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Gordon Bajnai was appointed Prime Minister of Hungary on 14 April following a no-confidence vote in the administration of outgoing PM Ferenc Gyurcsány, who announced his decision to resign in March, saying he considered himself a hindrance to further reforms. A non-aligned figure, Bajnai had been serving as Minister for the Economy,

Several thousand people have been protesting in the Hungarian capital Budapest, over the appointment of Bajnai. Police said protesters threw objects and tried to break through fencing surrounding the parliament building. The demonstrators are demanding that parliament be dissolved and an early election called. The next general election is scheduled for April 2010.

Bajnai has promised to implement tough austerity measures to tackle the country's grave economic problems. He has said he does not intend to stand in the next general election, and has promised to call an election if he cannot secure parliamentary support for his policies.

Bajani has nominated several political outsiders for key cabinet posts, including Peter Oszko, the head of a consulting firm, as finance minister. Bajnai said he expected Oszko to balance the budget, reduce expenditure , and simplift the tax code.

Hungary has been badly hit by the global economic crisis, and needed a Ł16.9bn IMF-led rescue package in November 2008 to avoid economic collapse.

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Meanwhile, in the Czech Republic, President Vaclav Klaus has appointed a Prime Minister-Designate, drawing a line under the crisis caused by the resignation of Mirek Topolánek in March, after losing a confidence vote.

Jan Fischer, the former head of the Czech Statistical Office took office on 14 April and will lead the country until elections in October of this year. Fischer is due to be approved by the Czech parliament later in April.

Fischer's government will be backed by Topolánek's Civic Democrats and the opposition Social Democrats.

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In Denmark, Anders Fogh Rasmussen resigned as Prime Minister on 5 April, upon being nominated as the next Secretary-General of NATO, to succeed incumbent Jaap De Hoop Scheffer in August of this year.

Former Minister for Finance Lars Lřkke Rasmussen, of the Liberal Party, was appointed Prime Minister; Claus Hjort Frederiksen replaced Rasmussen at the Ministry for Finance, while Karen Ellemann filled the vacancy he created as Minister for Employment. Karen Ellemann became Minister for Social Welfare and Gender Equality after Karen Jespersen resigned from the government.

15 April 2009




 Last updated: 23/04/2009 09:57:00



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