The Democratic Coalition could lose up to 200 million Forints if it fails to create its own parliamentary faction in April. A new amendment, proposed by Gergely Gulyás and János Lázár (both members of Fidesz), stipulates that only parties could have the right to create a faction that gained their own parliamentary seats at the last general election.
The amendment also stipulates that the total number of MPs needed to form a parliamentary faction should be raised to twelve instead of the present ten. (This is the number of MPs DK has at the moment). Coupled with MPs’ fees and the costs needed to maintain the party, DK could lose up to 200 million Forints until 2014. According to the Hungarian News Agency (MTI), the party of Ferenc Gyurcsány could lose 95 million Forints only this year. Another disadvantage for DK is that it will have considerably less time in the parliament, if it is to remain independent. As independents, members of DK will not be able to take part in procedural debates, or react to government policies, for that matter. The number of direct questions that can be put to ministers will also be reduced, depending on the total number of the party’s members. According to the parliamentary law, all the groups of parliamentary parties must have a seat in a parliamentary committee. At present, there are twenty permanent committees. If it had its own group, DK could delegate two members to each parliamentary committee. But, as independents, they can only have one seat. Not being a member of a parliamentary committee also means less salary for individual MPs. Both Ágnes Vadai (former chairwoman of the Committee for National Security) and János Oláh (vice president of the Committee for Sustainable Development) saw their salaries decreasing after losing their seats in their respective committees. Former prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsány announced the establishment of the Democratic Coalition in last October. Csaba Molnár, leader of the parliamentary group of the party, wrote a letter to House speaker László Kövér, pointing out that members of DK were not expelled, neither did they separate from MSZP. This means that DK could have started its work right away as a new party of the opposition, without the conditionality of having to spend six months as independent MPs. However, Attila Mesterházy, leader of the socialists, confirmed to parliament that members of DK did separate from his party. This evidently political move was enough to send DK into political exile for at least six months. Although both the parliament and the Committee for Constitutional Affairs have confirmed that DK could create its own parliamentary group when the prescribed six month were over, the proposal of Gergely Gulyás and János Lázár proves that Fidesz doesn’t really want to bother with an additional opposition party in the parliament. Ferenc Gyurcsány and his party threatened with legal action if the proposal will be accepted.