Hungary’s ruling Socialist alliance has taken a slim lead in the country’s general election, according to two exit polls. However another a third survey has the conservative opposition Fidesz party narrowly in front. It is Hungary’s first parliamentary election since the country joined the EU two years ago. Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany was out early to cast his ballot.
He is hoping to retain power for his Socialist-Liberal coalition and if he does it will be the first time post-Soviet Hungary has re-elected a government. The opposition is led by Viktor Orban who led Hungary from 1998 to 2002. He was brought to power by rural voters and he hopes they can do it again for his centre-right party. Both groups have promised tax cuts, but Hungary’s budget deficit is the biggest in Europe relative to the size of its economy. Whoever wins will have to tackle this first. A second round of voting will be held in a fortnight’s time where smaller parties could decide who’s eventually crowned king. Much could depend on the success or failure of the liberal Free Democrats and the conservative Democratic Forum to cross the 5 percent threshold and enter the new parliament.