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Factbox: Hungary Socialist PM candidate Mesterhazy

(Reuters) - Hungarian economist Attila Mesterhazy is the prime minister candidate of the ruling Socialist party in Sunday’s election. Latest opinion polls show the Socialists may come second, ahead of the far-right Jobbik but well behind center-right Fidesz.

Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai who has headed the Socialist minority government since April 2009 did not stand in the election.

Here are five facts about Mesterhazy:

* Mesterhazy, 36, is deputy chairman of the Socialist party and leader of its parliamentary group. He entered politics in 1999 as one of the founders of a new left-wing movement.

* As prime minister candidate, Mesterhazy campaigned on a pledge to rebuild the Hungarian left.

* Mesterhazy wants to modernize Hungary to enable it to react swiftly to the challenges posed by globalization. At the same time he insists on core Socialist values, such as universal access to health care and education.

* He graduated with honors from the Budapest University of Economics in 1997 and earned his doctorate two years later. He is fluent in English and Spanish. * Mesterhazy was born in the southern town of Pecs, he is married with two children.

Compiled by Gergely Szakacs