Hungary’s Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany has promised to use “all means necessary” to restore order, and shows no signs of being ready to leave office. This morning he gave his first press conference following last night’s violence. It is a typically tough stance from this former communist turned millionaire businessman, but this is his biggest challenge in two years in power…unless you count turning the stricken economy around.
In April he and his Socialist party, in alliance with the Liberals, won an election promising tax cuts and good times. Instead Hungarians got tax rises and austerity as the government desperately tried to cut the budget deficit ahead of Hungary’s joining the EU. The campaign was, it is now clear from the tape recordings smuggled out of cabinet whose broadcast on Sunday sparked the right’s anger, lies from start to finish, but Gyurcsany is unrepentant, and appears to be trying to spin the situation to his advantage.
‘We lied in your best interests to win and stop the opposition from derailing our EU entry’ appears to be the line, ‘and now the secret’s out let’s own up to years of similar practice by the entire political elite and put an end to it’.
Today Budapest is quiet, although scarred by the night’s disorder. A few protestors remain camped outside parliament. In a Monday snap opinion poll it appears a small majority backs him staying in office, but in next months Municipal elections his party trails.