By Stefan J. Bos, Worthy News Europe Bureau Chief
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY (Worthy News) -- Hungary's Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurscany said Saturday, March 21, he is resigning because of his government's plunging popularity as it struggles to overcome Hungary's worst economic crisis in recent memory.
Gyurcsany told delegates attending his Socialist Party's congress in Budapest that he considered himself "a hindrance to further economic and social reforms."
"I propose the formation of a new government with a new prime minister," Gyurcsany said."I ask the Congress to entitle the chairman of the party, of the board and the head of the parliamentary group to prepare the naming of the new prime minister," he added.
Gyurcsany proposed to inform Parliament about his decision Monday, March 23, and to elect a new prime minister at an extraordinary congress of his Hungarian Socialist Party within two weeks.
NO EARLY ELECTIONS?
Observers said the move would prevent early elections and ensure that a new government leader will be in place by mid-April until the scheduled ballot for mid-2010.
It was not clear if the candidate would be from the Socialists, a compromise candidate from another party or an independent. Gyurcsany said he intended to hold on to his position as the Socialist Party's chairman, which would give him a say in choosing the candidate, who would then be proposed to parliament for a vote.
Gyurscany's announcement, which stunned delegates, came roughly two years after a tape recoding emerged in which he admitted that he and his colleagues "have been lying night and day" about the true state of the economy.
The recording led to the most violent riots in the streets of Budapest since the Hungarian Revolution in 1956 against Soviet domination.
Hungary, where Worthy News has its Europe bureau, is among the countries worst hit by the global financial crisis. The former communist nation has received a $25.1 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and World Bank.
European leaders announced this week billions of dollars more in aid for struggling member states.