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Last Updated: Monday, 18 September 2006, 01:59 GMT 02:59 UK
We lied to win, says Hungary PM
Ferenc Gyurcsany
Analysts say Ferenc Gyurcsany may have sanctioned the tape leak
Hungary's prime minister has admitted saying that his party lied to the public to win April's general election.

Ferenc Gyurcsany's admission came after Hungarian radio played a tape of a meeting he had with his Socialist MPs a few weeks after the election.

On it he says the party had lied to the public and his "boneheaded" government failed to introduce any real policies.

About 3,000 people gathered outside parliament on Sunday calling for him to resign but Mr Gyurcsany has refused.

Economic reforms

The meeting concerned was on 26 May, about a month after the governing coalition had won 210 of the 386 parliamentary seats.

A brief excerpt was played on Hungarian state radio and others appeared on web sites. It is not clear how they were leaked.

If we have to give account to the country about what we did for four years, then what do we say
Ferenc Gyurcsany

In the excerpts, Mr Gyurcsany says harsh economic reforms are needed.

"There is not much choice. There is not, because we screwed up. Not a little, a lot. No European country has done something as boneheaded as we have.

"Evidently, we lied throughout the last year-and-a-half, two years. It was totally clear that what we are saying is not true.

"You cannot quote any significant government measure we can be proud of, other than at the end we managed to bring the government back from the brink. Nothing. If we have to give account to the country about what we did for four years, then what do we say?"

Mr Gyurcsany thanks "divine providence, the abundance of cash in the world economy and hundreds of tricks" for keeping the economy above board.

In a speech sprinkled with obscenities, he says: "We lied in the morning, we lied in the evening."

Some analysts suggest the leak may be with the prime minister's permission as he posted a full transcript on his own web blog.

Mr Gyurcsany may be trying to emphasise the need for tough reforms, they say. Local elections are set for 1 October.

Mr Gyurcsany went on television on Sunday amid the row and said the "lies" he referred to were those politicians told citizens, who now believed they could have "happiness as a gift".

"We have to stop the deluge of lies which have covered the country for many years," he said.

Ferenc Gyurcsany's admission was played on Hungarian radio

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