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Government under stress

August 30th, 2011

A centrist political analyst believes that the government is in for a rather challenging second year in office. It is becoming increasingly difficult to blame former left wing governments for the hardships facing the public.

Gábor Török, a popular political observer, deems the first year of the right-wing government a success, all in all, at least technically speaking. The ruling coalition has retained the bulk of its electoral support despite a series of “hard policy issues”, including filling important posts with party loyalists, re-nationalising most of the compulsory pension funds, pushing through a highly controversial media law and new constitution, and cutting back public expenditures. The opposition has failed to  profit from all that.

Nevertheless, PM Viktor Orbán and his government now face extremely tough choices, usually between two evils. The unfavourable economic environment makes it increasingly difficult to claim that the government rejects any form of financial restrictions, but to admit that it is resorting to an austerity policy would add up to a very painful confession. Similarly, the flat tax introduced last year appears more and more difficult to maintain, yet to revoke it would be tantamount to admitting a cardinal error.

Török does not suggest that the right-wing government is facing disaster this autumn, but he does believe that it will face an unprecedented challenge. Its long term future may depend on how it handles that.