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Opposition Fidesz gets stronger in Hungary

Parliament

Hungary’s major opposition party has gained support from the country’s decided voters, according to a poll by Median. 58% of respondents would back the Hungarian Citizens Party (Fidesz) in the next legislative election, up four points since September.

The ruling Hungarian Socialist Party (MSzP) is second with 32%, followed by the Hungarian Democratic Forum (MDF) with 2%, and the Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDS) also with 2%. Hungarian voters renewed their National Assembly in April 2006.

The MSzP and the SzDSz secured 210 of the legislative branch’s 386 seats, securing a full term for Socialist Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány. Fidesz, led by Viktor Orbán, elected 164 lawmakers. In June 2006, Gyurcsány introduced a fiscal „austerity package” of state subsidy reductions and tax increases, aimed at lowering the country’s fiscal deficit.

In September 2006, Gyurcsány was criticized after Hungary’s state radio aired portions of an audiotape, which had been recorded in May 2006. In this he told members of the MSZP that his administration „lied throughout the past one and a half or two years” about the state of the country’s economy in order to win re-election.

The Prime Minister’s words sparked a two-week riot that threatened to end his government. On October 26, finance minister János Veres vowed to keep Hungary’s budget deficit under control until the next election, expected to take place in 2010.

Veres declared: „In the past 20 years, the state has not been transformed into a modern state. A high budget deficit has appeared cyclically at the end of each four-year term.” The finance minister promised that this time it will be different, due to a series of reforms to the health, education, pension and social welfare systems introduced by the current government. (Angus Reid Global Monitor)

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