Ferenc Gyurcsány


Ferenc Gyurcsány

Infobox_Prime Minister
name = Ferenc Gyurcsány



order = Prime Minister of Hungary
president = Ferenc Mádl
László Sólyom
deputy =
term_start = 29 September 2004
term_end =
predecessor = Péter Medgyessy
successor =
birth_date = birth date and age|1961|06|04|df=y
birth_place = Pápa, Hungary
death_date =
death_place =
spouse = Klára Dobrev
party = MSZP

Audio|gyurcsany_ferenc.ogg|Ferenc Gyurcsány (pronounced|ˈfɛrɛnts ˈɟurtʃaːɲ; born in Pápa, June 4, 1961) is the Prime Minister of Hungary. He was nominated to take that position on August 25, 2004 by his party, the Hungarian Socialist Party, after Péter Medgyessy resigned due to a conflict with the coalition partner. Gyurcsány was elected to be Prime Minister on September 29, 2004 with a parliamentary vote (197 "yes" votes, 12 "no" votes, and the greatest opposition party in Parliament not voting). He led the coalition to victory in the parliamentary elections in 2006, securing him another term as Prime Minister.On February 24, 2007 he became the leader of his party with gaining 89% of the votes.

Early years

Gyurcsány was born in the city of Pápa, in western Hungary. He attended the prestigious Apáczai Csere János High School in Budapest for two years, then he left to his hometown Pápa to graduate. He studied as a teacher and obtained his B.Sc. in 1984 from University of Pécs. Then he studied economics at the same institution, getting his degree in 1990.

In 1981 he assumed function in the KISZ, the Organisation of Young Communists, where he mostly handled organizing student programs at the beginning. Between 1984 and 1988 he was the vice president of the organisation's committee in Pécs. During his academic years he also worked as an informant for the communist state. Then between 1988 and 1989 he was the president of the central KISZ committee of universities and colleges. After the political change in 1989 he became vice-president of the organisation's short-lived quasi successor, the DEMISZ.

From 1990 onwards, he transferred from the public to the private sector, working for CREDITUM Financial Consultant Ltd., EUROCORP International Finance Inc. where he was Director, and later Altus Ltd., a holding company of which he was owner, CEO (1992-2002) and later Chairman of the Board [http://www.hungria.org.br/CV_Gyurcsany.htm Ferenc Gyurcsány] Hungarian Embassy, Brasília] . He benefited from the privatization of Hungarian state assets during the 1990s and in so doing he became the 50th richest person in Hungary by 2002. [http://www.origo.hu/uzletinegyed/hirek/2002111541tol.html 41-től 60-ig] Origo] .

Return to politics

He returned to politics in 2002 as the head strategic advisor of Péter Medgyessy, the previous PM. From May 2003 until September 2004 he was a minister responsible for sports, youth and children.

He became the president of the MSZP in Győr-Moson-Sopron county in January 2004, serving until September 2004. In the summer of that same year it seemed that there were larger problems in his relationship with then current PM Péter Medgyessy, so he resigned as minister. In a week, problems in the coalition led to the resignation of Medgyessy, and MSZP voted Gyurcsány to become Prime Minister of Hungary as he was acceptable for the coalition partner, SZDSZ.

He was reappointed Prime Minister after the 2006 parliamentary elections, with his coalition taking 210 of the available 386 parliamentary seats, and making him the first Prime Minister to keep the office after a general election since 1990.

On February 24, 2007 he became the leader of his party (being the only candidate for the post) gaining 89% of the vote.

Since his 2006 election victory he has introduced austerity measures to tackle Hungary's budget deficit that had become a staggering 10% of the GDP by the end of 2006. These austerity measures have been criticized by the main opposition party Fidesz on the one hand as being too harsh on the people, on the other hand by conservative economists for not reducing spending enough on social benefits, including pensions.Gyurcsány has been the first prime minister since the fall of communism to try to introduce a health care reform in order to rationalize and modernize the national health care system. His efforts for a renewed and more efficient health care however, have been undermined mainly by his own party, as many Socialist Party members regard this reform as a threat to the communist era achievement of free and equal health care service to all.

