Tackling the worst economic mess in almost two decades is the challenge confronting the man set to become Hungary’s next prime minister.
Gordon Bajnai, the country’s economy minister for the last year claims he is aware of the problem, pledging ‘immediate and painful’ spending cuts. The political independent politician has the support of Hungary’s ruling parties, taking over from the deeply unpopular socialist prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsany who leaves a year before a national election. Despite enjoying a parliamentary majority, sceptics expect support for Bajnai’s brutal programme to evaporate quickly, doubting his ability to push through meaningful change. At the beginning of the month, tens of thousands of protesters gathered in the centre of Budapest calling for early elections. The economy is expected to shrink by 6 percent this year after being kept afloat by an IMF bailout.