Hungary. In the April parliamentary elections, socialist
leader Ferenc Gyurcsány's coalition succeeded in regaining
confidence. It was the first time a government has been
re-elected since the current democracy was born in 1990. The
coalition won 210 of Parliament's 386 seats. The largest
opposition party Fidesz took 164 seats.
During the summer, feelings between Hungary and
neighboring Slovakia swelled, after some ethnic Hungarians
in Slovakia had been attacked. Prime Minister Gyurcsány
condemned the abuses and accused Slovakia of increasing
CountryAAH, Prime Minister Gyurcsány ended up in a violent political
storm in September, when mass media revealed a tape
recording of speeches ahead of a closed party meeting.
There, the Socialist leader acknowledged that the party had
lied to voters to win the election in April. In the
electoral movement, they had, among other things, promised
tax cuts, but after the election, increases in both taxes
and gas prices and various fees were proposed. Gyurcsany's
statement aroused anger. Protest demonstrations against the
government's proposed austerity degenerate into violent
riots and clashes with riot police in Budapest. Many people
were injured. The protesters demanded Gyurcsany's
resignation, but the prime minister declared that he
intended to continue in office and threatened with harsh
measures if the violence continued. Gyurcsány eventually
apologized for the rough language he used in the recorded
speech, but he did not apologize for deliberately bringing
the voters behind the light. He also provided more measures
to reduce the large budget deficit.
President László Sólyom in October criticized Gyurcsány,
who he believed had used unacceptable means to retain power.
At the same time, Gyurcsany's Socialist Party suffered heavy
losses in the country's regional elections. The opposition
went ahead and opposition leader Viktor Orban felt that
voters had shown that they wanted Gyurcsány removed. This
one remained docked. Then the president declared that the
coalition should appoint a new leader. But Gyurcsány
requested a vote of confidence in Parliament and won it by
207 votes to 165.
In October, the fiftieth anniversary of the Budapest
uprising was brutally crushed by the Soviet military with
tens of thousands of casualties and hundreds of thousands of
people on the run. The memorial ceremonies were bordered by
hostile demonstrations, which were met by tear gas and
rubber bullets from the police. The political opposition
boycotted Prime Minister Gyurcsány's appearance and declared
that the whole country was against his "illegal government".
The European Commission called on the Hungarian government
to explain police brutality reports in the autumn