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Socialists pledge to unanimously support Gyurcsány

Hungarian members of parliament in the governing Socialist Party unanimously pledged to support Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány in a confidence vote October 6. All 190 Socialist deputies agreed to support the premier and said there were no contrary suggestions during a five-hour meeting yesterday, Ildikó Lendvai, head of the party's parliamentary group, said. The deputies also back the government's program, she added. Gyurcsány, whose Socialists lost municipal elections last weekend, asked parliament yesterday to hold a vote of confidence in an attempt to fortify his backing in the face of calls for his resignation. He will be the first Hungarian premier to face such a vote since communism fell 17 years ago.

„The group in this debate and vote said yes to the program and said yes to the government,” Lendvai said at a press conference in Budapest. The largest opposition party, Fidesz, will stay away from the vote. Gyurcsány needs 193 votes, or half the total number of deputies to pass the test. The Socialists have 190 seats and the Free Democrats' Alliance, their allies, have 20. Free Democrat Chairman Gábor Kuncze yesterday predicted his party's backing. He took over as premier in October 2004 and led the Socialists to become the first party to be re-elected to power since the end of communism. The only legal and constitutional way to remove PM is through a majority vote in parliament. (Bloomberg)