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Hungary's main opposition party to hold anti-government protest Friday

Hungary's main opposition party to hold anti-government protest Friday

Hungary's main center-right opposition party said on Thursday it would hold a protest Friday to demand the sacking of the prime minister.
The announcement by former premier Viktor Orban of the Fidesz-Hungarian Civic Union was made after the ruling Socialist-led coalition ignored the opposition's call to initiate the dismissal of Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany by Thursday afternoon.
"People made clear in the municipal elections that Ferenc Gyurcsany and his government are responsible for the country's moral, economic and political crisis," Orban told reporters. "Voters withdrew their support from the prime minister ... this is what we have to enforce."
Fidesz made significant gains in Sunday's elections, winning mayorships in 15 of Hungary's 23 largest cities as well as majorities in 18 of 19 county councils.
Protests against Gyurcsany began Sept. 17, when a leaked recording showed him admitting that the government had lied about the economy to win April's general elections.
After promising tax cuts and to switch to the euro currency in 2010, the government has announced a package of austerity measures, including higher taxes, direct fees for some health services and university tuition for most students.
Hungary's huge budget deficit of a planned 10.1 percent of gross domestic product is the largest in the European Union and analysts don't expect the forint to be abandoned for the euro before 2014.
Also on Friday, parliament will hold a vote of confidence about the prime minister and his program _ at Gyurcsany's request. The coalition parties _ the Socialists and the Alliance of Free Democrats _ have assured Gyurcsany of their unanimous support and he is expected to win the vote.
Orban on Thursday called on people to gather at Kossuth Square outside the parliament building from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. (1400GMT-1600GMT) and bring alarm clocks to the rally, a symbolic wake-up call for the ruling coalition to get rid of the prime minister.
Kossuth Square has been the scene of the main anti-Gyurcsany protests of the last two-and-a-half weeks, sometimes drawing over 20,000 people. But past Fidesz election rallies occasionally have been attended by hundreds of thousands of people.
Two nights of rioting two weeks ago, including an attack on state television headquarters, was blamed mostly on soccer hooligans but linked to the protests. Some 150 police and dozens of participants were injured in the riots.
Orban said earlier he did not expect any violence at Friday's rally.
"There was a peaceful local election ... and now the climate generally is peaceful," Orban told the British Broadcasting Corp. "The people are able and ready to express their view to get rid of the prime minister without any violence."


Updated : 2021-06-19 13:44 GMT+08:00