New Head of Momentum Party in Hungary is Anna Donáth

  • 29 Jan 2024 9:03 AM
  • Hungary Matters
New Head of Momentum Party in Hungary is Anna Donáth
The Momentum party assembly elected MEP Anna Donáth head of the party on Sunday. In her speech to the assembly, Donáth said Momentum was a “liberal, freedom-loving party with an unshakeable belief in human dignity.”

She said she was proud to lead Momentum, “a community ready to serve and to stand up to those wanting to rule others, to corruption”.

“We have the task of bursting the populists’ balloon.” Regarding the local and European parliamentary elections in 2024, Donáth said Momentum would support all “acceptable” joint opposition candidates and propose a primary election where there is no agreement.

She said she was initiating talks with the opposition parties.

More About Momentum in Hungary

Momentum Movement is a centrist Hungarian political party founded in March 2017. It came to national prominence as a political association in January 2017 after organizing a petition about the Budapest bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics, calling for a public referendum on the matter.

The petition, which gathered over 266,151 signatures, was successful, but the government cancelled the Olympic bid before a referendum could have been held.

After its establishment as a political party, Momentum quickly built a national following.

Momentum party candidates appeared on the ballot in most electoral districts in the 2018 Hungarian parliamentary election, promoting the replacement of the government of Viktor Orbán and advocating a new generation of political change in the country.

The party obtained 3.06% of the votes, failed to reach the 5% threshold and did not get any seats in the National Assembly, but in the 2022 Hungarian parliamentary election it ran under the list of the United for Hungary and entered parliament for the first time with 10 MPs.

In the 2019 European Parliament election in Hungary, the party obtained 9.86% and became the third largest party in the election. Two candidates of the party – Katalin Cseh and Anna Donáth – were elected to the European Parliament.

Political positions

Momentum advocates for the replacement of the present Hungarian political elite, including the government of Viktor Orbán, with a "new breed of political community in Hungary."

The party is generally pro-European, pro-globalization, and anti-Putin, claiming that Hungary does not need to sacrifice its own interests in order to fulfil its commitments to the European Union. The party's social views are largely progressive in nature; it supports same-sex marriage, the decriminalisation of cannabis, and abortion rights.

Momentum nonetheless calls itself a centrist party and rejects classification on either side of the political spectrum. It calls for bipartisan co-operation, writing in its mission statement that Hungary "must not be divided by ideological battles, but brought together by common goals."

More about Anna Donáth:

Donáth was born on 6 April 1987 in Budapest. She is the youngest of three siblings. Her father László Donáth is a former pastor, and a former member of parliament for the Hungarian Socialist Party.

Donáth's early education was at Veres Péter High School in Békásmegyer, Budapest.

She studied sociology at the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, and migration and ethnic studies at the University of Amsterdam.

After graduating, she completed an internship at the European Commission, before returning to Hungary to become a project manager for the non-governmental organization (NGO), Menedék.

She joined Momentum Movement in 2016, and became its vice president in June 2018.

Donáth was a candidate for the centrist party in the 2018 Hungarian parliamentary election. The party did not win any seats in the election.

In December 2018, Donáth participated in a protest against the Hungarian government's new labour law dubbed by opponents as the 'slave law' which raised the overtime yearly cap for workers from 250 to 400 hours and allowed businesses three years instead of one year to pay for the overtime.

Donáth was arrested at the protest, and later released.

She was elected as a Momentum Movement (part of the Renew Europe group) Member of the European Parliament (MEP) in the 2019 European parliamentary election.
Meanwhile, Fidesz Calls on Momentum Mayor to Take Stance on EU Higher Education Programmes

Fidesz politicians have called on Tamás Soproni, the mayor of Budapest’s 6th district, to openly back or reject his Momentum party’s stance on European Union funding for higher education and research programmes.

MEP Tamás Deutsch and Balázs Norbert Kovács, the head of Fidesz’s 6th district division, said in an open letter on Sunday that, “at the shameful initiative of Momentum MEPs Anna Donáth and Katalin Cseh”, the leftist majority of the European Parliament decided to “uphold the unlawful infringement of the rights of Hungarian students, researchers and professors” as they remain excluded from EU higher education and research development programmes.

Soproni, the only Momentum member serving as a mayor and a member of the party board, should make it clear whether he stands by the “shameful and gravely discriminative stance” or rejects it, Deutsch and Kovács said.

They also called on Soproni to forego “parroting … dollar left mantras” on concerns about the rule of law.

“Supposing but not allowing that those concerns were based on fact, stripping Hungarian students, professors and researchers of participation in the Erasmus+ and Horizon programmes remains unlawful,” the open letter said.

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