The President is his own manWith a television interview broadcast in the middle of July, László Sólyom once again generated a political debate focused primarily on his own position, i.e. on what the President of the Republic may and may not do.
Passion wanes as summer warmsMPs of all five parliamentary parties are becoming less inclined to turn up at work – Parliament – and cast their votes, a report by MTI shows. The record for absenteeism goes to MSZP politician Szilvia Frackné Kovács, who was present at only 4% of the 2,931 parliamentary votes during this year’s spring and summer sessions. Former Socialist Prime Minister Gyula Horn, 75 years old and now a backbencher, only showed up for one in five votes.
An MP with the centre-right opposition party Fidesz last week slammed the Socialist government’s plans to introduce a local tax based on the value of homes. László Mádi also accused the government of pursuing a course of “political punishment” against local authorities, a large majority of which are controlled by Fidesz, in the way it finances local governments.
Kóka to step down Economy and Transport Minister János Kóka last Friday announced that he would step down from his ministerial position before the end of the year in order to concentrate on leading his party.
New car sales dropped by 12% year-on-year in the first half of 2007 to 85,710 vehicles, the Hungarian Association of Vehicle Importers (MGE) said last week.
Mass layoffs diminished by 7.2% year-on-year in 2006, with 30,000 employees losing their jobs. Most of the job losses – 46% – were in the manufacturing industry. In related news, Budapest transport firm BKV said it was planning to shed 1,000 workers in total this year. Over 500 have already left through redundancy and retirement. Some 402,000 people were registered as unemployed at the end of June, 41,000 more than last year but fewer than the previous month, the Public Employment Service said.
Energy firm Meinl International Power said it would build a gas-fired power station in Hungary at a cost of EUR 150 million in conjunction with the Hungarian Electricity Works (MVM).
Brit Lloyd Paxton last week took over the role of CEO of Malév after the previous incumbent, János Gönci left by mutual agreement. Paxton worked for British Airways between 1960 and 1995 and was the President-CEO of Kazakhstan’s national airline.
Ten plans have been submitted for the planned government quarter with more expected, project commissioner György Görözdi said last week. The winner of the tender to build the multi-billion forint complex will be announced on 2 August.
The European Commission has launched an investigation into subsidies Hungary gave to Ibiden Hungary Gyártó, the Hungarian arm of Japan’s Ibiden, Gazdasági Rádió reported last week. The government gave the company a EUR 39 million subsidy for its plant manufacturing filters for car exhausts. The Commission said that the decision could have given the company an unfair advantage, thus breaching EU regulations. The HUF 25 billion (EUR 101.8 million) plant in Dunavarsány opened in July 2005.