The Prime Minister of Hungary is vowing to stay on in government despite what appear to be huge losses in local elections. Partial results from the polls revealed the main opposition party, Fidesz, looked set to win 18 of 19 counties being contested and 19 out of 23 cities. But Ferenc Gyurcsany insists he has the full backing of his governing coalition of Socialists and Free Democrats. “Although I do not subscribe to the belief that these elections are a kind of referendum, one must be aware that it strongly expresses the voters’ view on Hungarian politics,” he said.
Gyurcsany’s admission that his party lied in order to win April’s general election led President Laszlo Solyom to accuse him of undermining democracy. Fidesz says the government should resign if it does badly in the ballots. At 53 percent, turnout was the highest for local elections since the former communist country returned to democracy in 1990.
The Gyurcsany crisis has triggered the biggest public demonstrations in Hungary since the fall of communism in 1989. The past two weeks have seen daily protests calling for the Prime Minister to step down.