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Europe

Hungary's Prime Minister to Step Down Amid Economic Turmoil

Faced with sinking popularity and economic trials, Ferenc Gyurcsany has said he would step down from his post as Hungary's prime minister. The new government would be tasked with passing hefty budget cuts and reforms.

Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany

Tax hikes and spending cuts have hurt Gyurcsany's popularity

"I propose the formation of a new government with a new prime minister," Gyurcsany said on Saturday, March 21, at his party's congress, according to Hungarian newswire MTI.

He said he would inform the parliament on Monday and suggest a new prime minister be elected at an extraordinary meeting of his Hungarian Socialist Party, to be held in two weeks. He did not name a possible successor.

The arrangement would be a constructive vote of no confidence and would not lead to early elections.

Gyurcsany became prime minister in 2004 and was re-elected in 2006. Since then, he has struggled to maintain a parliamentary majority as economic conditions deteriorated along with his popularity.

Though Gyurcsany did manage to cut the country's budget deficit from over 9 percent of GDP in 2006 to around 3.3 percent in 2008, Hungary had to accept a $25.1-billion rescue package from the International Monetary Fund last fall to avoid a financial meltdown.

He had failed to win public support for his wider economic reforms, while tax hikes and spending cuts drove his popularity to record lows.

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