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IMF held no talks with Hungary opposition leaders

The International Monetary Fund has not held negotiations with main Hungarian opposition party Fidesz, IMF representative in Hungary Iryna Ivaschenko told Reuters on Tuesday. Fidesz is widely expected to win the general election due in April.

The meeting in February of the fund's mission with Fidesz officials in Budapest was “an informal exchange of views,” she said.

The than well-publicized meeting took place on the sidelines of the IMF mission's discussions with the Hungarian authorities in February as part of the fifth review of the country's stand-by arrangement.

“We discussed our views on the economy, and also the IMF presented the global outlook,” Ivaschenko told Reuters.

The Fidesz representatives said that, if elected, their intention would be to reduce the fiscal deficit over time, she added.

“The fiscal deficit target for 2010 is still 3.8% (of GDP),” she said.

Ivaschenko's comments came after on Monday spokesman of the governing MSZP István Nyakó asked Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai help to clarify “whether Fidesz had made a secret pact with IMF on raising the fiscal deficit."MSZP would like to have information on what happened at a recent consultation between IMF representatives and Fidesz vice president Mihaly Varga, and what was the outcome of the talks, Nyakó said.

Earlier on Tuesday György Szapáry, a former MNB vice-president and a member of the Fidesz delegation that met with IMF representatives in February told MTI that Fidesz “was committed to financial stability, but we did not talk about numbers, and there was no preliminary agreement, and one could not even have been because IMF agrees with governments and not with parties.”

Nyakó's statement came after a Sunday television interview where Varga said his party is preparing the ground for renegotiating terms with the IMF if they assume power after the April elections. He said Fidesz had met officials of the International Monetary Fund and further discussions will take place if the party wins the elections. Varga also repeated Fidesz's view that Hungary's 2010 budget failed to include certain items and the shortfall will be 7.5% GDP instead of the official target of 3.8% of GDP. (MTI-ECONEWS)