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Hungarian ministers say street protests, opposition demands could damage economy

Hungarian ministers say street protests, opposition demands could damage economy

Instability stemming from Hungarian street protests demanding the removal of the prime minister and calls from the opposition to abandon austerity measures could damage the country's economy, ministers said Thursday.
Finance Minister Janos Veres criticized opposition leader Viktor Orban, who has said austerity measures need to be withdrawn.
"It creates a rather insecure and risky situation regarding investments in Hungary," Veres at a government news conference.
Economic Minister Janos Koka said possible investments totaling some US$7.5 billion (euro5.9 billion) were at risk, as well as the related creation of 37,000 direct and 100,000 indirect jobs.
The government's austerity and reforms plans are aimed at lowering the state budget deficit, the largest in the European Union at over 10 percent of gross domestic product this year.
Protests have been held since Sept. 17, when a leaked recording showed Socialist Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany admitting that the government lied about the economy to win April's general elections.
Parliament on Friday will hold a vote of confidence on Gyurcsany _ which he is widely expected to win because of the coalition's majority in the assembly. The Socialists and the Alliance of Free Democrats have 210 seats in the 386-seat parliament.
Orban's center-right Fidesz-Hungarian Civic Union said it would hold its own protest outside parliament on Friday afternoon unless the coalition initiated steps to remove Gyurcsany.
"The overall market sentiment is likely to remain fragile with investors remaining wait-and-see," DZ Bank analyst Tibor Frey said in a report from Budapest.
Foreign investors generally consider the measures announced by Gyurcsany to be the only feasible way for the Hungarian economy to regain balance and for the implementation of long-delayed reforms in the state sector.
Despite the current feelings of uncertainty, analysts said the government was likely to survive the protests.
"While we expect that initially maybe more than a 100,000 people could turn out on Friday, we do not think that this is going to be sustained, turn violent or paralyze the country," said a report from investment bank Goldman Sachs.


Updated : 2020-12-03 05:55 GMT+08:00