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Foreign investors wary over Hungary win

Monday, April 07, 2014 - 02:13

April 7 - Hungarians handed Prime Minister Viktor Orban another four years in power in an election. Orban's popular at home despite repeated clashes with the European Union and foreign investors. As Joanna Partridge reports, a far-right party's success also highlights European voters' swing towards nationalist groups.

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Riding high after a resounding re-election. Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban won another four years by a landslide, keeping his Fidesz party in government. Orban's repeatedly clashed with the EU and foreign investors over his policies that hurt banks and foreign energy firms. In his new term, he's keeping his bank tax in place. SOUNDBITE: HUNGARIAN PRIME MINISTER VIKTOR ORBAN SAYING (Hungarian): "Concerning the banking sector, I'm glad to see the banks have incorporated the bank tax into their operations and they managed to slowly turn a profit in 2013. I feel it's justified that they should take part in the equal and just sharing of public burdens." Big business must now brace for another term of unpredictable measures. Orban's expected to transfer large parts of the banking sector into Hungarian hands and impose more burdens on foreign firms. On Monday, Hungary's stocks made early losses before rebounding slightly, and the forint currency came under pressure. Orban's seen as a champion of national interests at home and his policies helped Hungary emerge from recession. But they may also have scared off the kind of investment Budapest needs for long-term growth says Mike Ingram from BGC Partners. SOUNDBITE. Mike Ingram, Market analyst, BGC Partners, saying (English): "If you have a business in Hungary or if you were planning to invest in Hungary, it's very difficult to plan for the future. If you're not already in, you can defer that investment, if you're in you're going to be ultra-cautious. One of the things that Viktor Orban has done over the past few years is introduced some retrospective taxation on corporates who he just felt had a lot of money and certainly that's not an ideal environment." The far-right Jobbik party was another winner - taking just over 20% of the national vote, seen as the strongest showing of any far-right party in the EU in the past few years. Jobbik denies being racist, but has been accused of anti-semitism. Its performance follows that of France's National Front. European voters fed up with high unemployment and immigration are also expected to look to the far-right in May's European elections.

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Foreign investors wary over Hungary win

Monday, April 07, 2014 - 02:13