Revolution in Hungary: Claim for a Change

, by Vaida Jazepčikaitė

All the versions of this article: [English] [français]

Revolution in Hungary: Claim for a Change

It has been continuing almost for a week now. Unsatisfied or even angry people are to be seen in the metro, parks, shops, where ever one goes. Thus it is not surprising anymore, that citizens prefer to stay at home in the evening, as most probably the favorite places they would usually go to are barricaded either by the revolutionists or the police or even worse, one can suddenly find him/herself in the middle of a fight. Why are these things happening?

One possible answer is that people are very unsatisfied with what they have heard on a recently released tape, on which Hungary’s Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany is claimed: “We screwed up. Not just a bit. Big time...It was perfectly clear that what we were saying wasn’t true...You cannot mention a single major government measure we can be proud of...I almost died when I had to pretend that we were actually governing. We lied morning, noon and night.”

Others might argue that it is high time to make changes in Hungary’s economy, which is downgrading already several years in a row. The current deficit aim of the government is 6.1% of GDP for 2005 (4.6% in the convergence report) due to the inclusion of motorway contracts in the budget accounts. Besides the need to contain the twin deficits, several structural reforms are pending. The much-debated healthcare reform was taken off the agenda by Gyurcsány and was effectively postponed to beyond 2006. Consequently, the deficit of the social security funds will continue to grow and the financing of the health-care institutions will remain unsolved. The World Bank announced recently in his quarterly review that Hungary’s fiscal deficit might increase further to about 7% of GDP, unless the new government introduces swift and deep reforms. And that the people protesting are against such painful reforms.

We lied morning, noon and night - said Hungarian Prime Minister Gyurcsány

Local elections are scheduled in two weeks’ time and the opposition has a perfect chance to take advantage of the situation and affirm that they would do better and make the changes everybody is waiting for. On Saturday morning, the tents were still near the parliament. It seems that the “revolution” is calming down. Suddenly one person from the crowd comes on to the stage and begins to motivate people to make a reform or support the ones, who will make it. And citizens believe in him, because he is one of them.

Nobody knows who is lying or just not talking about the matters that better to keep silent. Yes, the Prime Minister lied and admitted it very frankly, but who can say that the guy on the stage is telling the truth.

Hungary needs to change and everybody admits that (even the Prime Minister). Who will lead this way is hard to say so far. Will there be a new prime minister? If not, how the old one will continue? What kind of new reforms are waiting Hungarian citizens? These are questions to which we have no answers as yet.

In the mean time, people are still gathering in the evenings and claiming for a change in politics, economy, and their lives.

*Vaida J. is currently living in Budapest and the article is based on her personal experience in the last few days of protests.


 Budapest protests, September 24th 2006; source: Flickr

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