Hungarian PM Orban rules out early election

BUDAPEST Mon May 2, 2011 8:06am BST

Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban addresses a news conference at the European Council headquarters in Brussels April 14, 2011. REUTERS/Thierry Roge

Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban addresses a news conference at the European Council headquarters in Brussels April 14, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Thierry Roge

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BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has ruled out holding an early election before 2014, dismissing speculation in the country's media. Orban's centre-right Fidesz party won an unprecedented two-thirds legislative majority at elections a year ago, allowing it to draft a new constitution, which parliament approved last week and is due to take effect on January 1, 2012.

Orban has said his government had a year to carry out public sector reforms, and media speculated he might call an election in 2012 after passing measures requiring a two-thirds majority, such as public finance legislation and an electoral law. However, on Sunday he said early election talk was unfounded.

"What good would it do Hungary? What good would it do Fidesz? What good would it do me personally? I just cannot find any argument in favour of such nonsense," Orban told private broadcaster TV2 in an interview.

Every government since the fall of Communism had tried to fulfil a full, four-year term, he added. "Why would this need to change?"

The new constitution has drawn protests from civil groups, which say it weakened democratic checks and balances in Hungary, which holds the European Union's rotating presidency until the end of June.

The next scheduled parliamentary election is due in 2014, which could be the first where ethnic Hungarians living elsewhere in central Europe could vote, if parliament approves Fidesz's planned changes to the electoral law.

Public support for Fidesz remains ahead of opposition parties, although recent opinion polls showed a decline since the government effectively renationalised savings in mandatory private pension funds and launched a flat personal income tax.

The government also launched a package of fiscal reforms and austerity measures last month to keep the deficit below 3 percent of gross domestic product in the coming years.

(Reporting by Gergely Szakacs; Editing by Peter Graff)

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