Hungary: searching for a PM

Article published on April 1, 2009
Article published on April 1, 2009
After Gyurcsány’s announcement to step aside, the chaos in Hungarian political life is bigger day after day. News are characterized by desperate guessings and new names regarding the ’most wanted’ job in Hungary, the Prime Minister’s. Brief summarize about the most successful melodrama in the region.

The nominees were…

György Surányi, former leader of the Central Bank has showed his willingness to fill the position. He had only one condition namely to be supported by each parliamentary parties but the main opposition Fidesz couldn’t promise its achievement.

Lajos Bokros who was financial minister in the 90s and has radical plans to ride the crisis was mentioned also among the possible nominees. Altough he is the leader of the EP-list of MDF (Hungarian Democratic Forum, the other opposition party) the liberal SZDSZ said that they can imagine Bokros as a PM. Finally Bokros said no, after MSZP has announced that they do not agree with Bokros’s programme.

MSZP and SZDSZ negotiated about József Gráf as well, who is the current Minister for Agriculture. Gráf was surprised that his name turned up too and he said that the country needs an economic expert, not an agrarian one.

The historian Ferenc Glatz and the economist András Vértes didn’t take on PM’s post, mainly because of the lack of SZDSZ’s support. Moreover, László Békési, member of the Reform Alliance said: „A serious person does not undertake this role.”

And the (current) winner is…

Gordon Bajnai is member of the government since 2006. He is the current Minister of Local Government and Regional Development and he is responsible for the allocation of EU funds and subsidies as well. Bajnai said he has an exact programme that „will be painful”, and added: „amputation is a must”. There are only rumours and guessings about the way what Bajnai will choose to ride the crises. The minister said that thanks to the restrictions the country will save between 300 and 500 billion forints by cancelling interest subsidy after buying properties, cancelling the 13th month pension and gas-subsidies. He plans to cut down the period of maternity benefit (it will take one year long instead of current three), to freeze the family allowances and the social support as well.

The other players

After Gyurcsány announced his resignation as PM, he said he still wants to be the leader of MSZP and he was re-elected with a huge number of votes. Still on Saturday Gyurcsány renounced as leader of his party as well and MSZP will make a decision about the new leader this Sunday. Analysts’ opinion is that Gyurcsány wants to find a way to stay in the front position of MSZP with electing a person who is able to play his role. Although there are many people in MSZP who think it would be a smart decision to play down the former prime minister.

While the Hungarian parliament is almost works like a theater, citizens are very unsatisfied with this situation. According to a survey (done between 16th and 26th March by Századvég Institute) Hungarian people haven’t been so pessimistic ever before. Most of them support early elections, 67% of electors would vote for Fidesz and 22% for MSZP. Only these two parties would be able to get into the parliament. According to an other survey (28-29th March, Perspective Institute) it is also clear that people will vote for change despite nobody knows what would be the best solution. Fidesz didn’t show any programme yet, and MSZP and SZDSZ want to save their positions while suffering from finding a person who is able to handle the situation.