March 25 Gyorgy Suranyi, who has emerged as
frontrunner to be Hungary's next prime minister, is a former
central banker who earned a distinguished reputation abroad and
is familiar with economic crisis management at home.
Hungary's opposition Free Democrats (SZDSZ), whose votes are
vital to elect a new premier, said on Wednesday that Suranyi was
acceptable to them to replace Ferenc Gyurcsany, who is quitting
to allow a fresh leader to tackle the financial turmoil.
The ruling Socialists, who have a minority in parliament,
are seeking agreement with opposition parties, mainly the Free
Democrats and the Democratic Forum (MDF), to choose a new
leader. Talks resume later on Wednesday.
Here are some facts about frontrunner Suranyi:
* The 55-year-old regional head of Intesa Sanpaolo SpA of
Italy (ISP.MI) and Chairman of Intesa's Hungarian unit CIB Bank,
political analysts say Suranyi is well-equipped to handle
Hungary's worst economic recession since the early 1990s.
* He was central bank governor twice, starting his second
term in 1995 when Hungary launched a package of measures which
he co-authored to cut huge budget and current account deficits,
and save Hungary from defaulting on its debts.
Two years later the economy was on a track of balanced
growth near five percent.
* In 1996, Euromoney named Suranyi as the central banker of
the year in Central and Eastern Europe.
* The soft-spoken and modest banker earned the reputation of
a crisis fighter, and has never been afraid to speak his mind.
At an economic conference earlier this month, he criticized the
government and the central bank in the same sentence, blaming
them for the woes of the economy and the currency.
* Under his second term as central bank chief, which ended
in 2001, Suranyi had tense relations with the then ruling
Fidesz-led conservative coalition and he cannot rely on the
support of opposition Fidesz in parliament now either.
* Suranyi is married, with two children.
(Reporting by Sandor Peto)