Thursday, August 26, 2004

Non-news: Hungarians do something unexpected

When the last Hungarian Prime Minister, Péter Medgyessy, resigned last week because of a botched government reshuffle that had involved bad-tempered sacking of ministers and equally bad-tempered threats of withdrawal from the coalition by the Free Democrats’ Alliance, it was fully expected that Péter Kiss, a senior member of the Socialist Party and Acting Prime Minister would succeed him.

Hungarians are known as being somewhat unpredictable. In this case, the Socialist Party lived up to that reputation and by a considerable vote of 453 to 166 chose the Sports Minister, who is also a business tycoon, Ferenc Csurkány to be the new Premier.

Mr Csurkány’s aide has indicated that Finance Minister, Tibor Draskovics, who is widely respected by foreign investors, will be asked to serve in the new government. We shall see how that shapes up.

At least, skeletons are less likely to come tumbling out of the new Prime Minister’s closet. As he is only 43, he is unlikely to have had a sinister Communist past, unlike Mr Medgyessy or, some years back, Gyula Horn. Perhaps that is why he was chosen.

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