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Gyurcsány may be first Hungarian politician to tell the truth

Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány is under pressure from opposition politicians and protesters to resign after saying his government had lied about the economy on a leaked tape of a party meeting. Gyurcsány, on a tape recorded in May, also said his Socialist Party had failed to act to correct shortcomings. The expletive-laden text was leaked to newspapers and broadcasters before the premier published the transcript on his Web site. The former businessman in April became the first Hungarian premier to lead his party to a second consecutive term in power since 1989. He is now seeking public backing for cuts to social spending announced since June, as Hungarians prepare to elect mayors and city councils on Oct. 1. Gyurcsány wrote on his personal Internet page that he is proud of the passion the speech shows and that it will help „face the lies and half-truths of the past 16 years.” He also claims to be the first politician in Hungary to start telling the truth. Several thousand protesters gathered outside parliament in Budapest last night, demanding cabinet resignations and new elections, according to the British Broadcasting Corp. Gyurcsány told commercial television ATV on Sunday evening that his statement that "we lied" did not refer to the overall state of the economy but was about the general lies voiced over several years. "Hungarians want to live like those in the West, but they are unwilling to adopt the western norms," he said. Gyurcsány added that he had wanted to make MPs understand that there were no other viable options but reforms. (Bloomberg, Mti)