Budapest's Hairpin Turn

The global crisis forces a quick swing back to austerity

When Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban ousted the reformed communists in May's elections, investors got a severe case of the jitters. Orban, leader of the center-right Hungarian Civic Party, promised higher pensions. Then he formed a coalition with the populist Independent Smallholders' Party, which wanted to slash taxes. Once in office, the Premier reversed some earlier austerity measures, spending more on crowd pleasers such as child benefits.

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