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Slovakia beats Hungary in good-governance index developed by Fidesz allies

The Hungarian research firm Nézőpont has developed a new index to measure the standard of government by 20 indicators, and found Hungary the second best from among the Visegrád Four countries. Political scientists, however, expressed doubt that good governance can be judged scientifically. In the pilot project presented on Wednesday, Nézőpont first used the index for comparing the standard of government in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. All the four governments were judged by local analysts from the aspects of stability, social support, crisis management and deliverance on electoral promises, Gábor Takács, a Nézőpont analyst, said. Summing up the evaluation of Viktor Orban’s cabinet, Orsolya Szomszéd said that lack of an opposition alternative enabled the Fidesz-led government to maintain its stability and public support, despite its negative image in terms of crisis management and the fulfilment of electoral promises. Szomszéd listed last year’s cut in the public debt and the improving demographic trends as achievements, and mentioned recession, the EU-record rate of inflation and rising crime among drawbacks. In comparison with the Visegrad countries, the Hungarian government finished second behind the cabinet of Robert Fico in Slovakia, even if it reached the highest scores in public support (23 points), crisis management (12.5 points) and stability (23 points). In fulfilling electoral promises, however, it was placed bottom, scoring merely 7 out of 25 points. Human Resources Minister Zoltán Balog, the president of co-organiser foundation, qualified it as the biggest achievement that the government had radically reformed major systems, such as public administration, health care and education, and downsized parliament and local councils by half. These are measures that the previous governments had postponed out of fear of losing popularity, he said. Sándor Pesti, a lecturer of the Budapest ELTE University, was rather skeptical about the chance of developing an objective index for measuring the quality of a government. Tamás Kaiser of Pannon University, Veszprém, said the issue of good governance was too complex for being gauged with a scientific index. The index was developed in cooperation with the Konrad-Adenauer Stiftung, the Foundation for Civic Hungary and the Centre for European Studies.