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A second round of internet tax protest

October 30th, 2014

As masses of Hungarians protested against the government proposed internet tax, a centrist analyst maintains that PM Orbán has no easy solution to resolve the situation.

In an amendment to the controversial internet tax bill on Tuesday, the government proposed a cap on the planned new tax. Internet providers will have to pay maximum 700 Forints after each individual internet subscription and 5,000 Forints after business subscriptions. On the same day, about 20 thousand demonstrators took to the streets in a second round of protests in Budapest and thousands in several provincial cities (see BudaPost, October 28 and October 29) urging the government to abandon the idea of taxing the internet.

The main question is what PM Orbán will do, Gábor Török writes. The centrist analyst contends that before the mass demonstrations took place, PM Orbán could have easily retracted the internet tax bill without losing face. Such a retreat would have sent the message that the government is willing to reconsider its plans in order to find a compromise, Török believes. However, he continues, after the mass demonstrations, the government cannot easily recoil from introducing the disputed tax, since this would now be considered as defeat and a sign of weakness. But if the bill is not retracted, the internet tax will in the future be used by the opposition to mobilize against the government in novel ways, Török predicts.

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