Hungary’s embattled Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany has called a vote of confidence in his government following local election losses that have added to the growing pressure for him to quit.
“I’m calling the vote for Friday,” he told a press conference. “The vote of confidence will be on the government’s programme to put public finances back on track, and carry out reforms and development projects in line with the euro convergence programme approved by the European Commission.”
Viktor Orban’s opposition Fidesz party took 18 out of 20 regional assemblies in Sundays election, and although it failed to win control of the capital Budapest, Orban repeated his calls for Gyurcsany to go.
“If he’s not resigned by Thursday”, Orban said. “We will call our supporters to return to the streets on Friday.“Hungarians have been calling for Gyurcsany to go after a tape recording was leaked in which he admitting lying to the electorate over economic policy in order to hang on to power. The days immediately after the revelation saw the most violent demonstrations in Hungary in the post communist era. The street protests have since quietened, but Sunday’s local election results show the underlying resentment remains.
Gyurcsany argues that his controversial speech was simply calling for a new era of economic realism – and political analyst Krystzian Szabados says that the opposition is no less guilty of lying to the public: “Of course the Prime Minister lied in the campaign but everybody knew that the election promises of the opposition were unbelievable – so to simplify the situation – a liar accuses a liar of lying.” Gyurcsany needs the support of coalition partners for his majority in Hungary’s parliament. So while he should theoretically survive Friday’s confidence vote with ease, the public mood over the next few days could prove critical.