Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Socialist PM lies in Hungary

Lying to win an election. Sounds familiar? Well it happened in Hungary earlier this year - Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany, Leader of the Socialist Party has been caught. He lied to the public about the state of the economy before the general election in April. A recording has emerged from a closed meeting in May – a translation of what he said is:
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“There is not much choice. There is not, because we screwed up. Not a little, a lot. No European country has done something as boneheaded as we have. Evidently, we lied throughout the last year-and-a-half, two years. It was totally clear that what we are saying is not true. You cannot quote any significant government measure we can be proud of, other than at the end we managed to bring the government back from the brink. Nothing. If we have to give account to the country about what we did for four years, then what do we say”
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If only Helen Clark could admit the same - though she is proud of taxing, spending and regulating NZ - and she wont admit to lying - she hates the National Party so much that she is now hysterically raving on about some great right wing conspiracy which seems to be the National Party steering Ian Wishart, Libertarianz, lawyers, accountants and the exclusive Brethren.
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The Hungarian PM has admitted he lied, but wont resign. Many Hungarians have been protesting in Budapest. Like many politicians in the former Eastern Bloc, Ferenc Gyurcsany was a communist, having joined the Organisation of Young Communists in 1984 and working his way through the ranks before joining the successor party. So he would have been used to lying.
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His Socialist Party narrowly won the election – sounds familiar? - it had just under 1.2% more votes than the opposition Fidesz/Christian Democratic People’s Party.
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The budget deficit, you see, is 10.1% of GDP -which is enormous, with over 50% of the state budget on welfare. The Socialists campaigned on taxcuts (all very well), but refuse to cut spending, so campaigned on bankrupting the country in effect, without saying so. Inflation is at 6% and economic growth grinding down to 2% next year, compared to the far healthier Czech Republic, expected to grow at 5.5% next year. The Socialists have been borrowing and spending money to boost incomes - in other words, it is a little bit like NZ in the early 80s.
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So it will be interesting to see what happens. He has said he will crackdown on further violent protests – as some ruckus was caused on Monday night. This is understandable, and the local elections in 2 weeks will likely see the ruling Socialists losing significantly.
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Whether Hungarians tolerate this is unclear, but they will face some tough changes in coming years to revive their dying economy - which means spending cuts to get the size of the state under control, and reduce inflation.
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You'd think Hungarians might have learnt to not let politicians run their lives, especially ex.communist ones!

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