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By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent BosNewsLIfe reporting from Budapest, Hungary
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY (BosNewsLife)-- The former prime minister of Hungary, Ferenc Gyurcsány, has ended a week-long hunger strike that he said was aimed at ensuring free and fair elections. Gyurscany has expressed concerns over plans by the government to overhaul the election system in the young democracy of this European Union nation.
In front of the neo-ghotic parliament building of Budapest, several tents emerged this week. Some carried slogans referring to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán's government as a "regime".
Former Prime Minister Gyurcsány and three fellow politicians were camping in two small green-colored army tents, without food.
Gyurcsány, who leads the leftist Democratic Coalition, told BosNewsLife that he was on a week-long hunger strike to protest against government plans to introduce voter registration ahead of the 2014 parliamentary elections
He views that as another attempt by the center-right government to intimidate voters.
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"What is made by Prime Minister Orbán is unacceptable. He is permanently modifying the election law with the aim that the opposition and the people can not defeat him. One sided, without any consultation," Gyurcsány told BosNewsLife. "And his last proposal that people have to undergo preregistration before they can exersise their voting right is the last drop in the glass."
Yet, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán's Fidesz party has denied wrongdoing.
It says registration is needed in part to keep track of the hunderds of thousands of ethnic Hungarians living in neighboring countries, who have obtained citizenship.
Under a recent law they also have the right to vote, a move the opposition claims is aimed at boosting support for the ruling Fidesz party.
However opposition leader Gyurcsány, himself is not without controversy.
He was forced to resign as prime minister in 2009 after a recording emerged in which he admitted to have lied "night and day" about the status of the economy to win reelection.
The former Communist youth leader-turned politician acknowledged to BosNewsLife that this speech will "probably follow" him the rest of his life.
He has also said he is not seeking to become prime minister, again.
(BosNewsLife's NEWS WATCH is a regular look at key general news developments in but not limited to (former) Communist nations and other autocratic states impacting the Church and/or compassionate professionals. BosNewsLife is based in Hungary).