Gyurcsany added that he is not sure his request will be approved by parliament by the necessary two-thirds majority. "I am not confident at all that I can convince the opposition of supporting" the three-month extension, Reuters quoted him as saying. The main opposition FIDESZ party said it would be willing to consider an extension only if the multinational force in Iraq was given a UN mandate to stay there. "Already six months ago, FIDESZ wanted the Hungarian troops to return from Iraq at the end of the year, AP quoted FIDESZ parliamentary group leader Janos Ader as saying.
In Washington, U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher played down the significance of the Hungarian announcement and interpretation by journalists that the withdrawal was a sign that the U.S.-led coalition is weakening. "Frankly...I take some exception to the way people are reporting the decision that Hungary made to extend its time in Iraq by three months," he said. "That is the decision that Hungary made [and] that is what the Iraqi government requested [from Budapest]," Boucher added, AFP reported.
[For reaction from around the world to the U.S. presidential election, see RFE/RL's webpage "World Reacts To U.S. Election".]