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Matolcsy to head the National Bank?

February 16th, 2013

An independent conservative blogger calls for the resignation of the Minister of National Economy, holding him responsible for last year’s negative growth rate. A pro-government commentator welcomes the imminent departure of the present chairman of the National Bank, in early March.

On February 14th the Hungarian Central Statistical Office published the preliminary growth figures for 2012, estimating a 1.7 per cent recession over the last year, with the last quarter showing a 2.7 per cent drop in the GDP.

In Jobbegyenes, a right-of-centre opinion blog run by young authors often critical of the conservative government, Bálint Bazsó calls for György Matolcsy’s resignation. The shrinking GDP figures, he believes, show that the Minister of National Economy has not been any more successful in stimulating the economy than the former Socialist government. Bazsó contends that the current economic path is leading to a dead end. Mr. Matolcsy has failed to reach the targets he set himself in terms of growth or public debt and has failed to make the bureaucratic environment more entrepreneur-friendly, he continues. Bazsó suggests, however, that Minister Matolcsy will not take the blame for his failure, and will only leave his position if PM Orbán nominates him as the new head of the Central Bank.

In Magyar Nemzet, Anna Szabó calls the imminent departure of National Bank Chairman András Simor a welcome event. She does not speculate about his successor, but accuses Mr Simor of having been subservient to the International Monetary Fund, to the point of providing them with confidential data on the commercial banks without their written consent, as revealed by the National Audit Office earlier this week. Szabó also blames Mr Simor for keeping the banks main interest rate too high and thereby transferring hundreds of billions in surplus interest payment to commercial banks. “We don’t yet know who will be appointed to clear up the rubble, she writes, “but that task will not be easy.”

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