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Hungarians evenly divided over Premier's apology

Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány’s apology for lying about the state of his country's economy was accepted and rejected in virtually equal measures, a poll by researcher Median showed. Some 48% said the apology was unacceptable, compared with 49% who said they were either satisfied or were never offended, according to the poll results sent by e-mail yesterday. The Budapest-based Median interviewed 1,200 Hungarians on October 7-8. Gyurcsány has faced calls for his resignation by opposition politicians and protesters since a recording of comments he made at a closed party meeting was broadcast. He survived a parliamentary confidence vote on October 6. „Forgive me,” Gyurcsány said before the confidence vote, the first faced by an elected politician in Hungary since communism ended.

The confidence vote helped Gyurcsány’s public standing, as 34% of the people now support him staying, compared with 27% before the vote, Median said. Fewer people, 12% prefer the coalition to continue with a different premier, compared with 17% previously. Support for the proposal of a caretaker government rose to 29% from 17%, while 16% of the people now want new elections, down from 21%, according to the survey. (Bloomberg)