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Balog to step down as Hungarian superministry head

Zoltán Balog will leave his position as head of the Ministry of Human Capacities, the superministry that oversees the health and education portfolios, among others, to concentrate on chairing the Foundation for a Civic Hungary (PMA), the minister said in an interview with internet news portal published late Monday.   

Balog said he had recommended changes to the ministry to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán after the election, but that the latter said the ministry would continue to operate with the same structure and composition, state news wire MTI reported today.

"He gave me the option of continuing my work in that form or accepting another offer," he said. 

Orbán asked Balog to recommend three possible replacements.  Balog said the number of ministers in Orbánʼs new government is expected to remain the same, noting that the prime minister "likes to work with a small government," and "the government will be small now, too."

In his weekly radio interview last Friday, Orbán said that talks on forming his new government were "progressing well." The new government will have a different structure and new people, but "unchanged goals," he said, adding - in connection with the announcement that Minister for National Economy Mihály Varga would retain his cabinet post - that keeping big ministries headed by trusted individuals is a "principle worth standing by."