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Orbán: New Government’s Economic Policy to Follow ‘Matolcsy School’

Hungary Today 2018.04.11.

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, at his first press conference since his sweeping election win on Sunday, said his new government’s economic policy would follow “the economic school” of central bank governor György Matolcsy, whose premise is that the country’s finances must be in order. This means Hungary’s public debt is expected to decline further, Orbán said.

Asked about the possibility of Matolcsy taking up a role in the new government, Orbán said that since Sunday, he had only spoken to Matolcsy about market reactions to his victory. The prime minister said he had received “reassuring answers” from Matolcsy and that they had not discussed anything else. The prime minister also said his new government would work to improve Hungary’s demographic indicators.

Orbán thanked everyone who had participated in organising Sunday’s election, including the media, which he said “helped to get every message out to voters”. He called the campaign intensive. “We managed to convey all our messages to voters” thanks to “modern communications”. Asked about an opposition demonstration announced for this coming Sunday, Orbán said: “The people have decided and that’s all there is to it.” Orbán said the size of his Fidesz party’s support was clear, “and we received a strong mandate; in fact one of the strongest – if not the strongest – of the last 30 years.”

On the topic of the “Stop Soros” bill, he said the proposal had been submitted to parliament before the election so that voters would be able to make their decision knowing that, and this fact boosted its legitimacy. “We feel empowered to pass it,” he said.  Asked about whether he had received congratulations from Hungarian opposition parties, Orbán said he was of the school of thought that if someone loses then it is normal to give their congratulations. “There are other schools of thought,” he added. The prime minister noted that President of the European Commission JeanClaude Juncker had congratulated him by phone and he had invited Juncker to visit Hungary, and his visit was expected within a week or two.

Orbán and Fidesz won a landslide victory on Sunday. Photo: Koszticsák Szilárd/ MTI.

Asked about reports that daily Magyar Nemzet and Lánchíd Rádió would be closed down, he said he did not concern himself with business issues and it was up to the owners to decide the fate of what is a commercial media operation. Asked about Fidesz’s election performance in Budapest, Orbán said: “We must work harder in Budapest [which is] close to our heart”.

Asked to react to criticism by the OSCE, which suggested that Sunday’s election had not taken place on a level playing field, he said the organisation had given a political opinion, adding: “Thank you for your comment”. Commenting on the fairness of the electoral system, he said that under the British first-past-the-post model, Fidesz would have won by a landslide. He added that he would strive to serve a “three-thirds majority”.

Asked whether the Central European University funded by George Soros would remain in Budapest, he said the government in waiting had not yet discussed the issue. Answering a question about the possible introduction of a presidential system, he said parliamentary democracy was the safest and most transparent system in Hungary and this would remain the case. Orbán denied using the word “revenge” in his speech on March 15, in which he talked of a “settling of accounts”. He added that laws must be respected by everyone. The prime minister, addressing foreign relations, vowed to continue prizing Hungarian-Bavarian and Hungarian-Polish ties in the future.

Asked about a possible change in German policy in respect of the Hungarian government, Orbán said: “As soon as we know what Germany’s policy is, we can answer this question … We want to create better relations with every country, and this includes Germany. But it is not Germans who voted for me but Hungarians,” he said.




image via Soós Lajos/ MTI