Ferenc Gyurcsány

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The native form of this personal name is Gyurcsány Ferenc. This article uses the Western name order.
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Ferenc Gyurcsány
Image:Gyurcsany Ferenc.jpg


Assumed office 
September 29, 2004
Preceded by Péter Medgyessy
Succeeded by Incumbent

Born June 4, 1961
Political party MSZP (socialist)
Spouse Klára Dobrev

Image:Coat of arms of Hungary.png

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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.


[edit] Early years

Gyurcsány was born in the city of Pápa, in western Hungary. He attended the prestigious Apáczai Csere János High School in Budapest. After that, he went back to his hometown Pápa to graduate. He studied as a teacher and obtained his B.Sc. in 1984 from Janus Pannonius University in Pécs. Then he studied economics at the same institution, getting his M.Sc. in 1990.

He began politics in the KISZ, the Organisation of Young Communists, in 1984. Between 1984 and 1988 he was the vice president of the organisation's committee in Pécs. 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 Altus Ltd. where he was CEO (1992-2002) and later Chairman of the Board<ref name=JOBS>Ferenc Gyurcsány Hungarian Embassy, Brasília</ref>. As an entrepreneur he became the 50th richest person in Hungary<ref name=RICH>41-től 60-ig Origo</ref>.

[edit] 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. Under his office, Hungary has suffered a high-profile athletic doping scandal during the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.

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 be re-elected since 1990.

[edit] Audio recording controversy, resulting in civil unrest

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 – two years." As a consequence of this audio recording and the fact that the Prime Minister was not willing to resign, a series of demonstrations started near the Hungarian Parliament. There were 5,000-6,000 demonstrators at first; later this number reached up to about 40,000. The protesters demanded the resignation of Gyurcsány and his government. The audio recording was deemed to be authentic by the Prime Minister himself.<ref name=UNREST>Ha kell, a Magyar Rádió elé vonulnak a tüntetők HírTV</ref>

Since September 17, there has been an ongoing demonstration since at the Parliament Building in Budapest. Smaller protests are being held in other cities of Hungary.

On October 1st, the government suffered a landslide defeat in the local municipality elections.<ref>http://www.valasztas.hu/outroot/onkdina/g12.htm</ref> 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 the Parliament.<ref>Sólyom: Most az Országgyűlésnek van cselekvési lehetősége, Index, 2006-10-01</ref>

On October 6, Gyurcsány won a confidence vote in Parliament, 207-165, with no coalition MP voting against him. The vote was public.<ref>Gyurcsany wins vote of confidence, Financial Times, 6 October 2006.</ref>

[edit] 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 his current one. He is married to Klára Dobrev, who is a lawyer and teaches at the University of Budapest (ELTE).

Gyurcsány has been 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 "regularly took part in confirmation" and that he considered becoming a priest. (This was regarded as giveaway in Christian circles, since confirmation is not something one can take multiple times in any Christian denomination.) In the end, however, he would decide to join the Alliance of Communist Youth (KISZ) instead. In the very same interview, he admitted his fascination with Communists, especially Lenin, and with how, in Gyurcsány's view, the working class is exploited without even realizing it.

[edit] Criticism

  • 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<ref name=CONSTITUTION>The constitution of Hungary 61. § (1) Wikisource</ref>, reasoning that basic economic data should be the basis of voter judgement. Gyurcsány admitted that he didn't disclose 'the details of the truth', but said that he has not lied.<ref name=LIED>Gyurcsány: Nem hazudtam, csak nem bontottam ki az igazság részleteit Magyar Rádió Online</ref>
  • His centralizing moves consisting of creating organizations outside of direct parliamentary control and handing the purse strings over to the select few of his trustees leading those organizations, which in effect deprives ministries of one of their most influential role of controlling funds in their field has been harshly criticised for the resulting lack of transparency and accountability.[citation needed]
  • The origin of his wealth is regularly questioned by the political right. For instance, it is alleged that one of his companies purchased the former vacation site of the Hungarian government in Balatonőszöd for an unusually low price, paid for in installments between 1994 and 2004. The company in question then rented the site back to the Hungarian state, charging an unusually high rent - which more than covered the original purchase price. [citation needed]
  • A person named "Gyurcsányi" has been mentioned by Attila Kulcsár, the main defendant in the high-profiled "K&H Equities" money laundering scandal in Hungary.<ref name=SCANDAL>Nerves Shredded Over Scandal Evidence Shredding Pestiside.hu</ref> The prime minister denies he had any connections with this case.
  • 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 ordered its ambassador home from Hungary for a time.<ref name=JOKE>Nyúlik a vita az "arab terroristákról Magyar Hírlap</ref>
  • On December 9, 2005 he lost a libel action against a newspaper (Magyar Nemzet). Note, however, that on April 27, 2005 Magyar Nemzet journalist László Török was given a year of probation for slandering then-Sports Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány and his company in 2003, following a decision by the Pest Central District Court.<ref name=LIBEL>In Today's Papers: Well, We Can Always Use a Warm Blanket Pestiside.hu</ref>
  • The Prime Minister danced as Hugh Grant in Love Actually<ref name=DANCE>Hungarian PM appears on Internet as Hugh Grant eircom net</ref>. According to government officials, the Spokesperson of the Government asked Gyurcsány to dance, as they re-made most parts of the film for spokesman András Batiz's wedding. The opposition stated that it was just part of the campaign to make the PM more popular among young adults.

[edit] See also

[edit] Sources

[edit] External links

[edit] References

Preceded by:
Péter Medgyessy
Prime Minister of Hungary
2004 – present

Cabinet of Hungary
Ferenc Gyurcsány1
György Szilvásy3 Péter Kiss1 Mónika Lamperth1 Kinga Göncz3 János Veres1 János Kóka2
József Gráf1 József Petrétei3 Lajos Molnár2 István Hiller1 Imre Szekeres1 Miklós Persányi3
1 MSZP    2 SZDSZ    3 Non-partisan
cs:Ferenc Gyurcsány

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Ferenc Gyurcsány

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