BUDAPEST, July 19 (Xinhua) -- The Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) chose Jozsef Tobias, aged 44 and a long-time party stalwart, as its chair in Budapest on Saturday in hopes that the much maligned left-wing party that has been in opposition since 2010 can get back on its feet.
Tobias was the sole nominee and received 92 percent of support at the extraordinary congress called after the previous chair, Attila Mesterhazy, resigned following double party defeats in parliamentary and European Parliament elections. With local government elections due this fall Tobias has his work cut out for him.
Tobias, who has been an MSZP member and Member of Parliament since 1998, and has held various official party posts since 2000, promised to invigorate the party and the country, calling for freedom and solidarity, and a reduction in poverty.
To make the country a better place, it needs a strong left-wing party, Tobias said, underlining that his mandate was not to establish "a rainbow coalition."
This was a referral to the fact that several left-wing parties have been established recently, and have won seats in parliament in April elections. They are currently scrambling to reach a measure of consensus since a new law will apparently make it very difficult for a divided left to do well in forthcoming Budapest municipal elections even though the strongest left-wing voter-bloc is in the capital city.
Tobias, who was deputy parliamentary group leader from 2010 to 2014, spoke of putting together a new social contract based on freedom, patriotism, and solidarity, and designed to improve life and reduce poverty. He called on all Hungarians to contribute to the writing of that contract over the next two years.
MSZP plans to work in a calm and dignified manner and restore its voters'"belief in patriotism," Tobias said.
Tobias holds a degree in human resource management and is currently studying for a law degree. His is married to Timea Raba, an actress and television personality. The couple is raising three children, one from Ms Raba's first marriage. They live in Erd, a small town just outside of Budapest.