Hungary's socialists lose support on deficit-cutting measures


Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány's Socialist Party has lost half of its popular support three months after its election victory as plans to cut the budget deficit were made public. Support for the Socialists fell to 21% this month from 43% in the April election, while support for the largest opposition party Fidesz fell to 35% from 42%, Budapest-based polling Gallup said yesterday. Gyurcsány's plans to raise taxes and regulated prices to slash the European Union's largest budget deficit worsened people's outlooks for their finances and eroded the party's support. „Two-thirds of Hungarians expect their financial situation to deteriorate in the next year and only a fifth of them expect an improvement over the next four years, „ the pollster said in an e-mailed statement. Gyurcsány on June 10 released his detailed plans to cut the budget deficit by Ft 350 billion ($1.6 billion) this year and a further Ft 1 trillion in 2007. The measures include higher taxes and increased prices for natural gas, electricity, medicines and public transport. The Free Democrats' Alliance, the Socialists' governing partner, had 2% support from 6.3% in the election. Support for the opposition Hungarian Democratic Forum was at 3%, compared with 5% in April. (Bloomberg)


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