Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany said Saturday he was open to resigning, saying a new government may be needed to address the country’s economic woes.
“If success requires that we make difficult but important decisions then we cannot flee from that,” he told his Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP), according to a video of his remarks posted on the party’s Web site. “Decisions are not about us, but about Hungary. We always have to decide what helps the country the most. “In this situation this country needs change. If I can help it that way, then this is how it has to be done,” he said. He suggested parliament meet Monday to begin discussing possible candidates to replace him, should he step down. Gyurcsany did not make any suggestions as to who might replace him. The interim successor, which parliament must agree on, should be outside of the political realm and would hold the post until the elections in 2010, he said. However, Gyurcsany also called for a vote of no-confidence against him in parliament. If he does not resign and is backed by this vote, he would remain prime minister even if the parliament had confirmed an interim appointee to the post. Hungary’s main center-right opposition party FIDESZ said they would not discuss Gyurcsany’s suggestion for Monday, and instead proposed dissolving the entire parliament. FIDESZ called for early elections for the prime minister and parliament in June. Gyurcsany, who is in his second term as the country’s premier, has faced a record-high budget deficit and a soaring unemployment rate since 2006, when he was re-elected. The global financial crisis has only aggravated the country’s problems, and Gyurcsany has had a difficult time getting measures he supports through parliament because of strong opposition efforts. Despite the possibility that Gyurcsany may resign, he was re-elected Saturday as MSZP chairman, a position he has held since 2007. Gyurcsany, 47, was first elected in 2004. He was the first prime minister to be re-elected in Hungary since the fall of communism there in 1989. He suffered a blow to his reputation in September 2006, months after he was re-elected, when a leaked audiotape surfaced, on which he was recorded telling members of his party that his government lied to Hungarians about the state of the economy. The audiotape sparked massive riots and calls for Gyurcsany’s resignation, prompting the prime minister to call for a no-confidence vote against him in parliament. In an October 2006 vote of 207 to 165, the legislative body voted to back him.