Audio recording resulting in riots

On September 17 2006, an audio recording surfaced, allegedly from a closed-door meeting of the Prime Minister's party MSZP, held on May 26 2006, shortly after MSZP won the election. On the recording, Gyurcsány admitted "we have obviously been lying for the last one and a half to two years." Despite public outrage, the Prime Minister refused to resign, and a series of demonstrations started near the Hungarian Parliament, swelling from 2,000 to about 8,000 demonstrators calling for the resignation of Gyurcsány and his government for several weeks. The Prime Minister admitted the authenticity of the recording. [http://www.hirtv.hu/?tPath=/belfold/&article_hid=115874 Ha kell, a Magyar Rádió elé vonulnak a tüntetők] HírTV]

On October 1, the governing party suffered a landslide defeat in the local municipal elections. [http://www.valasztas.hu/outroot/onkdina/g12.htm] On the eve of the elections, before the results were known, President László Sólyom gave a speech in which he said that the solution to the situation is in the hands of the majority in Parliament. [ [http://index.hu/politika/belfold/soly1001/ Sólyom: Most az Országgyűlésnek van cselekvési lehetősége] , Index, 2006-10-01]

Vote of confidence

As a Prime Minister, Ferenc Gyurcsány is a strong advocate of the South Stream pipeline project, which is aimed to supply Russian gas directly to EU, bypassing transit countries such as Ukraine. He signed the contract in Moscow just a week before popularal election at Hungary, which showed around 80% of the votes were against the government reforms.

On October 6, Gyurcsány won a vote of confidence in Parliament, 207-165, with no coalition MP voting against him. The vote was public. [ [http://www.ft.com/cms/s/853cdd38-55a0-11db-acba-0000779e2340.html Gyurcsany wins vote of confidence] , "Financial Times", 6 October 2006.] Gyurcsany has been called to step down several times after this incident.Fact|date=July 2008

Personal life

He has four children from two marriages: Péter (1988) and Bálint (1990) from his first marriage, and Anna (1996) and Tamás (1997) from the second. His spouse is Klára Dobrev, a lawyer who teaches at the University of Budapest.

Criticism

Wealth

The origin of his wealth is regularly questioned by the media and political opposition. The weekly paper "HVG" writes about a biography of Gyurcsány: " [it] concludes that talent played a greater role than corruption in Gyurcsány's success. We have to question this claim. Not just because former functionaries are massively overrepresented among Gyurcsány's business partners, but also because, despite his enormous talent for business, Gyurcsány would never have got where he is today without making use of the contacts and support base of the former state party." [http://hvg.hu/english/20060619gyurcsanybioeng.aspx Not as good as the Orban] , June 19 2006, "Heti Világgazdaság"] József Debreczeni, the biographer in question, originally reached the conclusion "regarding party connections and performance, the latter has been more important". [cite book |last=Debreczeni |first=József |title= Az új miniszterelnök (The New Prime Minister) hu icon |publisher= Osiris Kiadó |year= 2006 |isbn= 9633898447 ]

Opposition MP Péter Szijjártó, as the head of a committee set up to investigate the origins of Gyurcsány's wealth, stated in his report that one of Gyurcsány's companies leased the former vacation site of the Hungarian government in Balatonőszöd and rented the site back to a state-owned company so that the rent paid by the government covered exactly the leasing fee during the first two and a half years of the ten-year lease term (1994-2004). [http://index.hu/politika/belfold/gya6967/ Szijjártó tíz tétele Gyurcsány gazdagodásáról] , November 8 2005, "Index.hu"]

A person named "Gyurcsányi" was mentioned by Attila Kulcsár, the main defendant in the high-profile "K&H Equities" money laundering scandal in Hungary. [http://www.pestiside.hu/archives/nerves_shredded_over_scandal_evidence_shredding000808.php Nerves Shredded Over Scandal Evidence Shredding] Pestiside.hu] The prime minister denied he had any connections with the case.

