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PM Orbán revokes the net tax bill

November 1st, 2014

A few hours after the Prime Minister’s announcement that his government will not introduce the planned tax on internet use, because ”under these conditions it simply cannot be introduced,” the net swarmed with comments on his Hungarian Radio interview. Friends and foes alike admit that he is still flexible enough to react to the public mood.

On HVG online, András Hont admits that the tax would not have imposed an unbearable burden on consumers, but they interpreted it as an intrusion into their private spheres. Just as they did when the ‘Great Hungarian Reformer’, former leftist premier Ferenc Gyurcsány wanted to introduce tuition fees and doctors’ fees back in 2008. Mr Gyurcsány insisted on his project and thus produced a two thirds Fidesz majority in Parliament. “Thanks a lot”, he adds bitterly. Mr Orbán, on the other hand, cleverly retreated, because „unfortunately”, Hont remarks, he knows how to stay in power.

 On Jobbegyenes, Bálint Bazsó believes the Internet tax story shows that Mr Orbán “is not at home in the world of today’s young generations”. Nevertheless he was wise enough to take a step back, which proves that he still understands and knows how to handle politics.

On Cink.hu, Albert Gazda dismisses widespread conspiracy theories according to which the Internet tax was just a manoeuvre to divert attention from western criticism of government practices in Hungary. He believes it was a simple mistake, due to the fact that politicians are no better than the average citizen in assessing what they have to do. The Prime Minister has shown that despite his image as  a stubborn politician, he is  able to retreat, as he has done several times in the past. The novelty in this case is that he has retreated not under pressure from political or international heavyweights. He did so because so many people took to the streets. “And that is good news,” Gazda concludes.

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