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Scenario: What next as Hungary seeks new prime minister?

  Hungary’s ruling Socialists scrambled to find a new prime minister on Thursday after the frontrunner candidate, György Surányi, pulled out of the race and two other candidates were rejected by their potential ally.

The Socialists continue talks with the Free Democrats, whose votes they need to elect a new prime minister to replace Ferenc Gyurcsány, who will step down next month to allow a new government to handle the economic crisis.

Gyurcsány plans to organize a “constructive vote of no confidence” in parliament, expected in mid-April. A Socialist party source said Mihály Patai, chief executive of UniCredit’s local unit was among the names considered.

Here’s what may happen next:

GYURCSANY STEPS ASIDE, SUCCESSOR SELECTED

Gyurcsány initiates “constructive vote of no confidence”. At least a fifth of the 386 members of parliament are needed to propose the vote in parliament.

Parliament then votes the incumbent out and a successor in, without an election. Gyurcsány’s successor must be acceptable to the Free Democrats, who have 19 seats and whose support is needed to have parliament approve the candidate.

The Free Democrats want deeper cuts in taxes and state spending to help the ailing economy. The Socialists, polling 16-17% support, may be reluctant to agree to deeper social spending cuts as job losses mount and trade unions plan protests.

GYURCSÁNY RESIGNS

If Gyurcsány formally resigns, the government’s mandate ends. If a new prime minister nominated by President László Sólyom is not approved by parliament within 40 days, Sólyom has the right to call an election.

PARLIAMENT DISSOLVES ITSELF

Parliament can also dissolve itself, with a simple majority vote. In that case, a new election must be held within 3 months. (Reuters)