Other

On February 2 2005, at the birthday party of the Hungarian Socialist Party, for the sake of a joke, he referred to the players of the Saudi national football team as terrorists. Later he apologized, but the kingdom recalled its ambassador from Hungary for a time. [http://index.hu/politika/belfold/szaud0211/ Jegyzékben tiltakoznak 'a szaúdi terroristák' Gyurcsánynál] - index.hu] [http://www.magyarhirlap.hu/Archivum_cikk.php?cikk=92593&archiv=1&next=0 Nyúlik a vita az "arab terroristákról"] Magyar Hírlap]

During the 2006 general election campaign, a video appeared where Gyurcsány danced as Hugh Grant in "Love Actually". [http://home.eircom.net/content/reuters/uNews/7379070?view=Standard Hungarian PM appears on Internet as Hugh Grant] , eircom.net] According to government officials, the spokesperson of the government asked Gyurcsány to dance, as they re-made most parts of the film as a special gift for the wedding of spokesman András Batiz. Opposition claimed that the video was made public on purpose, as part of the election campaign, to gain popularity for the PM among young adults.

After his return to politics, Gyurcsány was at first tight-lipped on his religious affiliation, leading many to assume that he is an atheist . In an interview aired on TV2 during the 2006 parliamentary election campaign, Gyurcsány said that as a teenager, he "took part in confirmation for about two years" and even considered becoming a priest."Mokka", TV2, 2006-03-26] Since confirmation can only be taken once, some regarded this claim as a giveaway that he was not telling the truth, while others such as Catholic bishop Endre Gyulai supposed he meant he took part in preparations for a confirmation. [http://www.magyarkurir.hu/?m_op=view&id=9533&rovat=4 Napi sajtószemle] , Magyar Kurír, 2006-03-28 hu icon]

In connection with the unrest fuelled by his speech, he has been criticised in "The Economist" for "turning a blind eye to police brutality". [ [http://www.economist.com/daily/columns/europeview/displaystory.cfm?story_id=8491837 Europe.view] , "The Economist", 4 January 2007]

Election controversy

The opposition decried him for not disclosing information about the state of the Hungarian economy before the 2006 elections, as mandated by the Hungarian constitution Wikisource] , reasoning that basic economic data should be the basis of voter judgement. Gyurcsány admitted that he didn't disclose 'all the details of the truth', but said that he had not lied. [http://www.radio.hu/index.php?cikk_id=187221 Gyurcsány: Nem hazudtam, csak nem bontottam ki az igazság részleteit] Magyar Rádió Online]

Gazprom

As a Prime Minister, Ferenc Gyurcsány is a strong advocate of the South Stream pipeline project, which is aimed to supply Russian gas directly to EU, bypassing transit countries such as Ukraine. He signed the contract in Moscow just week before a referendum at Hungary, which showed around 80% of the votes were against the government reforms. There are rumors that Gyurcsány would become the head of the new company in a similar manner like Gerhard Schröder became the head of North Stream after stepping down. [http://www.mn.mno.hu/portal/549993 Magyar Nemzet: "Gyurcsány elindult a schröderi úton?"] , March 21, 2008]

References

External links

* [http://www.miniszterelnok.hu The Official Website of the Prime Minister of Hungary] (only a few facts in English yet)
* [http://home.eircom.net/content/reuters/uNews/7379070?view=Standard Hungarian PM appears on Internet as Hugh Grant]
* [http://blog.amoba.hu The blog of Ferenc Gyurcsány] hu icon
* [http://www.mszp.hu/index.php?gcPage=public/portretar/mutatPortre&fnId=13425 His biography] hu icon
* [http://web.archive.org/web/20050309142525/www.origo.hu/uzletinegyed/hirek/2002111541tol.html The 100 richest people in Hungary,] 2002., origo.hu. ( [http://www.origo.hu/uzletinegyed/hirek/20021115elso.html Original URL] ) hu icon


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