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New Hungarian Law Would Allow Independent Unions, Political Parties

From Reuters

A new law going to Parliament next month will give Hungarians the right to form political parties and trade unions, Justice Minister Kalman Kulcsar said Thursday.

“The bill on the right of association sets down that private persons and legal entities may set up political parties, trade unions, interest representations and other social organizations,” the Hungarian news agency MTI quoted Kulcsar as saying after a meeting of Hungary’s Cabinet.

The Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party, the nation’s Communist Party, has held a monopoly of power since suppressing all other parties in 1948.

Another law, yet to be hammered out, would determine the place and role of political parties and be included in a new constitution expected to be finished by 1990.

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“If approved by Parliament, the law will imply the recognition of the multi-party system,” the official agency quoted Kulcsar as telling Hungarian journalists.

A Western diplomat described the announcement as a positive and exciting move but added a cautious note: “We will have to wait to see the pudding.”

It remained to be seen if all the independent groups and organizations that had sprung up in Hungary in recent months would be allowed to set up as parties, he said.

Such groups have mushroomed in a more liberal political climate ushered in on May 23, when a special party conference replaced veteran General Secretary Janos Kadar with Premier Karoly Grosz.

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