Confidence vote in Hungary

Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany has called a confidence vote in parliament, to be held 6 October. His Socialist Party performed poorly in municipal elections over the weekend in the wake of the revelations of his having lied about economic managament, which triggered rioting.

Unlike a vote of no confidence in Hungary, which must be “constructive,” a vote of confidence called by the PM can pass with a negative majority and without parliament’s having voted in an alternative government. However, the government is not likely to fall, at least not on this vote, as the purpose of the confidence vote is for the PM to reinforce his own authority: forcing his own rank-and-file MPs to back him or to vote against their own government. Gyurcsany leads a pre-election coalition that won a clear majority of parliamentary seats in April.

This will be the first confidence vote in Hungary, which has had very stable governments, since democratization sixteen years ago.

UPDATE: The confidence-vote procedure worked in textbook fashion, with the MPs of both Gyurcsany’s Socialist Party and its Free Democratic Party partner publicly declaring their allegiance to the PM.

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