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Country Report Hungary

  • ID: 2101527
  • April 2016
  • Region: Hungary
  • 27 Pages
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit
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In a rare case of retreat, the governing coalition, led by Fidesz-Hungarian Civic Union (Fidesz), has repealed its unpopular ban on Sunday trading by most retail outlets. The about-face by the government may have spared Fidesz an embarrassing defeat in a referendum called by the opposition for later this year, but it may also further dent the party's aura of invincibility and embolden the government's opponents to press for changes to other policies. To prevent a loss of popularity ahead of the next parliamentary election, due in April 2018, Fidesz may turn to fiscal stimulus, hinting at tax cuts and spending increases for 2017.

On April 12th parliament approved Fidesz's proposal to repeal, with immediate effect, the ban on Sunday trading by most retail outlets, which the government had introduced a year earlier. The vote marked one of the few occasions since Fidesz's return to office in 2010 that the government has backtracked on its controversial legislative agenda under popular, legal or international pressure.

The decision to allow stores to reopen on Sundays came after an April 6th ruling by the Curia, the supreme court, which gave the green light to a referendum initiative by the opposition Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) to repeal the ban. The parliamentary vote scrapping the ban has now made the referendum redundant.

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Country Report Hungary

Repeal of Sunday trading ban augurs well for policy changes
Repeal is the government's damage limitation exercise
Polls indicate Fidesz retains large lead
Government hints at fiscal loosening

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