Hungary's Orban hands ex-aide, finance minister economic challenge

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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban attends the opening session of Hungary's new parliament in Budapest, Hungary, May 2, 2022. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo

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BUDAPEST, May 13 (Reuters) - Hungary's Prime Minister on Friday put former central banker Marton Nagy and finance minister Mihaly Varga in charge of tackling the economic challenges caused by soaring inflation, the Ukraine crisis and a ballooning deficit.

Viktor Orban, who was reelected for a fourth consecutive term in April elections, appointed Nagy to the new post of minister of economic development and said that Varga would stay in his job as finance minister, state news agency MTI reported.

The duo will face the challenges of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, annual inflation of 9.5% and a budget deficit that widened to 2.636 trillion forints ($7.12 billion) from January to the end of April.

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The most important task ahead is to "find answers to the European economic crisis caused by the war (in Ukraine) that enable Hungary to preserve its achievements of the past years," a related bill posted on the parliament's website said.

Hungary has been the most vocal critic of the European Union's planned embargo on oil from Russia, saying such a move would wreck its economy.

Nagy was appointed as an economic policy adviser to Orban in June 2020 after he abruptly resigned from his position as deputy governor in the Hungarian central bank, where he had been the architect of much of its unconventional policies.

Orban said that Peter Szijjarto would remain as Hungary's foreign minister.

($1 = 370.3900 forints)

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Reporting by Krisztina Than and Anita Komuves; editing by John Stonestreet and Alexander smith

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