Present: from extra-parliamentary opposition towards a strong regional party
As a culmination of internal conflicts in MKP, in 2009 some of the leading party representatives left and established a new party. As a result of the split, MKP received 4.33% of the votes during the 2010 parliamentary election, and thus remained under the 5 per cent threshold necessary for getting into the Parliament. After this, the entire leadership has resigned. József Berényi has become the new party chairman.
During the March 2012 early elections MKP again didn’t make it to the Parliament. It achieved 4.28 per cent (keeping its vote bank of 110 thousand, identical to the results from two years before).
The party, which ended up in a difficult situation in 2010 has stabilized its situation and achieved significant results in all local and regional elections since 2010, also on presidential and EP-elections. In this respect, MKP is the strongest political power in Southern Slovakia, and meanwhile in 2016 it may very likely become a parliamentary party again.
As a result of the 2013 regional elections, the MKP has three deputy-heads within the regional self-governing counties (in Trnava/Nagyszombat county: József Berényi, in Bratislava/ Pozsony county: Gabriella Németh, in Kosice/ Kassa county: István Zacharias) and 40 representatives in the regional parliaments. As a result of 2014 local elections the party has 146 mayors (107 as MKP-canditates, the rest in coalition with others) and 1151 representatives in the municipal local councils (all of them MKP-candidates) all across Southern Slovakia.
During the 2014 EP-elections MKP achieved 6,53 per cent, that resulted in one representative in the European Parliament. MEP Pál Csáky is active in the European People’s Party, and is the deputy-chairman to the Petition Committee of the European Parliament.
In 2014, the party first time in its history nominated a presidential candidate. Gyula Bárdos has achieved 5.1 per cent during the first round of the election. Nomination of an independent presidential candidate of Hungarians in Slovakia meant to turn attention to their need for legal and political equality.
MKP changed its name for Party of the Hungarian Community during its September 22, 2012 congress, and during its December congress amended its charter.
Minority and regional self-governance plan of MKP (2014)
Based on the plans of predecessor parties, also considering similar initiatives of civil organizations and activists, furthermore, learning from West European functional models, and relying on the economic plan named after Gábor Baross, on 1 December 2014 MKP issued for public debate its plan on self-governing arrangement based on collective minority rights of Hungarians in Slovakia and on greater economic independence of Southern Slovakia. (The full title is: ’Institutional conditions of survival and growth of Hungarian community in Slovakia, and of economic integration of Southern Slovakia.’)
The plan suggests approval of a constitutional law, which enables establishment of minority self-governments based on personal principle in settlements of Slovakia, where the proportion of ethnic minorities doesn’t reach 50 per cent. Such self-governments could exercise their rights in the area of minority education, culture and language use. Moreover, by reorganizing the current state administration system, a region with special status could be formed from settlements where the proportion of Hungarian inhabitants is above 50 per cent. This region would have a wide range of regional development and financial competencies other than educational, cultural, and language use rights. In this new county the Hungarian and Slovak ethnic community would govern issues connected to its national/cultural identity in form of independent, parallel institutional and competency structures, meanwhile other nationalities would be given sufficient guarantees too. Inhabitants of the county would exercise those extended economic, regional development and financial competencies jointly, irrespective of their nationality, which would counter-balance the deliberate economic discrimination characteristic of Southern Slovakia for several decades.