Socialists reject off-loading several big state firms

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The Hungarian Socialist Party (MSzP) group does not currently support the strategy of its junior governing partner, the Alliance of Free Democrats (SzDSz), to privatize several big companies that remain in state hands, a Socialist party economic spokesman said on Thursday.

Economy Minister János Kóka, who belongs to the pro-market liberal SzDSz party, recently said that his party was in favor of selling off such silverware as postal service Magyar Posta Zrt, electricity distributor MVM Zrt and lottery company Szerencsejáték Zrt.
The idea of off-loading national coach company Volán received a less categorical rejection by Socialist spokesman György Podolák. While there are no plans on the agenda to sell the loss-making company, he hinted that the network could be broken up as part of overall reforms to Hungary's public transport system. He noted that parliament had voted in June 2005 to keep certain firms such as MVM and the Paks Nuclear Power Plant Zrt in state hands. He said the Socialists were not inclined to put forward any amendments to that legislation.
The government will press ahead over the next one or two years with selling its 1.74% stake in oil group Mol Nyrt and will also continue with privatizing national airline Malév Zrt, mortgage bank FHB Zrt, shipping company Balatoni Hajózási Zrt and porcelain maker Hollóházi Zrt.

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